From Premier League Heroes to European Champions
It’s probably irrelevant to state that one of the best players in the world today, Cristiano Ronaldo, sported Manchester United’s jersey for six years where he made a name for himself, winning three Premier League titles, and being the only ever player to be voted FIFA Player of the Year while playing for the English football league. He isn’t the only Portuguese player to stand out in the United Kingdom. In fact, there are a handful of notable British-born or residents of Portuguese ancestry who have stood out in sports, such as José Mourinho (who coached Chelsea for five interrupted seasons and is now the manager for Manchester United), José Fonte and John Mousinho. Portugal doesn’t only succeed in football, of course. The first-world country hosts a wide array of sporting events in all disciplines and has had athletes bring home plenty of bronze, silver and gold medals from different Championships, including Summer Olympic Games.
Athletes such as Emanuel Silva and Fernando Pimenta brought home silver medals from London’s Summer Olympic games in the canoeing discipline for the Men’s K2 2000m event. Rui Costa is perhaps one of the world’s most recognised cyclists, with a World Road Race Championship, amongst many other triumphs, under his belt. Martial arts have also catapulted a handful of Portuguese athletes to international fame such as Nuno Delgado who brought home a bronze medal for judo from the Sydney 2000 Summer Olympics. Nonetheless, football is where most athletes are exported, and the Premier League has been lucky to line up several dozens of Portuguese talented players.
Amongst the most famous to sport jerseys of English teams are Ricardo Carvalho who played for Chelsea; Éder, who just signed a permanent contract with Swansea after granting Portugal the winning goal against France in this summer’s Euro Championship where Portugal took the trophy; Deco, who also sported Chelsea’s jersey for a number of seasons; Nani who was an important winger for Manchester United during eight seasons; or Tiago who was part of Chelsea’s roaster for a season.