Nuno Miguel Soares Pereira Ribeiro, born July 5, 1976. The fans know and love him as the one and only Nuno Gomes.
He played for Portugal in U16, 17, 20, and 21s, as well as for the national team starting in 1996. Professionally, he started in 1994 in Boavista at age 18. Ironically, his first ever trophy came in 1997 as Boavista beat his future team, Sport Lisboa e Benfica. He then transferred in 1997 to Benfica, where he played for 3 years. Because of Euro 2000 (and the way Portugal football is) he made the transfer to ACF Fiorentina. In 2002, due to money issues in Italy, he found himself back home, in Lisbon, at the Estádio da Luz.
He’s been plagued by injuries throughout his career, but he’s still been a key player for Benfica. He was made team captain over Rui Costa in the 2006-2007 season, and every time he took the pitch, he had the armband. He was the Seleccao captain for 2007-2008, eventually succeeded by Cristiano Ronaldo.
When Benfica started signing strikers left and right, he eventually lost a starting position and was put back on reserves for the last 2010-11 season. It’s been evident for many fans that the writing was on the wall for him, but I was hoping just one more year. Unfortunately that has not come to pass.
The man played 52 minutes in 5 games this year and scored FOUR goals.
(information shamelessly borrowed from here)
“Today, I was informed definitively that Benfica have decided not to renew my contract. It’s a technical option that I respect, and I will always respect, whether or not I agree with it. From this moment onwards I am free to analyse proposals and to choose my future.
“I say goodbye to Benfica, wishing them all the luck in the world and in the certainty that I gave everything for this shirt on and off the pitch. I would have liked to say goodbye to the fans on the field to thank them for everything they have given me but I will find another way of doing so. Thank you for everything. A strong embrace. Nuno Gomes.”
“Benfica also made a point of publicly thanking the striker, who scored 166 goals in 401 games for the Lisbon club, releasing a statement that read:
“Benfica thanks Nuno Gomes for his career, his work and his dedication at the club. Benfica wishes him the best of sporting success, and makes it clear that the doors of this house are always open for when he decides to end his playing career.” ”
We won’t even get into how sad I am that Benfica has decided to move this way. They are obviously out of touch with their fans this transfer season – from my standpoint…. There is someone in higher than pitch level that does not want to see Nuno end his playing career at Benfica.
Nuno wants to play another year so he can attempt to qualify for the Selecção in Euro 2012 – WHICH HE SHOULD BE, ARE YOU LISTENING PAULO BENTO????? He is 10th all time for appearances with the National Team, and 4th on the all time goal list (Cristiano is 5th, and Helder Postiga is 10th. No one else is currently active)
The only solace I have is knowing whatever club picks him up, he should get more playtime than he had last year. And whatever team picks him up, I’ll be watching.
FPF Vice President had some nice things to say about him in this article.
He is now being linked with EVERYONE: MLS (Toronto, San Jose, Revolution)…. Italy… Germany… but my bet’s on him staying in Portugal. Braga is sniffing heavily. He’s stated he does not want to play for anyone but Boavista and Benfica in Portugal, but since Benfica is out … who knows? If he wants to make Euro 2012 he needs to be put on the pitch, often, and allowed his chance to shine yet again. And I hope that will happen. And I’ll be watching.
The man is perfection in a uniform. He is without a doubt the one footballer I want to meet and thank for being such an inspiration to so many people. If you ask my favorite footballers, next to Eusébio, it’s probably Nuno Gomes.
Some quick stats from Record (and you don’t need to know Portuguese to understand them):
2 Ligas portuguesas (2004/05 e 2009/2010 – Benfica)
2 Taças de Portugal (1996/97 Boavista e 2003/04 Benfica)
1 Taça de Itália (2000/01 Fiorentina)
1 Supertaça de Portugal (2005/06 Benfica)
3 Taças da Liga (2008/09, 2009/10 e 2010/11 Benfica)
Jogos oficiais – 637
Golos em jogos oficiais – 246
From 2009, at the Luz:
Some highlights of the year:
After coming back from knee surgery that effectively took him out of any Europa League play (and, arguably, had a definite impact on Benfica as well in the tournament), to see him put on the armband and take the field for his (as it’s come to pass) final Benfica match, I was quite literally crying when I watched this.
Some amazing video of the man and the legend, forever in my heart, forever my Captain, your faves could, would and will never: Nuno Gomes.
And come on, who else would have a video dedicated to him by Nani himself?
Also, Nuno’s a huge goofball:
There’s a 45 minute video floating around the internet of a television show he did. It’s hysterical, awesome, and the outtakes will make you cry with laughter. I’ll find it.