Name: Paulo Jorge dos Santos FUTRE
Born: February 28th 1966, Montijo, Portugal
Height: 1,75 m 5ft 9in
Position: Left Winger
Powerful dribble and pace; amazing left foot ball technique and shooting accuracy;
1987 – European Champions Cup (FC Porto)
1985 and 1986 – Portugal League Winner (FC Porto)
1991 and 1992 – Spain Cup Winner (Atl. Madrid)
1993 – Portugal Cup Winner (SL Benfica)
Paulo Futre was a very gifted player, a force of nature, his ability combined with his charismatic personality made him one of the best wingers of the world for almost a decade in the eighties and early nineties.
He was part of Sporting first team, at only 17, coming from their youth ranks, but after a good first season with them, he didn´t reach an agreement with Sporting board and moved to FC Porto where he would become a big star.
In his first season with FC Porto he did immediately a big impact, and was a nuclear player as the team won the League, providing lost of assists to Fernando Gomes, who was the top Europe goal scorer that season with 39 goals. For the next season another league title, improving his influence within the team and showing Sporting that was a big mistake to sell him to FC Porto. And the best was yet to come.
The best achievement of Futre career came in 1986/87 as he led the team to a fantastic European Champions Cup win. He was decisive along the way to the final scoring against Vitkovice and Dynamo Kiev and providing lots of assists. In the final game against Bayern Munich his performance was outstanding, despite not scoring or providing assists his amazing runs with deadly dribbles had become unforgettable and all the world could finally see that a big talent was there.
And some big European teams saw that and wanted to buy Futre. The lucky team that signed him was Atlético Madrid and he played there between 1987 and 1992 always with all his soul and conquering a place in the heart of the supporters like only genial players can do. Two Copas del Rey were the trophies that he helped to lift, one of them against the archrivals Real Madrid, in their own stadium with a Futre goal in the final, for a 2-0 win. Maybe his best memory there was that game, but during that five and a half seasons, there were so many brilliant plays from him, with the pace and dribble that was so typical, that all the Atletico Madrid supporters are forever grateful to him, for so many good moments.
Then, he signed for Benfica in 1993, but only for 6 months. A brilliant performance with two goals in the Cup Final against Boavista, was the best contribution from him, but due to financial problems the club had to sell him to Marseille. Unfortunately, after this transfer Futre started his decline with so many injuries that his final years were like a nightmare.
I think that for the extraordinary player he was, he should have won much more trophies. He did his part and he must feel with his mind very clear about that, but playing probably his best years with a team like Atletico Madrid that was not strong enough to win a league (Barcelona and Real Madrid were dominant at the time) or a European competition, not helped him. His FC Porto years were good in terms of trophies and he was European Champion, but he left them with 21 years, so it was predictable that he would win more major trophies during his career. It didn´t happen and it´s unfair to him. Other frustration is that despite the fact that he played 1986 World Cup, it´s an emptiness feeling to be aware that he never showed his real talent in a major tournament, Portugal national team was living a decadent period and Futre was not enough to qualify the team to Euro 88 and 92 and to the 1990 and 1994 World Cup.
My first memory from Futre is very curious as I remember my mother asking me if I had the sticker of Sporting´s new young talent. I was just 4 years old and I didn´t have a clue about who she was talking about. But later I would have his sticker and know him very well. I lived near Porto between 1984 and 1986, so I remember living the FC Porto rising and Futre was one of the most popular players. The Bayern Munich final was my best living memory from the FC Porto year and I remember seeing the game on TV and Futre beautiful dribbles and runs that with Madjer´s back heel goal were the masterpieces of the day.
Of course, I have memories also from the Atletico Madrid seasons and I remember thinking that he would win a league there, but Portugal National Team memories are the strongest ones I have from Futre. A goal against Greece back in 1990 was a favorite of mine and the amazing kick from outside the area against Estonia in 1993, in the early minutes of a game that Portugal should won by a four goals difference to qualify with a draw against Italy a few days later, is unforgettable. I remember thinking that he would be in the Euro 1996 final squad, as Portugal qualified, but it was too late and his injuries were stronger than him. Benfica vs Boavista 1993 cup final is an example of Futre power when he was in top shape. He could run the show and inspire a team to a high level performance and he helped the team to win 5-2, scoring two goals.
I can say that Futre was the first great football player from my country that I saw to start and end a career, so he is a number one for me and for a generation that started to love football in the middle 80s.
“On FC Porto I learned how many times per week I could make love”
Atlético de Madrid
Olympique de Marselha
Atlético de Madrid