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BALL – “Coming to work in Portugal was one of the best decisions of my life” (“Benfica”)



BALL - "Coming to work in Portugal was one of the best decisions of my life" ("Benfica")

Roger Schmidt was one of the guests of the Thinking Football Summit 2022, which takes place in Lisbon. The German coach, largely responsible for Benfica’s win-win run in 2022/23, spoke about Portuguese football, commitment to training and Portuguese culture.

First impressions of Portuguese football:

“I already have an opinion because I have played several times against Portuguese teams in the Champions League and the Europa League and it has always been difficult games. I am open-minded and when I go to work in another country, I am interested in the culture in general and the football culture of that country. This is one of the reasons why I enjoy working abroad. At first I wanted to get information about my team, my players, their mentality and ways of working. Then, at the beginning of the season, I met other teams. We are always analyzing our opponents, game by game, and the way we play becomes clearer. After five months, my first impression is that this is a difficult league compared to others where I have worked. Preparing for each game is a challenge in itself, but sometimes we are also surprised during the game because the team’s approach is different from what we prepared. I also realized that at the level of defense against teams that are not at the level of Benfica, Porto or Sporting, they are still well organized defensively and are strong teams.”

Differences of Portuguese football from other championships:

“It’s hard to buy championships and also teams. I think the teams we face in Portugal always believe that they have a chance to win. They are only unhappy with the fact that they lose by a few goals. Then it all depends on how the game goes. If you score first it’s easier, otherwise it gets harder because the teams are well organized in defence, very far from the goal. In other countries, when you play teams lower in the standings, you really feel like they don’t believe they can win. I think that’s the main difference.”

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Opportunities for youth:

“The Benfica philosophy is to educate young people to play in the first team and, if they are good enough, sell and have money to keep the team competitive in European competition. I think it’s a good philosophy because for all clubs having young players in the first team is an added advantage. It is a form of identification for the club as well as the fans. At Benfica, everyone wants to see young people in the youth team in the first team. At least some, certainly not all. If we want to get to the higher stages of the Champions League, we can’t just play with young players. It would be difficult. But having some is something positive that also pleases me. I think this should be the goal for all clubs. Some cannot. But for Benfica, as for other clubs in Portugal and Europe, this is a clear testament to the club culture. That’s one of the qualities that also motivated me to come and work with these young players.”

Growth of the Portuguese League:

“Get in the top 4 or top 5? I think Portugal is a fantastic country, but it is small, with 10 million inhabitants, and the number of young players is less than in other countries. For example, in Germany we have 70 million inhabitants. I think that Portugal is now in a good position in European football. And I think it continues to evolve. This year we were close to having three Portuguese teams qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League. This is when we see teams like Barcelona fail for the second year in a row. What is happening in Portugal is positive, but there is always room for improvement. The competitiveness of the Portuguese championship helps to improve performance in European competition. If the big teams continue to compete internationally – SC Braga is doing a good job as well – in my opinion it will always be difficult to play against Portuguese teams.”

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“I feel very welcome, the Portuguese culture is very friendly, there is a positive energy in the country, especially in Lisbon where I spend more time. Coming to work in Portugal was one of the best decisions of my life.”


“In everyday life, I am the same as a coach. I’m not trying to be different, in football it’s important to be like yourself. When you try to play a role, things get complicated. I try to enjoy football the way I enjoyed it as a player. And I want to have fun. I know that you have to be successful, and at Benfica that means winning titles. But I love being on the pitch every day with the players, with the technical team and working to put on a good game over the weekend that the fans will be proud of. That’s who I am, I’m never going to be anything more. I try to guide every player, but behind every player there is a person. I’m trying to see this part. Players need to show the best game, and for this they need to feel happy and in a good mood.

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″I couldn’t leave without winning this award″



″I couldn't leave without winning this award″

Statements from Otavio, the player of FC Porto, who this Monday received the Golden Dragon as Footballer of the Year.

Speech: “I thought and I didn’t say anything that I thought. It happened by itself, I’m very happy, I was looking for [o prémio] a lot of time. I saw others, I couldn’t leave without winning this prize. Thank God I won and now it’s time to make the most of it.”

Did you tell the President that you want the Golden Dragon? “I never commented, asking for an award was not my style, it was deserved, I was very happy, many could have won. I am very happy”.

Feeling: “This is something to be proud of, this is the best person in the club, everyone wants to win, this will go down in history. It will be kept under lock and key in the museum that I have. It will get worse.” , nothing will come of it, it will be well stored.

Gala: “It’s always great, because of covid-19, the gala concert has not been held for many years. It is always special, everyone wants to be part of the gala concert. Being a dragonado, he is even more special. We did a good job and this is proof.”

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″Most competitive costume required, Pepe’s costume″



″Most competitive costume required, Pepe's costume″

Statements by Sergio Conceiçao after receiving the Golden Coach of the Year award at the Golden Dragons Gala

Golden Dragon cost: “I represent many people in this Golden Dragon. The first time I went to Olival with the president in 2017, he named the four essential pillars of FC Porto: rigor, competence, ambition and passion. Looking at it and being with it every day. My players, who don’t usually wear a formal suit as they do today, but the most competitive suit that is required, which is Pepe’s suit, give me great joy when I get up and go to work.”

Technical team and others: “With a super competent technical team, a health department, where there is not only Dr. Nelson Puga and therapists, but also an optometrist, pedologist, a number of people who work daily so that the players do not miss anything. and so that year after year they can get better and win, which is what we want.”

Techniques: “Victory. Not forgetting the people in the kitchen, in the restaurant, the people involved in analysis and observation, the equipment technicians, because today everyone is a technician… [risos]🇧🇷 Lawn techniques too, because I am very picky about the height of the lawn. I think that every detail is important and matters. Finally, a number of people who contribute to making this possible. This is not mine, this belongs to the people of Olival, who are always led by our great, my friend and godfather, the president.”

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A family: “Finally, to paraphrase our Gonzalinho [Borges], I want to dedicate it completely to my family, which is not easy, and parents, as always. Not being among us, they will certainly be very proud, not least because they have received two more extremely important people in the life of the club and that together they are up there watching us so that FC Porto becomes bigger , was getting better. , become stronger and win. And let’s keep it up. Is always. Because we deserve it. We are also honest, serious, dedicated and competent workers.”

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BALL – Enzo and Otamendi: world champion exceptions (Argentina)



BALL - Enzo and Otamendi: world champion exceptions (Argentina)

Portuguese football has reason to rejoice as two more world champions will enter the national stages, the first to win the title as part of the Portuguese team, the only ones on the field yesterday, in Qatar, among 35 players who play in one of the top five leagues in the world, so called big 5.

Enzo Fernandez, 21-year-old midfielder, and Nicolás Otamendi, 34-year-old central defender, played 120 minutes for Argentina. would advance to the Argentine penalty as Montiel quickly put an end to doubts – and represented not only Benfica in the list of clubs of great prestige, but also a league of lesser expression, such as the Portuguese, the only one of the less media and powerful ones that had players in the final.

Neither in the starting lineup (see tables), nor in the 13 options used by the coaches – Montiel (Sevilla), Pezzella (Betis), Acuña (Sevilla), Leandro Paredes (PSG), Lautaro Martinez ( Inter) and Dybala (Roma) entered Argentina, from the French side they were also called Disasi (Monaco), Conate (Liverpool), Fofana (Monaco), Camavinga (Real Madrid), Kingsley Coman (Bavaria), Muani (Eintracht) and Thuram (Borussia). M’gladbach) – if they found other players who didn’t play in the leagues of England, Spain, Italy, France or Germany, that’s a clear sign of where the money and power come from to attract great players.
Some, like Enzo and Otamendi, are just over the top.ig 5 – if the midfielder was already in vogue among the richest in Europe, followed by Liverpool and Real Madrid, among others, now that he has won the World Cup and the best young player trophy in the competition … – but they shine enough to guarantee yourself a place in the best team in the world.

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