Portugal can credit Sporting Lisbon for their Euro 2016 success
Portugal owe Sporting Lisbon considerable credit for their Euro 2016 success due to the sheer number of players in the squad who came through the club’s academy.
A staggering 10 of the 14 players used by the winners in the final against France came through the academy at one point in their career.
Sporting’s academy – the Academia Sporting in Alcochete – is regarded as something of a talent factory. The likes of Luis Figo, Eric Dier and Simao all began their careers with Sporting
Even with that reputation, they would never have expected to provide so much of the squad as Portugal won their first ever major international tournament.
It stretches as far as Portugal’s most important player – Cristiano Ronaldo. Despite going off early with injury in Sunday’s final, it is doubtful that Portugal would have reached the showpiece tie without their forward in the rest of the competition.
The 31-year-old was joined in the forward line by Nani, who also came through Sporting’s academy before rejoining them on loan during the 2014-15 season.
Ronaldo’s replacement following his injury, Ricardo Quaresma, was also trained at the Academia.
It is not just forward thinking players that the Academia churns out. Midfielders Joao Moutinho, William Carvalho and Joao Mario came through the system at Sporting.
The back-line also had a significant Sporting influence – Jose Fonte and Cedric Soares, both of Southampton, were in the academy.
Club president Bruno de Carvalho revealed his pride at Sporting’s influence at national team level: ‘As a Portuguese, I am really happy for the entire squad. As the president of Sporting Clube de Portugal, although I look at the national team as a whole, I have to mention that the Under-21 team reached the final with a team of 11 players that had eight from Sporting.
‘On the July 11, we had 10 players in the senior squad, which means we have contributed a total of 18 players. There is no comparison to that.’
The academy was opened in 2002 and was the first of its size and quality to be built in Portugal.
It is the perfect environment for footballers to develop in and boasts an incredible level of privacy to ensure the players are fully focused on the task at hand.
There are seven training pitches in the facility, three of which are artificial, while there is also a residential stay facility for players who come from far afield.
The facility in Alcochete only opened 14 years ago but Sporting’s legacy goes further back. They are the only club to train two recipients of the FIFA World Player of the Year award – Ronaldo and Figo.
- Cristiano Ronaldo began his career with Sporting Lisbon before moving
- Nani and Ronaldo’s replacement Ricardo Quaresma also started there
- The defence had two Southampton players who were Sporting graduates
- Club president Bruno de Carvalho expressed his delight at the success
THE FULL LIST OF 10 SPORTING GRADUATES USED IN THE FINAL
- Cristiano Ronaldo
- Ricardo Quaresma
- Joao Moutinho
- Jose Fonte
- Cedric Soares
- Rui Patricio
- William Carvalho
- Joao Mario
- Adrien Silva
Source : Daily Mail