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Player Profile: Pedro Mendes  

  

Pedro MendesFull name: Pedro Miguel da Silva Mendes

Position: Midfielder

Date of Birth: 26 February 1979

Birthplace: Guimaraes, Portugal

 

Pedro Mendes may have won the Superliga and the Champions League in his solitary season at Porto, but it was perhaps far from his homeland that he was most appreciated. That Mendes proved to be such a hit in England and Scotland is perhaps unsurprising. He blends the much-valued attributes of a box-to-box midfielder with an elegant, cultured and quintessentially Portuguese passing ability.

After being loaned to regional side Felgueiras as a teenager, Mendes started life in the top flight with his local team Vitoria Guimaraes, making 82 appearances for the club, scoring 7 goals. During this time he made his international debut for Portugal, playing in the 2-0 friendly win over Scotland in Braga in November 2002.

Mendes joined Porto in the thick of the Mourinho boom period. The club had just won the league/cup/UEFA Cup treble, and were about to move into the brand new, state-of-the-art Dragao stadium. Competition for places in the Porto midfield had rarely been stiffer, and Mendes would have to do battle with the likes of Deco, Maniche and Alenitchev for a starting berth.

Champions League glory

Nonetheless, he became a regular, playing most domestic and Champions League games, often beside Maniche in a midfield diamond, with Costinha behind and Deco in front. Jose Mourinho chose this as his starting midfield in the Champions League final against Monaco, and it worked a treat as the hitherto free-scoring Principality side drew a blank against the Portuguese champions. Mendes played his part and claimed the most coveted trophy in club football at the tender age of 25.

He was then part of the post-final exodus from the Dragao, along with the likes of Deco and Ricardo Carvalho, upping sticks for Tottenham Hotspur. It seemed as if the player would be perfectly suited to Spurs, being a gifted passer in keeping with their best traditions.

But after a good start for Mendes, coach Jacques Santini left only 17 games in, and new manager Martin Jol was reticent to pick the Champions League winner. Having spent a long spell out of the team, Mendes eventually left in January 2006 for Portsmouth.

Mendes the saviour

Harry Redknapp’s side looked dispirited, disjointed and doomed to relegation, but Mendes’ brace against Manchester City in March – including a 25-yarder to win the game in the final minute – started an improbable revival. He scored another cracker against West Ham the week after and nine unbeaten games later, Portsmouth were safe.

At the start of the 2006/07 season Mendes was infamously knocked unconscious by Ben Thatcher during September’s visit to Manchester City. The Portuguese won many new admirers with the way he handled himself in the aftermath of the incident, and upon recovering Mendes rapidly resumed his role as a major driving force in Pompey’s midfield.

Rangers hero & international recognition

At the start of the 2008/09 season many were surprised as Mendes moved out of the Premiership and headed north to Scottish giants Glasgow Rangers. It turned out to be a great move for both player and club as Pedro Mendes enjoyed arguably his finest season since his glorious year at Porto, playing a key role as Rangers won the League and Cup double.

Such was the impact of the Portuguese midfielder that Mendes was shortlisted for Player of the Year in Scotland and even earned a surprise recall into Carlos Queiroz's Portugal squad.

Things got even better for Mendes at the beginning of next season. He was not only drafted into the squad for Portugal's vital final World Cup qualifiers, but enjoyed plenty of time on the pitch and played a starring role as the midfield anchorman.

With Rangers running into serious financial trouble, and the 30-year-old keen on grabbing his final chance to play in a World Cup, the Scottish club agreed to sell Mendes to Sporting in the January 2010 transfer window. A string of strong displays for the Lisbon giants duly booked Mendes’ place on the plane for South Africa as the cultured midfield skills of one of Portugal’s most consistent performers over the last decade finally got the international recognition it deserved.
 

by Andy Brassell & Tom Kundert (last updated 30/05/2010)
 

Club Appearances* Goals
Vitoria Guimaraes 82 7
Felgueiras (loan) 31 2
FC Porto 26 0
Tottenham Hotspur 30 1
Portsmouth 58 5
Glasgow Rangers 35 3
Sporting** 11 0
     
 PORTUGAL 6 0

* League appearances only

** Up to May 2010

 

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