Player Profile: Miguel PDF Print E-mail

MiguelFull name: Luis Miguel Brito Garcia Monteiro

Position: Defender

Date of Birth: 4 January 1980

Birthplace: Lisbon, Portugal


Whatever Chelsea’s Portugal right-back Paulo Ferreira did in a previous life, I bet he regrets it now. First he is usurped from the national team by a younger, slicker model, and then the grapevine starts twitching to the effect that the very same player is being tracked by Jose Mourinho to replace Ferreira at club level.

Fortunately for the ex-Porto defender, Luis Miguel Brito Garcia Monteiro – Miguel to you and me – is very happy at Valencia at the moment, despite covetous glances also being shot his way from elsewhere too, notably from Fabio Capello at Valencia’s rivals Real Madrid.

Impressive Euro 2004 showing

It is not hard to understand the fuss. Starting Euro 2004 as a reserve, Miguel replaced Paulo Ferreira after the host nation’s opening game defeat to Greece. He was such a roaring success that he kept his place for the remaining games as Portugal steamed to the final, and hasn’t looked back since.

Miguel’s assured performances during that summer in Portugal attracted suitors from all over the continent, including then-Newcastle manager Sir Bobby Robson, a man who knows a bit about Portuguese football. Unfortunately for Miguel, these displays meant that his value shot through the roof, with his club Benfica demanding up to €12 million for his release.

His protracted exit degenerated into a messy squabble from there on in. He eventually joined Valencia in August 2005 for an estimated €8 million, but the fall-out from the transfer was only finally sorted out a few days before Christmas 2006.

Stunning debut

Not that the worry has exactly weighed Miguel down in the meantime. He has been outstanding in La Liga and beyond. He made an immediate impression at the Mestalla, scoring with a sumptuous volley on his debut against Deportivo La Coruna, and though this remains his only league goal for the club thus far, his pacey and intelligent forward runs have become an important part of Valencia’s attacking threat.

This is no surprise; Miguel actually started out as a right winger at Estrela da Amadora before being converted to a full-back at Benfica, who he joined in 2000.

Defensive solidity

What is impressive is his success in improving the defensive side of his game. He was a key part of the Valencia defence that helped Santiago Canizares pick up the Zamora title (for least goals conceded in La Liga) yet again, and he was outstanding in this summer’s World Cup, when Portugal conceded just once in open play before the third place play-off, which he missed through injury.

For now, he is playing a key role in Valencia’s quest to regain the Spanish title and to progress in the Champions League. But if Mr Abramovich starts to feel a burning in his pocket again….well, Paulo Ferreira, you have been warned.

by Andy Brassell (10/02/2007)

Club Appearances* Goals
Estrela da Amadora 32 0
Benfica 131 12
Valencia** 114 2
 PORTUGAL** 50 1

* League appearances only

** Up to May 2009

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