"FC Porto have a coach and have no intention of changing. This report has no foundation whatsoever. But as there weren't enough people lying and inventing things, another one's just appeared ... it's a Lie with a
capital 'L'" (TVI)
(FC Porto's captain Jorge Costa, responding to stiker Pena's complaints about him - see 23/12): "If there's anyone who can criticize my way of being it's
the directors of FC Porto, and if they feel that they don't like my attitude, I won't change the way I am - If they think it's for the best, I'll simply leave." (24 Horas/ Record )
(Pierre van Hooijdonk, commenting on his current situation at Benfica):
"I'm not happy in my work. I'm disappointed with my situation and the way they play in Portugal. I haven't been used to the best advantage, rather to the detriment of me and the team ... In terms of quality, I'm better than João Tomás (Benfica's top scorer with ten goals) ... I thought Portuguese football was better ... There are a lot of players who play like 5-a-side players, passing the ball around a lot ... Tactically, Portuguese football is very weak - here they play not to lose, whereas in Holland they play to win ... I'm not saying that I'm going to leave, but if the situation stays like it is, I don't know what I'll do ..." (
Voetbal International/ Record)
(Galatasaray's Brazilian striker Mário Jardel on the continuing story of his move to Benfica):
"I can't wait to go and live in Lisbon and play in such a famous club. I'll be disappointed if the transfer isn't sorted out in January." (onefootball/ A Bola)
(Maradona, still simmering over the FIFA prizegiving gala in Rome): "It was a disgrace what they did to Eusébio - they didn't even mention his name, and he was an extraordinary footballer." (A Bola)
(FC Porto's Brazilian stiker Pena on his recent outburst in which he criticized club captain Jorge Costa):
"I exploded because of Jorge Costa's attitude ... if the criticism is constructive, I have no problem accepting it. What I can't accept is there being one rule for me, one rule for others ... Why aren't others criticized? Because they're friends of the captain's? I don't understand that and I can't accept it ... What I say is true and I don't retract a word of it." (
(Michel Preud'homme on why he decided to leave Benfica for Standard Liége): "I wasn't essential."
(Dani, ex-Benfica, soon of Atlético Madrid, on his feelings about Benfica, who
sacked him for alleged "unprofessional behaviou"):
"I was very sad about the way they treated me and the way they handled my situation. I'm hurt because they made me train alone and without the support of anyone. Would I be prepared to return? With this administration - never!" (
(Paulo Madeira, Benfica's Portuguese international defender, just returning after injury to a knee, on Benfica's chances of the title):
"Anything's possible. We're nine points behind the top team but there are still 19 games to play and lots of points to play for."
(Sporting president Dias da Cunha on the refereeing
in Portugal - On RTP's chat show 'Jogo Falado'): "The championship has been adulterated by the referees. Sporting could be top!"
(Benfica president Manuel Vilarinho responding to ex-coach José
Mourinho, who had given a damning interview to sports daily 'Record'):
"Mourinho is vain, he has no character and he's a blackmailer ... He knows that he only started getting results once I'd arrived at the club and had paid the players their salaries and match bonuses... Sr. Mourinho is an instrument of the former president, Sr. Vale e Azevedo, who seems to be running an election campaign still..."
(And on Sporting's Director of Football Luís Duque): "I don't like rude people and Sr.Luís Duque is rude ... so therefore, I'll never sit at the same table as him again."
(Living legend Eusébio on Figo's awards):
"Amália (Fado singer and Portuguese institution who died last year) has gone and I'm going to go one day so it's a good thing that someone like Figo has come along to take over."
(Bruno Ribeiro, formerly of Leeds and Sheffield United, now with União de Leiria, had this to say about his experience of playing in England.):
"The first year was very positive, but after George Graham left (Leeds), things got difficult because there were people there who didn't like foreigners very much. We don't have that problem here, fortunately ... I'm not saying that there's racism there, but there is a big difference in the treatment of the foreigners and the English ... Everything went well in the first year, George Graham supported me and all the directors were great. But after they changed the coach, and now at Sheffield, well ... it was just too much. It became unbearable. That's why I decided to return to Portugal and join a great club like União de Leiria."
"TO US YOU'RE THE BEST" (Front page headline of 'A Bola'the day after Figo loses out to Zidane as FIFA's player of the year)
"I wanted so much to win this - for
Portugal ... EURO 2000, which lasted a month, carried more weight than a year's work ... Maybe next year!" (Figo)
"If the vote had been via the Internet, maybe Figo would have left here as Number One
... We're happy but we have the feeling that we could have gone one better." (FPF president Gilberto Madaíl)
"Zidane won because Figo isn't French!" (National Team coach António Oliveira)
"It's unjust ... It's a defeat for all of us who saw this year that he was the real world number one." (Rui Costa)
"If Zidane won just because of the European title then his recent
sending-offs should also have been taken into account." (Jorge Costa, FC Porto captain and National Team colleague of Figo)
"In terms of productivity over the year, Figo was more consistent and
productive than Zidane." (Carlos Queirós, South Africa and ex-Portugal National Team coach)
"It was a great party, but Luís should have won for the night to end on a high." (Eusébio)
"When I got back, I didn't know anything about it." (Sporting president Dias da Cunha returns from a business trip to Mozambique to find that coach Augusto Inácio has been sacked by
Director of Football Luís Duque.)
"I wanted to leave early to see the second half on TV at home. It was very noisy in the stadium." (Fluminense midfielder Roger, linked to Benfica,
explaining why he left the stadium after being substituted at half time in the Taça João Havelange game against São Caetano. He had to return to the stadium later for a routine doping test.)
"Feher (Braga's top scorer with 11 league goals this season but on the bench for the home cup tie against Second Division B Estoril, which Braga lost 1-2) was in no condition to play, and that can be confirmed
by our medical department. Our strategy was to put him on in the dying minutes and he had instructions to go on without the ref's permission so that he'd get his fifth yellow card of the season ... I'm not stupid - if
he'd been fit, he would have been in the team." (Braga coach Manuel Cajuda explains some underhand tactics to clear the Hungarian stiker of yellow cards. Feher never did get to come on. The team were booed off
the pitch after the unexpected cup defeat.)
"Football is the most important thing among the least important things in life." (Paulo Autuori, coach of troubled Vitória de Guimarães
after they lose 0-4 at home to Benfica. Vitória fans protested angrily after the game and Autuori was to lose his job two days later.)
"I know that it's not my place to speak about the fans of other clubs
but I have to show my solidarity with Paulo Autuori. I don't understand the reaction of the Guimarães fans towards a great man and professional. I know that if it was the other way around, he would do the same."
(José Mourinho, coach of Benfica, after the same game.)
(Press conference with Robert Enke, Benfica goalkeeper - 15/11/00)
"I've never seen an easy week at Benfica, especially not this season ...
That (failure to win away) isn't only a problem of this season ... but in fact, we've also had problems at home ... The way we've won has been different from the way Sporting and Porto have won - they win more easily
than us ... The main reason is that our squad doesn't have the same quality as Sporting and Porto ... When we go one down, we can't seem to turn it round. That's not good, and it's not the sign of a great team ... In
the first eight games last season we let in one goal, this time, even in the pre-season games, we let in a lot, maybe because the defence has been changed a lot ... At this moment, we can't think of being first, or
second, in the league ... In Germany, all the players receive their salaries on time - it's a problem that just can't happen. ( Benfica's financial problems are such that in recent seasons, players' pay cheques have
always been late in coming through). Whatever, now everything is up-to-date - I have my money, so I'm happier."
(Paulo Futre, Director of Sport of Atlético Madrid, to Spanish sports daily 'La Marca' -
14/11/00 - about the possibility of Portuguese midfielder Hugo Leal returning to Benfica)
"It hasn't even occurred to me to sell Hugo Leal to anybody - not to Benfica, not to any other club ... he'll
make history here ... the president (Gil y Gil) will have to explain to me the reasons why he has to sell him. It must be only if it's a matter of life and death."
(Ex-national team coach Humberto Coelho
to website onefootball.com - 13/11/00 - stating differences with the Portuguese Football Federation - FPF)
"The FPF does not value national managers ... They are constantly on the look out for quick
results and are not prepared to wait for a coach's preparation to bear fruit ... After the defeat by France, they forced me out ... Some of the directors have never supported me."
(Interview with Benfica
coach, José Mourinho, 12/11/00, responding to an interview by Egyptian winger Sabry, 11/11/00, both in 'A Bola')
Sabry: Suddenly I started to feel that the present trainer was marginalising me.
: Since I arrived, Sabry has started in four games, and would have started tomorrow (against Farense), and has been on the bench three. What would Dudic, Sergio Nunes or Uribe say who have only started in one game?
Sabry: I feel that Mourinho doesn't like me.
Mourinho: I would have preferred it if he had said he doesn't like the coach ... He doesn't know if I like him or not. But I can tell you that it's not
easy for a coach to like a player who is off-side an absurd number of times ... who runs away when they show him their teeth when we play away ... who, when I'm a bit more agressive at half-time, he goes running to the
technical director and says he's frightened of me!
Sabry: The coach has never spoken to me. I don't think his relationship with me is very correct.
Mourinho: I have a little notebook where I note
down all the individual meetings I have with a player. I've had seven meetings with Sabry, three in the last four days. He says I've never spoken to him, but he doesn't like what I say to him.
Sabry: When I go
on 15 or 20 minutes from the end, it's difficult to get into the game.
Mourinho: The only game in which he only played 20 minutes was at Paços de Ferreira where, incidentally, he took eight minutes to do his
boots up and put his shinpads on! In front of me, all the people on the bench put their heads in their hands.
Sabry: I've never played in my real position. In all the teams I've played in, I've always been a
Mourinho: He played in that position against Belenenses. In 16 minutes, they had five counter-attacks from balls lost by Sabry.
Mourinho: I want to remind Sabry that this is Benfica, not
PAOK Salonika (Sabry's old club) ... As long as the fans want me, the one who gives the orders around here is me.
(Interview with Pierre Van Hooijdonk - A Bola, 09/11/00)
"Benfica is a great
club, but that's not enough to win games ... For great clubs with high salaries, the demands and responsabilities are great ... If anyone doesn't have enough personality to bear this pressure, he should choose a smaller
club ... A player can't walk about feeling happy with himself just because he didn't play and so wasn't directly responsible for the bad results ... One of the things I've noticed during these months is that they give a
lot of importance to individualism. Everybody's happy if they nutmeg an opponent, but the team's the important thing ... I don't want to be a hero ... Sometimes it seems that they do things to get their names in the
papers the next day ... Jardel is not what Benfica most need at the moment ... We create very few goal chances. I sometimes feel envious of the chances created by FC Porto ... If Jardel came at the moment, I doubt
whether he'd score many goals ... What we need is someone ridiculously fast who can get by defenders, get to the line and cross. In England, I had crosses from all sides, all the time, and here it's the opposite ...
Some English clubs have been interested in me, but I told them that I feel good here and that I'm not going anywhere. I'm satisfied with everything except the results ... The fans have to understand that we're probably
not going to be fighting for the title ... José Mourinho (coach) is not a magician ... We have to be realists, and the fans do, too ... If it was today, knowing what I know now, I'd still agree to come here."