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Player Profile: Simao Sabrosa  

Simao SabrosaName: Simão Pedro da Fonseca Sabrosa

Position: Forward

Date of Birth: 30 October 1979

Birthplace: Constantim, Portugal

Simao Pedro Fonseca Sabrosa, known to the football world simply as Simao, has been one of Portugal’s finest wingers over the past decade, and continues to produce outstanding performances on a remarkably consistent basis.

Simao is a product of Sporting’s youth academy that also spawned world-renowned flankers Luis Figo, Cristiano Ronaldo and Ricardo Quaresma. The goal he scored on his debut for Sporting in 1996/97, one minute after being brought on as a substitute, signalled the start of a brilliant career.

However, it is at Sporting’s great city rivals Benfica, that Simao truly blossomed. He moved to Benfica after one relatively subdued season at Spanish giants Barcelona.

He soon established himself as Benfica’s star player, and it was not long before he became the natural choice of club captain. After arriving at the Estadio da Luz in 2001, he always ended the season as the club’s top goalscorer, boasting a superb record of 81 goals in 173 league appearances for Benfica.

Simao’s main assets are his speed, a lightning fast dribble and a powerful and accurate shot, making him unerringly lethal when taking penalties and free-kicks around the box.

Inspirational captain

After scoring the winning goal as Benfica beat Porto in the 2003/04 Portuguese Cup final, the captain inspired Benfica to their first Portuguese championship in eleven years the following season. He scored 15 goals despite struggling with a hernia injury for much of the second half of the season.

Inevitably giants from Europe’s top leagues began to target Simao, and he reportedly got as far as strapping on his seat belt on a plane bound for England to sign for Liverpool when Benfica’s president Luis Filipe Vieira pulled the plug on the deal.

Ironically, just months later, as Benfica enjoyed their best Champions League run for years, Simao scored a brilliant individual goal as the Portuguese champions beat Liverpool 2-0 at Anfield to complete a 3-0 aggregate win.

In 2007, a few months before his 28th birthday, the winger opted for another crack at Spanish football, joining ambitious Atletico Madrid in a deal worth €20m. His second spell in La Liga has proved far more successful, with Simao establishing himself as a key player for Los Rojiblancos and forging a deadly attacking trio with Sergio Aguero and Diego Forlan at the Vicente Calderon.

International career

Although a regular in Portugal’s squad, Simao’s international career is yet to hit the same heights as his exploits at club level, largely because of Portugal’s plethora of talented wingers barring his place in the team, such as Luis Figo, Sergio Conceicao, and more recently Cristiano Ronaldo. Simao also had the misfortune of getting injured just before the 2002 World Cup.

However, playing at his home ground, Simao played a key role in helping Portugal beat England in the 2004 European Championships, when his pinpoint cross was headed into the net by Helder Positga in the 2-2 draw. Simao subsequently converted his spot-kick as Portugal won the penalty shootout.

With potentially his best seasons still ahead of him, Simao is sure to remain one of Portuguese football’s biggest stars for many years to come.

by Tom Kundert (last updated 01/04/2009)

Club Appearances* Goals
Sporting 58 9
           Barcelona 46 3
             Benfica 173 81
Atletico Madrid** 97 16
 PORTUGAL** 81 21

* League appearances only

** Up to May 2010

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