Player Profile: Maniche PDF Print E-mail

ManicheFull name: Nuno Ricardo Oliveira Ribeiro

Position: Midfielder

Date of Birth: 11 November 1977

Birthplace: Lisbon, Portugal


Nuno Ricardo Oliveira Ribeiro was given the nickname ‘Maniche’ when he was a youth player at the Benfica academy, in reference to popular Danish forward Michael Manniche, who played for the club during the 1980s. His first taste of professional football came with Alverca in 1996, and he spent three years on loan with the club, often playing as a winger, to gain experience.

He returned to Lisbon in 1999, and was with Benfica during Jose Mourinho’s brief spell in charge at the club. Although the pair had an early run-in, which resulted in Maniche being given a brief suspension, Mourinho began to entice the best out of the young midfielder, and made him captain shortly before his reign at the Estadio da Luz came to an end.

A year later Maniche’s indiscipline had got him into trouble again and he was languishing in Benfica’s reserves. Mourinho took charge of Porto in 2002, and made Maniche one of his first signings, bringing the 24-year-old to the north of Portugal in the hope of bringing an end to a three-year spell without a league title.

Golden two-year spell

Playing in midfield alongside Costinha and Deco, Maniche enjoyed an incredible two years under Mourinho at Porto, winning two Portuguese titles, a Portuguese Cup, the UEFA Cup and, most significantly, the Champions League in 2004 as Porto defeated Monaco in the final to lift the trophy for the second time in their history.

Maniche was widely considered to be one of Porto’s most important players, possibly second only to Deco, during this highly successful period. His high energy levels, excellent passing and consistent contribution of crucial goals saw him elevated to one of the most coveted midfield players in Europe, and he become a mainstay in the Portuguese national team.

Euro 2004 heroics

Fresh from becoming a European champion, Maniche came close to making it a perfect year when he was a major part of the Portugal side that were losing finalists to Greece at Euro 2004 on home soil. Again playing with his colleagues Costinha and Deco in midfield, Maniche scored twice at the tournament, including a magnificent long-range effort in the semi-final against Holland, and was rated by many as the player of the tournament.

Mourinho left Porto in 2004, and the team was dismantled, although Maniche remained at the Estadio do Dragao for a further season before making a surprise move to Russian outfit Dynamo Moscow. He failed to settle during an unhappy spell in Russia, and was briefly reunited with Mourinho at Chelsea in 2005 on a short-term loan deal.

After his time at Stamford Bridge came to an end, Maniche was very much in demand among clubs across the continent. He ultimately chose to follow former team-mate Costinha to Spain and Atletico Madrid, and quickly established himself as a first-choice at the Vicente Calderon, but disciplinary problems led to a loan move to Inter in 2008.

Maniche's stay in Italy was also short-lived, and although he enjoyed a brief resurgence at Atletico early in the 2008/09 campaign, further problems with the club's hierarchy resulted in Maniche not being offered a new deal in the Spanish capital. As a result, Maniche, now 31, was again on the move in 2009, this time signing a two-year contract with German outfit Cologne.

International Career

Arguably Maniche’s most dependable form has been in a Portugal shirt. Having been given his debut in 2003, he has developed into one of his country’s key players both in qualification and particularly in major tournaments. A hugely impressive performance at Euro 2004 was followed by another fine showing at the World Cup 2006, where he scored two goals in Portugal’s run to the semis in Germany.

by Sean Gillen (10/07/2009)

Club Appearances* Goals
Alverca 78 10
Benfica 54 11
FC Porto 80 16
Dynamo Moscow 12  2
Chelsea (loan) 8  0
Inter Milan (loan) 8  1
Atletico Madrid 64  7
FC Cologne** 4  0
 PORTUGAL** 49 7

* League appearances only

** Up to 24 September 2009

Comments (1)
1 Monday, 17 May 2010 11:04
Maniche quit Cologne after 1 Year. His contract was cancelled on Sunday to return to Portugal as the Club reports. He played 26 matches in the Bundesliga and 4 in the Cup, scoring 3 Goals.

It was his own wish to return after some strokes of fate and his Family did not get happy in Cologne.

Newspapers report his new Club will be Sporting Lisbon.

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