Featured - José Moreira, the loyal Goalkeeper
Planet Benfica brings you a special player article on long servant goalkeeper, José Moreira.
Top class professional, humble, and a grande Benfiquista. Those are the three descriptions that best describe twelve year goalkeeping servant, José Filipe da Silva Moreira (Born 20 March 1982 in Massarelos, Portugal).
In a country where a good, consistent, solid goalkeeper is hard to find since the days of legendary Vítor Baía, José Moreira was tipped by many to become the next Portuguese goalkeeping star after numerous impressive displays in goal with Benfica from 2001 to 2005. Unfortunately after undergoing surgery in late 2005, he was unable to find his old form and grab back his place in goal. However, he still remained a fan favourite due to his class, professional attitude and dying gratitude towards the club. He has played nearly 150 times for Benfica and represented the Portuguese National Team from the Under-17 to senior side. His only senior cap came against Liechtenstein in August 2009.
Before following his father's advice to play as a goalkeeper, Moreira's preferred position was an attacking midfielder. He started his youth career in Sport Comércio e Salgueiros in 1992 and five years later he was already catching the eye of Portugal's biggest clubs. Benfica won the race to sign the promising goalkeeper, but decided it was better off to leave the young goalkeeper in Salgueiros for a couple of more years where he could continue to grow. However, he only stayed in Salgueiros for two years after then coach, Jupp Heynckes faced a goalkeeping crisis after two of his three goalkeepers suffered an injury. From the first half of the 1999/00 season, Moreira served as Benfica's number two behind Robert Enke until then goalkeepers, Nuno Santos and Carlos Bossio became fit again. He never made an appearance that season and was sent to the Benfica B side once Santos and Bossio came back from their respective injuries. After paying his dues in the Benfica B side, he was able to force his way onto the 2001/02 squad and during that time he finally made his first Benfica appearance on November 3rd, 2001 against V.Guimaraes replacing the injured Enke after twenty-four minutes of play. He was able to preserve the clean sheet, but wouldn't make another appearance in goal until the last nine match days of the Portuguese League.
After Robert Enke joined Barcelona in the summer of 2002, twenty-year-old José Moreira was named Benfica's starting goalkeeper for the 2002/03 season. He made thirty-one appearances in all competitions, but Benfica failed to win any titles. However things would be different the following season for Moreira as he was able to gain his first European game experience, finish the season by defeating FC Porto 2-1 to lift the Portuguese Cup, and most specially make the final twenty-three man squad to represent Portugal in Euro 2004. He faced stiff competition during the 2004/05 season after Benfica signed goalkeeper, Quim from Sporting Clube Braga. He would lose his place in goal mid season after then coach Giovanni Trapattoni dropped him in favor for Quim. He was however able to win his first Portuguese League title. The next season new head coach, Roland Koeman named Moreira Benfica's number one again, but had to undergo knee surgery in October causing him to miss the rest of the season. He became fully recovered the following season, but fell behind then coach, Fernando Santos's goalkeeping pecking order. He did make one appearance though replacing an injured Morreto during a Portuguese League match. The following season, he looked set to become Benfica's number one again, but suffered another knee injury in pre-season training to miss most of the 2007/08 season. During the 2008/09 season, Moreira was in and out of goal along with Quim and Moretto after then coach Quique Flores couldn't decide who was his main starting goalkeeper.
The next two and last seasons for Moreira at Benfica under new head coach, Jorge Jesus was a very tough one for the player as he remained third choice and was mostly used for cup games. However, he remained positive and totally professional about the matter and did his job when called upon. This was truly shown when Jesus named him the starting goalkeeper for the 2010/11 League Cup Final against Paços de Ferreira in which he delivered a Man of the Match performance, saving a penalty and made other impressive stops to help Benfica win 2-1 and lift their third straight League Cup Final. His last official game for Benfica was on May 8th, 2011 in a 2-1 win against Rio Ave. Knowing very well he would remain third choice again for the 2011/12 season, Moreira decided it was best to embark on a new adventure and in an somewhat way fans were shocked that their long servant goalkeeper struck a deal with newly promoted English Premier League side, Swansea City. Moreira left the club with a brief message saying the fans will understand his move and that he would always remain a diehard Benfiquista and he waits for the day to come back to the club as a player or staff member.
Moreira has represented Portugal's Under-17 to Senior side. He started gaining International recognition when he took part in Portugal's winning 1999 UEFA European Under-18 Championship team. In the summer of 2004, he enjoyed a hectic summer with the Portuguese Under-21, Senior, and Olympic sides. He first participated with the U-21 squad for the Under 21 Championship in Germany in which he played every game before being knocked out in the semi-final stage by Italy. After that then senior head coach, Luiz Felipe Scolari, called him up as one of three goalkeepers to represent Portugal in the European Championship, but he didn't make any appearances. He ended the summer by taking part in the Olympics in Athens, Greece, but he, as the rest of the squad failed to make an impact and finish last in their group. Nearly five years without representing Portugal at any level, he finally earned his first International senior cap after coming on August 12, 2009 as a substitute in a 3-0 win over Liechtenstein.
Text compiled by Benfiquista
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