Football is the number 1 sport in Portugal!

Football began to gain popularity in Portugal in the late nineteenth century, brought by Portuguese students returning from England.

The first match organized in the country took place in 1875 in Camacha, Madeira, organized by Harry Hinton, a student in England born in Madeira, who brought a soccer ball. The sport quickly became popular across the island. Harry was then appointed Honorary President of CS Marítimo


The first national match, between Lisbon and Porto, took place in 1894, in the presence of King Carlos.

Clube Internacional de Futebol (founded in 1902) was the first Portuguese club to play abroad, beating Madrid Fútbol Clube in 1907 in Madrid.

On March 31, 1914, the three regional associations that existed in Portugal (Lisbon, Portalegre and Porto) merged to create a national association called União Portuguesa de Futebol, the predecessor of the current national association, the Portuguese Football Federation, which was created on May 28, 1926.

Initially, football was played between neighboring clubs, but soon regional and regional tournaments began to be held throughout the country. Shortly after the beginning of the twentieth century, in order to determine the best club in Portugal, a Portuguese championship with a single knockout stage (the Campeonato de Portugal) was created. The clubs of Lisbon and Porto are mainly on the list of winners of this event which will become the Portuguese Football Cup.

Portugal's first national league, the Primeira Liga was founded in 1934. The first champion of Portugal was FC Porto.

Portuguese enthusiasm for football also spread well in its colonies. Players like Fernando Peyroteo, Matateu, Hilário, Costa Pereira, Mário Coluna, Eusébio have been great players in the National Championship and the selection. Used by Salazarist propaganda from the 1960s, football then appeared as a national unity and gave legitimacy to the government's action.

The successes of the great Benfica Lisbon team of the 1960s, double winners of the Champion Club Cup, with only national players from all over the empire; sporting Portugal winner of the 1964 Cup and the third national team at the 1966 World Cup have definitively secured football its place as Portugal's leading sport. Used by the propaganda of the Estado Novo regime, football is part of the trinity of the three F's (Fátima, Fado and Football) and partly allows the Salazarist government to establish its popularity.

After a great improvement (fc porto's final in the 1984 Cup Cup and semi-final in Euro 1984), Portuguese football was marked by other more harmful turning points. In 1986, for its first World Cup after the epic of the time of Eusébio), the national team refused to train and went on strike, the Saltillo affair named after the Mexican city of the Portuguese base for training marked the spirits.

The following year in 1987, FC Porto won the 1987 Champions Clubs' Cup against Bayern Munich. The gesture made by Rabah Madjer during the final, which consists in deceiving the opposing goalkeeper with a heel, then goes down in history.

After a revival with other two European finals played by Benfica Lisbon in 1988 and 1990, Portuguese football is deeply marked by the Bosman judgment. For financial reasons, clubs are encouraged to let go of their best talents and the Portuguese championship is relegated to the background against countries better financially endowed.

It was in the late 1990s and early 2000s that the Portuguese team successfully returned to the final stages of international competitions. His golden generation led by players like Luis Figo Ballon d'Or 2000 and Rui Costa was first quarter finalist of Euro 1996 and then semi-finalist of Euro 2000.

The year 2004 is important in the history of Portuguese football. In January 2004, Benfica player Miklós Fehér died of a heart attack during a league match against Vitória Guimarães. In another tone, a corruption scandal broke out at the end of the championship: the golden whistle affair involved many clubs including FC Porto accused of having paid referees. Even involved, Jose Mourinho's FC Porto won the 2003-2004 Champions League.

In the spotlight, Portugal organizes for the first time an international football event with Euro 2004. Many stadiums are still the result of the major construction phase to host the competition. After a disappointing run in the 2002 World Cup, the national team showed great performance by eliminating reputable teams, but failed in the final against a surprising Greek team. They confirmed at the 2006 World Cup by reaching the semi-finals that they had become a feared selection at world level. Cristiano Ronaldo future multiple ballon d'or and central character in the history of the selection, imposes himself at the highest level from his departure to Manchester United in 2003 and is consecrated ballon d'or in 2008.

Marked by the Bosman judgment, Portuguese club football must reinvent itself. Third-party ownership mechanisms coupled with significant scouting work, particularly in South America, make it possible to build highly competitive teams. Financed by buy-sell, Portuguese clubs quickly became suppliers to major European clubs. Ever-increasing transfer fees benefit players' agents like Jorge Mendes. In 2011, during the Europa League, three Portuguese teams (FC Porto, Benfica Lisbon and Sporting Braga) reached the semi-finals. The first all-Portuguese final in the history of European competitions saw FC Porto defeat Sporting Braga 1-0. In the same competition in 2013 and 2014, Benfica Lisbon reached the final twice consecutively without succeeding in winning.

In 2015, the practice of third-party ownership was banned by UEFA and encouraged Portuguese clubs to adapt. If Sporting Portugal was considered since the early 2000s as the main Portuguese training club, both FC Porto and Benfica Lisbon have very reputable training centers. Their results in the UEFA Youth League (one win for Porto, two finals for Benfica) illustrate the new strategies adopted by the clubs.





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