Player Profile: Nelson PDF Print E-mail

NelsonFull name: Nelson Augusto Tomar Marcos

Position: Defender

Date of Birth: 10 June 1983

Birthplace: Sal, Cape Verde


Born in Cape Verde, Nelson is an exciting talent who in spite of arriving at Benfica as a relative unknown quickly cemented his place in the team and became a big fans’ favourite.

The speedy right-back made his professional debut at 19 and swiftly progressed up the football ladder in Portugal. He played successively for a club of greater dimension in each of his first four seasons that saw him represent Vilanovense, Salgueiros and Boavista before securing a dream move to Benfica.

Nelson made an immediate impact when bought by the Eagles in the summer of 2005, where his thrilling runs and superb crossing have become a feature of the Lisbon club’s attacking strategy. His chief assets are his skilful feet, raw speed and rapid football brain.

Magnificent display

The highlight of his first season was the virtuoso display against Manchester United as Benfica knocked the English giants out of the Champions League. His high-speed artistry created both goals in a famous 2-1 win.

In 2006/07 he has again been impressive, both in domestic competitions and in Europe. He must wish he could face Manchester United every week as he shined again against the Red Devils scoring with a stunning strike at Old Trafford, although Benfica were eventually beaten.

Nelson's career then went into something of a lull, as the defender rarely reproduced the vibrant displays of his initial years at Benfica. In August 2008 he was sold to Spanish outfit Real Betis in a 6m euro deal.

International Career

The defender impressed so much from an early age the Portuguese football authorities moved quickly to encourage him to adopt national citizenship and bring him into the international fold. He was granted Portuguese citizenship in December 2005, and played in the 2006 under-21 European Championships.

Nelson received his first call-up to the senior squad in the Euro 2008 qualifier against Kazakhstan. Having taken over from Miguel as Benfica’s right-back, Nelson looks set to push the Valencia player hard for the same position in the Portugal team over the coming years.

15 January 2007, by Tom Kundert (15/01/2008)

Real Betis**

* League appearances only

** Up to May 2009


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