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Quotes - 2001/2002


(N.B. All quotes are translated from the Portuguese.)


Abel Xavier, commenting on the story that the Portuguese players wanted their prize-money at the World cup to be tax-free: "Any player would pay to play in the national team. That story of the taxes is nonsense."


Sporting coach Laszlo Bölöni on the reasons for João Pinto's attitude in the game against South Korea : "He was suffering from mental and physical fatigue."


International midfielder Paulo Sousa hangs up his boots and alludes to the criticism of his inclusion in the squad for Korea: "[I'm hurt] by the lack of respect and consideration for my past and the dignity that any human being has the right to expect."


Sporting coach Laszlo Bölöni, asked what he was going to do first as he arrived back in Lisbon after holidays: "I'm going to pick up my car, buy some bread, feed the pigeons and then have a sleep."


President of the FPF, Gilberto Madaíl, admitting that António Oliveira had been sent a fax suggesting the rescission of his contract: "This is the only decision we could take, and it's not because of pressure from anyone. The national team coach is António Oliveira, he was a great Portuguese player who played in several clubs, he was a great Portugues coach and he was the coach that took Portugal to EURO '96 and the World Cup 2002, so he is not a person we want to push off the balcony. But the decision is because there are not now the conditions for AO to continue as coach. We will propose an amicable rescission of the contract with regard to the two remaining years as the conditions that are necessary for the fulfillment of the contract no longer appear to exist." (infordesporto)


António Oliveira, national team coach, in a press conference Friday: "My job has always been on the line, and it is now, too. One minute after signing for the Federation my job was on the line, because that's the way I am ... I'm not going to offer my resignation because that would be an act of cowardice ... I signed a four-year contract with objectives, like taking the team to the World cup. So I'm fulfilling, as far as possible, what was programmed."

António Boronha, ex-Vice-President of the FPF, the day after the FPF emergency meeting to look into the national team's failure in Korea. He was responding to FPF President Gilberto Madaíl's accusation that Boronha's report on the campaign was "full of falsehoods": "This was an attempt at inconsequential whitewashing. What interests the millions of fans who felt frustrated is a categorical response about whether this coach (António Oliveira) is any good or not. What I said in the report is that he isn't."


António Boronha, vice-president of the Football Federation, conmfirming his resignation from the job: "What went wrong with the World Cup? Essentially, the homework wasn't done ... I'm not a hypocrite. I don't think António Oliveira is in any position to continue as national team coach."


President of Sporting SAD (the commercial side of the club) Miguel Ribeiro Teles, expressing the club's support for João Pinto: "I have no reason not to believe JP's word. The player admits openly that he acted badly and exagerrated in his protests. At that moment he was pushed and that's where the contact with the referee came from. But he denies any physical aggression."

Dias de Cunha, president of Sporting Club: "The short conversation I had with JP served to reinforce my conviction that he is completely innocent in terms of physical aggression ... It is not going to be possible to prove that there was any physical agression on the part of JP."

A press release from the Portuguese Players Union: "We ask everybody involved in football, in particular the press, to have the necessary serenity to wait for the process to unfold, avoiding a public trial of the player, which would have repercussions on his personal and family life ... We offer the player access to our legal services to guarantee a fair defence and a balanced decision ... We have to remember the unique contriburion of JP to the national team."

Portuguese international referee Vítor Pereira: "I'm sad at the situation ... it puts the good name of the country at risk ... This is the first time ever in the history of the World Cup that a player has assaulted a referee ... People cannot put their heads in the sand and pretend that nothing has happened ... Those responsible for sport in Portugal have to say something because this is a national question. It's a question of sporting culture."

(all quotes translated from infordesporto)


APAF, the Portuguese Referees Association, reacting to the actions of João Pinto in the Korea match and the subsequent passivity of the competent Portuguese bodies: "There can be no sort of solidarity with someone who has this kind of attitude, nor any consideration for someone who calls into question the good name of Portuguese football." (infordesporto)

President of the Liga, Valentim Loureiro, who on Sunday appeared on TV to defend his friend João Pinto, talking about the photo that appeared in 'The Japan Times' apparently showing the player punching the referee in the Korea match: "I don't see any act of aggression. I do see JP's right arm against the referee, and I agree that the player got near the referee when he was protesting, but I still believe that the player did not punch him." (A Bola On-line)

Guus Hiddink, responding to claims that Luís Figo tried to arrange a draw with Korea: "I know Figo well, I have great admiration for his professionalism and for his character, he's a great player and a great man. I'm sure he would be incapable of that." (A Bola On-line)


Coach António Oliveira: "We're all very sad. This wasn't in our plans. We had legitimate ambitions to get through this first phase ... I have to congratulate South Korea ... I also want to say a word about the players, who showed extraordinary stoicism. Nobody should feel disgraced because we gave everything, but through bad luck we didn't get where we wanted to go ... [about the refereeing] It was an unequal struggle for more than 60 minutes. I'd like to say more things ... Nobody would have said that France or argentina would have been knocked out, or that Portugal wouldn't get through ... I'd like to wish South Korea good luck. I think that business was safeguarded, but I don't want to add anything more about this game ... This experience was very rich. We're leaving obviously very disappointed for not achieving our objectives ... Let's think that tomorrow is a new day and that there are worse things than losing and not getting through to the next phase." ( A Bola)

Gilberto Madaíl, president of the Portuguese Football Federation: "Our national team has to know how to leave the big competitions with heads held high. We've been criticised for lack of fair play ... [the situation of João Pinto] is a very serious situation which we will deal with in light of a meeting I've already had with the president of Sporting plc, trying to minimise the effects of an attitude that was spontaneous. I can't hide the fact that the national team has a stigma that comes from other games, notably against France in EURO 2000 ... I've always taken care to warn the coaching staff, as well as the players ... I told the players before the Poland game that we couldn't be stuck, every time we get knocked out of an important competition, with the image of an undisciplined team ... I warned the players, when they met up at the beginning, about the need for them to know how to interpret the concept of fair play ... The coach has not resigned ... but it's a situation that has to be discussed ... We never demanded that we be World Champions, but we had hopes ... of getting as far as we could Mundo ... I'm not a futurologist, but a lot of what will happen will depend on the decisions of the FPF Directors. I had a mandate to contract the coaching staff, and at the time there was no contestation ... I believe the coaching staff gave the national team everything that they knew how to."

Figo: "It wasn't possible to get through to the last 16, but football doesn't stop here. Our careers carry on and we have to keep our heads up and try to do our best in the nnext competitions ... With a bit more luck, things could have been different ... but we never threw in the towel and we could have got the draw ... We're stronger from this experience, but if things continue to happen that go beyond the quality of the work of the team, this will matter little. We were strong in this game and we're going to be stronger still in two years time."

Eusébio: "Everyone who saw the game saw that Portugal were prejudiced. But football's like that ... We're a small country, and that's why we have to suffer this kind of situation. I'm sad because we didn't deserve this."

Captain and central defender Fernando Couto: "We worked hard and faced the game with courage and determination ... Let's just say that this was not our World Cup, but we're aware that this competition needed the Portuguese players."

Striker Nuno Gomes: "I'm sad because this is one of the best groups of players Portugal has ever had. Let's see if in the coming years we can fulfill our dream of being Champions of the World."

Midfielder Paulo Bento: "[When we were down] we went after the result, but we lacked that little bit of luck. This is not an excuse but a fact ... Let's think of what we did wrong, congratulate those that qualified and start thinking of EURO 2004, perhaps preparing things a little differently ... We failed our expectations and those of the Portuguese. We brought with us a hope, and we didn't get to where we wanted through our own fault."

Defender Abel Xavier: For some of us, this was a dream we've had for 11 years. I wanted to have a good World cup after what happened in EURO 2000. But even when I'm in form, there's a question mark over me. I'm going to reflect on this."

Full-back Rui Jorge: "I'm shattered ... Portugal did everything in its power to beat South Korea and get through to the next phase ... If we could have guessed waht was going to happen, maybe we could have taken a few more risks."

Midfielder Petit: "With the sending-off of João Pinto, our mission became more complicated, but we reacted well. We knew the result of the other game and we couldn't just attack willy-nilly. There wasn't any lack of ambition on our part - we even created chances to score at the end - but we weren't lucky."

(all quotes translated from A Bola)


João Pinto (in his World Cup Diary column in A Bola), after the incidents which saw him sent off in the game against South Korea: "It's hard for me to write today ... I'm very sad, desolate even, but I don't want to run away from my responsibilites. And I assume my mistakes ... I, as well as my teammates, expected much more from Portugal in the competition ... About the incident in the game [the tackle that got him sent off], I think it was a normal situation. In fact before that moment, there had been a very similar tackle on me that got a yellow card from the referee. So there were double standards ... The incident that in the referee's opinion was worth a sending-off was a result of my commitment, not for protesting, but for challenging for the ball ... I think I was wrongly sent off. My intention was to play the ball, not to hurt anybody. If there had been any other intention in my mind that wasn't to play the ball, the Korean player wouldn't have been able to continue ... The situation [of a possible ban] worries me ...because it won't be a ban for just one match but several ... I'm sure that I'm not going to sleep tonight ... I'm sad, very sad, that we're out of a competition that we put a lot into, but this World Cup is not just one to forget. It's also one to remember."


Coach António Oliveira, on the eve of the last group game against South Korea: "I'd say that these are the most important 90 minutes of the whole of our sporting lives ... We will never again have these 90 minutes, nor this opportunity ... It's unique ... This game is for champions. If we win it, we haven't won anything, but if we lose it, we lose it all." (infordesporto )



João Pinto ahead of the Korea game Friday: "It isn't only possible to repeat the commitment of the Poland game, it has to be that way. Above all, the team needs to be organised like in the last game and enter with the intention of winning ... Korea have evolved a lot in recent years, they're well trained and very organised ... I don't like it that my name is always mentioned as the one to be left out of the starting line up - I had a good season." (infordesporto)

Rui Jorge: "We're going to be up against a very quick and organised side. They're bound to cause us a lot of problems ... If we can keep possession of the ball and control the game, it doesn't much matter if they're very fast. above all, the important thing is for us not to be caught out on the counter attack ... We're fine mentally. This is a very important game in our careers and we're going into it with a lot of ambition." (infordesporto)

Federation president Gilberto Madaíl: "Beating Korea - if you'll excuse me - is our obligation because we have a better and more mature team and our players have a lot of international experience." (infordesporto)

Korea coach Guus Hiddink wants his side to emulate Denmark's attitude against France: "They weren't afraid of their opponents, despite them being World Champions. They respected them, but they did not fear them, showing great character against a team made up of great stars ... We want to approach the game with Portugal with the same attitude ... If we've improved in recent months it's above all down to the fact that we don't fear anyone any more ... I'm confident that our battling character will be enough to get at least a draw." (infordesporto)


Front-page headline of tabloid 24 Horas: "The Pope is Polish ... but God is Pauleta"

Hat-trick hero Pedro Pauleta after the 4-0 win over Poland: "I still dream of the possibility of being the top scorer, but the important thing is for us to go through ... Korea are very fast. It's going to be difficult game that can be decided by an individual touch ... The team gave its all against the USA and Poland, but against the USA we made more mistakes ... When we win, everyone wins, and when we lose, everyone loses. We all make mistakes and we're all good and just because I scored three goals doesn't mean that the victory was down to me because the important thing is always the team."


António Oliveira, coach, ahead of the decisive Portugal v Poland game, Monday: "We have no alternative but to win this game to then think about the other and then guarantee our passage to the next phase. With the habitual commitment of all and the will to win and achieve our objectives, we'll face this game with a very great sense of responsibility."

Figo, ditto: "Everybody is aware of the crucial moment we're at, and more than anyone we want to be in the next phase. Nobody's here to lose. We're here to win ... and everyone is fully aware of what's at stake tomorrow ... I think that the team is fit. It's normal and I don't see any physical problem compared to the other teams. If we weren't fit, we wouldn't have managed to take the game to the USA in the second half ... Personally I'm fine, and I don't think it's because of fitness that we're not going to be able to win the game."

Captain Fernando Couto, ditto: "Continue to have confidence in us!"


Jorge Andrade, central defender of FC Porto who came on for Jorge Costa in the second half of the USA game: "I always feel that I'm an option. I try to be, but it's up to the coach to decide who plays. We'll see ... At the end of the first game, we played as we did due to the score. The team rarely plays like that ... We're all concentrated and motivated to get a positive result against Poland ... The game against the USA had hardly ended and we wanted to play the next game to wipe out the negative image that we'd left ... Emmanuel Olisadebe is a very quick forward that could cause us problems, but we have to respect the Polish team as a whole ... To win we have to be at our best level. It helps to see how the other teams play, but if we don't play well, it's not the way the opposition play that's going to change anything." (infordesporto)


Luís Figo:"It's not going to be easy for us, but we've told ourselves that we still depend only on ourselves to reach the next phase. We have to be realistic: things are complicated, but while there's still a chance ... Let no one doubt that Portugal is still well and truly alive in this World Cup ... We've analysed the mistakes we made and we've talked about how not to make them again in the two games left ... I'm not happy because we lost, but I'm happy because I didn't feel any pain. It's the first time for months that I've played 90 minutes and finished without pains in my ankle. For me it was a test, and my ankle stood up to it. I've recovered!" (infordesporto/ Marca)

Sérgio Conceição: "We thought the game was going to be easy, and the people in Portugal also imbued us with this spirit, but in truth a game in the World cup is never easy ... Independently of whether I'm picked for the next game or not, we all have to row in the same direction, and if I'm the one chosen to sit on the bench, I'll respect the decision of the coach." (infordesporto)


Gilberto Madaíl, Portuguese Football Federation president: "Only with blood sweat and tears will we be able to achieve our first objective ... I've spoken to the players and they said they're going to do everything possible to win the two games ... I ask the Portuguese not to abandon us, not to stop supporting us."


Reactions to Portugal's 2-3 defeat at the hands of the USA. ( translated from infordesporto)

Coach António Oliveira: "That's the World Cup for you! ... The USA gave us a lot of trouble ... We also had some bad luck with the chances we created and missed ... The USA were physically strong and very good on the counter attack ... Nothing is lost, but we have to win the next two games ... Both the USA and Korea had six months to prepare for this competition ... It just needed a bit of luck for the Portuguese team to come out of this game with a draw, which would have been fairer."

Figo: "We had a terrible first half and suffered because of our own mistakes, which you pay for in top competition ... The opposition were very good tactically and knew how to take advantage of our mistakes and scored at crucial moments ... When you score more you end up winning ... Now we have to win the next two games and get the calculators out."

Fernando Couto, Captain: "We were at fault in the way we were three down so early ...We tried to react but we didn't play intelligently and it all got complicated ... Now we're going to try to recover, and for that we need to win the next two games."

Beto (scorer of Portugal's first goal): "We knew that there were no easy teams in the final phas of the World cup and we never underestimated the USA. The two next games aren't going to be easy either, but we're going to approach them with optimism."

Nuno Gomes, brought on ten minutes from time to reinforce the attack: "It's the trainer's shout to decide who he thinks is best for the team ... obviously I wanted to come on earlier ... When I came on we were already out of steam. There was nothing much we could do, and everything we did came more from the heart than the head ... Perhaps they were better prepared than us."

Durão Barroso, Prime Minister: "It's at time like these that we see what the great teams are made of ... We almost recovered. If the game had been 15 minutes longer we would have."


"I prefer the smell of sweat to the smell of the Chritmas tree" Sporting coach Bölöni, worried that his players are relaxing too much at the festive season.


"Happy Defeat" - Front page headline of A Bola following Boavista's 0-1 defeat in Kiev in Group B of the Champions League. It was not enough to prevent Boavista from progressing to the next phase, at the expense of Dortmund, who lost 0-2 at Liverpool.


Boavista's Alexandre Goulart plays down the on-paper superiority of Liverpool ahead of the Champions League game between the two teams this week: "On the pitch, there are no differences. Salaries don't play. It's eleven against eleven; everyone has two legs, two arms, two shoulders and a nose. It's a question of will.

A Bola's headline for the 6-2 thrashing by Beira Mar of Alverca: "With missiles and ground troops."

A Bola's headline for Varzim's 2-0 defeat of Farense, played out in torrential rain: "A game for (frog) men"


Boavista coach Jaime Pacheco has a new tactic to deal with the 2.2m of Borussia Dortmund's Jan Koller: "I've told my players to bring in high-heeled shoes from home."


FC Porto coach Octávio Machado is pretty chuffed after FC Porto beat Rosenberg away in their first Champions League outing: "I dedicate this victory to anyone who's as happy as me."


FC Porto coach Octávio Machado comes over all mysterious after his team's 0-0 draw in the clássico with Benfica at the Luz. He criticised "... the little figures that the media turn into big figures - Those are the Bin Ladens of football and they aren't players, coaches, refs or directors, but their days are numbered in football ... You know who I'm talking about!" (?)


Varzim coach Rogério Gonçalves despondent after his side go down 1-5 at home to to Belenenses: "Sometimes you just feel like saying sorry!"

Sporting coach Laszlo Bölöni refuses to comment on the upcoming Benfica v FC Porto clássico: "They're not our direct rivals - they have more points than us."

"A classic is a classic ... and vice-versa." Mário Jardel, still at Grêmio of Porto Alegre before coming to Portugal (futebolcia)

"My club was on the edge of a precipice, but I took the right decision ... I took a step forward." João Pinto, while still at Benfica. (futebolcia)


Boavista president João Loureiro speaking before his club's historic Champions League match against Liverpool (the first time Boavista had played a competitive game on British soil), just hours after the terrorist action in the USA that killed thousands: "The result of the game, whatever it is, is not going to be able to raise my morale. It's irrelevant in the face of what has happened in the world."


Boavista coach Jaime Pacheco, whose team were well favoured by refereeing decisions in the opening game of the season (3-0 v Beira-Mar) speaks out against overreaction to refereeing mistakes (Change of opinion to be monitored later in the season): "Above all, we have to maintain our dignity ... directors always arrange ways to camouflage results."

U-21 international Cândido Costa responds to reports in Marca that he had bitten Spanish defender Carlos Marchena in a friendly: "No, I don't think I've become a cannibal yet!"