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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Sousa Talks to The Players: Summary of His Talk (Brief Ainsworth Talk)...Sousa Career Profile

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Portugo.net - Player profile: Paulo Sousa

Full name: Paulo Manuel Carvalho Sousa

Position: Midfielder

Date of Birth: 30 August 1970

Birthplace: Viseu, Portugal

Paulo Sousa is without doubt one of the most celebrated and highly regarded Portuguese footballers in the modern game. A member of the “Golden Generation”, Sousa was a classic defensive midfielder, hunting down every ball and possessing the ability to provide precision passes to his team-mates anywhere on the field.

Injuries prematurely ended his illustrious career, but not before he claimed a hatful of titles and left behind a legacy most players can only dream of.

Paulo Sousa started his career in Benfica’s youth academy. Seasoned observers soon noted the young Sousa possessed immense determination and talent and was already laying down the groundwork for a great future. The midfielder was selected for Portugal’s U20 squad and participated in the World Youth Championships held in Saudi Arabia in 1989. Portugal went on to win two consecutive youth titles at this level.

Benfica triumph

With a world title under his belt, Paulo Sousa returned to Benfica and was thrown into the starting XI without question, making 20 appearances and scoring one goal. The following season saw the player cement his place as Benfica won the championship with Sousa lining up alongside the likes of Rui Costa and Paulo Future. Sousa added another trophy in the 1992/93 season as Benfica claimed the Portuguese Cup.

The end of that season would see Paulo Sousa’s career with Benfica come to an acrimonious end. The player sensationally left the club citing unpaid salary. The accusation allowed the player to break his contract with the Lisbon club and move to Benfica’s fiercest rivals, Sporting. But Sousa stayed with the Lions just one season before Sporting transferred the player to Italy’s Juventus.

It would be there that the Portuguese midfielder would gain international exposure as he quickly won a place with the Turin-based club, winning the Serie A title, Italian Cup and Italian Super Cup in his first year with the club. The coveted Champions League title followed in 1996.

Amazingly, Juventus transferred the player to German side Borussia Dortmund after only two seasons. It was suggested that the Italian club decided to sell Paulo Sousa believing that the player would not be able to perform at the highest level after sustaining and masking injuries.

Champions League double
They say revenge is a dish best served cold, and that would be the case as Paulo Sousa again played a major role in lifting the Champions League crown in his first season with Dortmund. The supreme irony of the situation was not lost on Portuguese football fans as the German club won its first European title in 1997 defeating none other than Juventus 3-1 in the final.

That same year Dortmund also won the Intercontinental Cup but Sousa then fell out of favour with coach Nevio Scala and the club decided to loan the player back to Italy, this time to Inter Milan. After figuring in 11 matches, Inter decided to make the transfer permanent and purchased the player’s contract. However, injuries were taking their toll on the player and a brief loan spell at Parma interspersed the sparing appearances for Inter.

With injuries now plaguing his career, unsuccessful attempts to prolong his playing days at Panathinaikos in Greece and Espanyol in Spain brought a tepid end to a brilliant career. Nonetheless, Paulo Sousa will always be remembered as a classy ball winner which many Portuguese youngsters model themselves on today.

International career
Paulo Sousa made a total of 51 appearances for Portugal. He was a staple in the midfield and helped raise the profile of the national team in Euro 1996 and Euro 2000 where Portugal left a good impression.

He was also a member of the under-achieving squad that went to the World Cup in 2002, although many believe Sousa, whose career had already been blighted by injury at this point, was selected out of respect for his club career rather than his then diminished ability. Nonetheless, as with his club career, a somewhat ignominious end did nothing to take the sheen of the wonderful service provided to his country.
by Marco Pereira (01/02/2008)

Benfica 89 4

Sporting 31 2
Juventus 54 1

Borussia Dortmund 27 1
Inter Milan 20 0

Parma 8 0
Panathinaikos 10 0

Espanyol 9 0


* League only - Portugoal.net

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