Player Profile: Petit PDF Print E-mail

PetitFull name: Armando Goncalves Teixeira

Position: Midfielder

Date of Birth: 25 September 1976

Birthplace: Strasbourg, France


Armando Goncalves Teixeira, more commonly known simply as Petit, has been one of Portugal’s most tenacious defensive midfielders over the past decade.

Petit has none of the flashy skills of some of Portugal’s most well-known players, but while he is no Figo or Ronaldo, Petit has built a solid reputation as an honest and dependable footballer who has played a key role at Boavista, Benfica and the national side whenever called upon.

The combative, no-nonsense, gritty determination that he brings to his teams are attributes he will always be remembered for. The player was given the nickname as he was born in France and is short in stature for a central midfielder. He started his career in 1999 with Gil Vicente, where he made 30 appearances and scored 4 goals, and Boavista snapped him up after an impressive debut season.

Historic championship triumph

And it was at Porto’s city rivals that Petit’s career shot upwards. In his first season with the Black Panthers, Petit and his fellow team-mates shocked the Portuguese football world by bringing Boavista its first ever national championship in 2001. It was the first time in Portugal a club outside the big three had won the league for over 50 years.

With a title in hand and direct entry into the Champions League, Boavista were being dubbed as the fourth biggest club in Portugal, behind Benfica, FC Porto and Sporting. The club did not fare at all badly as the tournament’s debutants, managing to make it out of the first group phase.

Petit was a major driving force throughout this golden period for Boavista, pushing the club into unchartered waters with his never-say-die attitude in the engine room. After making 51 appearances and netting 7 goals for Boavista, in 2002 Petit opted to make a move to his boyhood team, Benfica.

Benfica resurgence

Petit’s first two years with the Lisbon giants were not hugely successful, but the club did manage to win a Portuguese Cup in 2004 against hated rivals FC Porto. The following year would be a memorable season as Petit helped push Benfica to the club’s first Portuguese Championship triumph in 11 years.

Benfica went on to compete in the Champions League and managed to make it to the quarter-finals where the lost to eventual champions, Barcelona, after knocking out English giants Manchester United and Liverpool. Petit had helped Benfica regain the mystique that had not been at the club for many a year. He has grown into a huge crowd favourite, with his humility making him a player the fans can easily identify with.

It therefore came as a shock when new Spanish coach Quique Flores summarily ousted the player shortly after arriving at the Estadio da Luz. In July 2008 Petit signed for newly promoted Bundesliga outfit Cologne, where he enjoyed a positive debut season, helping the club establish themselves in the German top flight.

International career petit-national

Petit’s championship winning year with Boavista earned him his first call-up to the national team where he played in a 1-1 draw against Ireland in Dublin.

The midfielder was a member of the Portugal national squad that went to the World Cup in 2002, reached the final of Euro 2004 and a managed a fourth-place finish at World Cup 2006 in Germany. He brought his international career to a close at the end of Euro 2008 with a total of 57 caps to his name and 4 goals scored.

by Marco Pereira (13/06/2009)

Gil Vicente304

* League appearances only

** Up to May 2009

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