Ten years later, the Brazilian’s goal is still remembered by Alviverde fans and carioca was present in the first game of the match.
Almost eliminated from the knockout stages of the Champions League, after losing 5-0 to Manchester City in the first leg, Sporting experienced a completely different scenario ten years ago. In the 2011-12 season, the Portuguese club eliminated the billionaire English team in the last 16 of the Europa League with a fine backheel from Brazilian defender Xandão, a former Sao Paulo player.
Considered the big favourites, Roberto Mancini’s City lead the Premier League and have a star-studded team with names like Kompany, Yaya Touré, David Silva, Nasri, Balotelli, Agüero, Dzeko and others.
On the other hand, the Alviverde team was in fourth place in the Portuguese Championship and put Ricardo Sá Pinto, the youth coach at the time, as the first team commander.
In addition, City had previously silenced Porto, who was leading the Portuguese league. A scenario that caused a certain arrogance on the part of the English team players.
“In some interviews they said things that Sá Pinto used to evoke our pride. I remember Dzeko saying that he didn’t know the Sporting players. They came with pride, that he played against them,” he said.
I was very disappointed and I thought that mistake could take me out of the most important game of my life and I cried afterwards at home with my wife”.
It motivates me a lot and I’m just focused this week on playing the best game of my career. I want to return the trust I received,” he recalled.
And Xandão did not disappoint. He shone in José Alvalade and helped Sporting keep a clean sheet. Moreover, six minutes into the second half, he proved himself by capitalizing on goalkeeper Joe Hart’s rebound after a shot by Matías Fernández.
“It was the most important goal of my career, not only because of its beauty, but because of the overall context. I positioned myself to take the rebound from the free-kick because City scored in that zone. It was a very fast game and Hart blocked my shot. the ball, I had my back to the goal and I didn’t have much choice. A million things happen in a thousandth of a second, but I tried the backheel and I’m very happy.”
“I couldn’t believe the celebration, I heard the explosion from the public and it was a great emotion. In a week I went from hell to heaven! We celebrated a lot later in the dressing room and I was so happy,” he said. said.
In the next match, in Manchester, the Portuguese were 2-0 up on the scoreboard, but City went back to being 3-2, however, Sporting qualified on away goals. Back in Lisbon, the team was received by thousands of fans in the evening.
“We relaxed a bit and I thought we were going to be out. We are under a lot of pressure. Rui Patrício worked wonders in Joe Hart’s header and he was our hero. In Portugal it was a good party, it was a green river around our bus”, he admitted.
A few months later, Manchester City won the Premier League with a goal from Agüero, breaking a 44-year drought without an English title. Sporting eliminated Ukrainian Metalist before falling to Athletic Bilbao in the Europa League semifinals.
Ten years later, the Brazilian’s goal is still remembered by Alviverde fans and carioca was present in the first game.
I gave a lot of interviews and it was sensational, it’s a shame Sporting lost,” he lamented.
Xandão started his football career as a striker before turning to defense and trying big clubs like Grêmio and São Paulo and Corinthians until he was approved at Guaraní, where he turned professional. He then passed Athletico-PR, Fluminense, São Paulo (2010 to 2012) and Grêmio Barueri.
In Europe he represented Sporting, Kuban Krasnodar-RUS, Anzhi-RUS, Gijón-ESP and Cercle Brugge-BEL. He then played for Red Bull Brasil, Guaraní and Persija Jakarta, his last club in 2019.
In early 2020, he returned to Brazil to undergo treatment for his wife in order to have children.
and it didn’t work. We got a fertility specialist and the pregnancy was a high risk, almost miscarriage.”
She also has apnea
a and could have died, but everything turned out fine. For all that, we gave her the name Vitória,” he said.
Xandão turned down applications from various clubs at the time and stayed all year to take care of his family. In addition, the pandemic arrived, which made the defender put the sport in the background.
My mind is no longer 100% focused on football and I would rather stop. I always prepare myself for life. after football and I made my investment. Besides, I have been helping my team-mates in this since at São Paulo. Now I’m studying to get a license to officially provide financial advice to players because our careers are so short,” he concluded.