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WHERE ARE THEY NOW: Cristiano Ronaldo’s teammates from his Portugal debut 18 years ago

Summary List PlacementGoalkeeper — Ricardo After making 79 appearances for Portugal and enjoying spells with Sporting Lisbon, Real Betis, and Leicester City, goalkeeper Ricardo retired in 2014. He now owns his own real estate company on the Algarve. Defender — Miguel Monteiro In 2005, Miguel was one of European soccer's most sought after right-backs.  Valencia won the race for his signature, however the defender was never able to quite live up to the hype during his seven seasons in Spain, finding himself in-and-out of the team before retiring in 2012.  In 2014, he made an unsuccessful attempt to come out of retirement.  Defender — Fernando Meira A record...

Ronaldo

Summary List Placement

Goalkeeper — Ricardo

After making 79 appearances for Portugal and enjoying spells with Sporting Lisbon, Real Betis, and Leicester City, goalkeeper Ricardo retired in 2014.

He now owns his own real estate company on the Algarve.

Defender — Miguel Monteiro

In 2005, Miguel was one of European soccer’s most sought after right-backs. 

Valencia won the race for his signature, however the defender was never able to quite live up to the hype during his seven seasons in Spain, finding himself in-and-out of the team before retiring in 2012. 

In 2014, he made an unsuccessful attempt to come out of retirement. 

Defender — Fernando Meira

A record signing for VfB Stuttgart in 2002, Meira helped guide the German club to an unlikely Bundesliga title in 2006/07.

He left the club just one season later to join Galatasaray, before seeing out his career with Zenit Saint Petersburg and Real Zaragoza. 

Earlier this year, Meira criticized Ronaldo for storming off the pitch and throwing his captain’s armband on the floor before the final whistle as Portugal drew with Serbia.

Defender — Fernando Couto

One of only six players to have earned over 100 caps for Portugal, central defender Fernando Couto hung up his boots in 2008.

After retiring, the one-time FC Barcelona star briefly tried his hand at management with Portuguese side SC Braga and Indian side Manchester Howrah.

Defender — Rui Jorge

Having spent his entire club career in Portugal, left-back Rui Jorge ended his playing days with Belenenses in 2006.

The now 48-year-old has been the manager of Portugal’s national under-21 team since 2010. 

Midfielder — Costinha

A tough tackling midfielder, Costinha enjoyed spells with Nacional, Monaco, and Atletico Madrid during his club career.

Most famously, he was part of Jose Mourinho’s Champions League-winning Porto team in 2004.

Now a manager, he was most recently the coach of his former team Nacional, though he is currently without a job.  

Midfielder — Rui Costa

Regarded as one of Portugal’s greatest ever players and one of the best midfielders of his generation, Rui Costa made 94 appearances and scored 26 goals for his country.

He retired from international football after Euro 2004 and then from domestic football in 2008.

“The Maestro” is the current sporting director of Benfica. 

 

 

Midfielder — Luis Figo

The man who Ronaldo replaced for his Portugal debut, Luis Figo is probably Portugal’s second most-beloved soccer player, after Cristiano.

The legendary winger made nearly 800 appearances and won 22 major honors during a glistening domestic career with Sporting Lisbon, FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, and Inter Milan.

After having made an unsuccessful run for FIFA president in 2015, Figo and now holds an advisory role with UEFA and is a global ambassador for Inter. 

 

Midfielder — Hugo Viana

Hugo Viana played in Portugal, England, Spain, and the United Arab Emirates during his nomadic player career.

He retired aged 33 in 2016, and was most recently the director of football at Portuguese side Belenenses.

Midfielder — Deco

Midfielder Deco called time on his playing days in 2013 having enjoyed a glistening playing career with Porto, FC Barcelona, and Chelsea, among others. 

Since, he’s setup a soccer charity in Brazil, become an ambassador for the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, and started his own player agency which represents stars such as Premier League duo Fabinho and Raphinha.

 

Striker — Pedro Miguel Pauleta

Best known as just Pauleta, only Ronaldo has scored more goals for Portugal than the former Bordeaux and Paris Saint Germain striker, who hit 47 in 88 games for his country. 

In 2020, Pauleta told the official of France’s Ligue 1 that he is now an ambassador of the Paris Saint-Germain Academy.

SUB: Bruno Vale

Goalkeeper Bruno Vale made his Portugal debut on the same day as Ronaldo, however that’s where the similarities between the pair stop. 

He never made another appearance for his country, and retired in 2019 having spent the majority of his career with Cypriot side Apollon Limassol.

SUB: Jorge Andrade

Former Porto, Deportivo La Coruna, and Juventus defender Jorge Andrade moved into management after retiring in 2015.

He first took charge of Clube Oriental de Lisboa, and then later had an assistant role at Vitoria de Setubal from which he stepped down in 2019 for personal reasons. 

SUB: Nuno Valente

The man Leighton Baines took over to become Everton’s first choice left-back in the mid-noughties, Nuno Valente is another of Ronaldo’s former Portugal teammates who has become a coach since retiring. 

He’s only had one job, however – in the Portuguese third division – and it lasted just two months and six games, five of which he lost. 

SUB: Maniche

A regular for Portugal between 2003 and 2009, Maniche is best remembered for his incredible goal against the Netherlands at Euro 2004.

He’s been an assistant manager at Portuguese clubs Pacos de Ferreira and Academica since retiring in 2011. 

SUB: Simao

22 goals in 85 games for Portugal makes Simao his country’s 10th all-time top scorer and 12th all-time appearance maker.

The former FC Barcelona, Benfica, and Atletico Madrid winger ended his playing career in 2015 after brief spell in India with NorthEast United. 

He’s now Benfica’s head of international relations.

SUB: Helder Postiga

Tottenham Hotspur fans will remember the name Helder Postiga well, but not for the right reasons.

The Portuguese striker scored just once in 19 games following a $10.7 million move from Porto in 2003. 

He was shipped back to Porto at the end of his only season at White Hart Lane, and spent the rest of his career as a journeyman, playing in France, Greece, Spain, Italy, and India before retiring in 2016. 

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