Player Profile: Miguelito PDF Print E-mail

MiguelitoFull name: Jose Miguel O de Simoes Aguiar

Position: Defender

Date of Birth: 4 February 1981

Birthplace: Povoa de Varzim, Portugal


Jose Miguel O de Simoes Aguiar, thankfully better known to the football fraternity simply as Miguelito, is a softly-spoken left-back for Benfica who is so quiet one tends to forget he is actually there.

But don’t let that fool you as he is as tough as they come on the pitch. The Portuguese left back’s name is derived from his childhood as friends gave him the nickname due to his small stature; today he measures 1.74 meters.

He began his professional career at 18 years of age at Rio Ave, after coming through the club’s youth ranks. The player stayed with the club for three seasons, making 78 appearances. The diminutive defender was starting to build a reputation for himself as an intelligent full-back who quickly transformed defence into attack.

Miguelito’s lightning runs down the left flank caught the attention of fellow Portuguese club, Nacional da Madeira, who added the player to their squad as they made a strong challenge for European places.

The defender soon developed an identity with Nacional and repaid the club’s faith in him by replicating his characteristic stinging attacks, while not shirking his defensive responsibilities. He helped the club earn a Uefa Cup spot in 2006 as Nacional finished fifth in the standings.

Dream move

Miguelito made 43 appearances for Nacional before he secured a dream move to Benfica, signing a four-year deal in August 2006. His debut season with Benfica was nowhere near as dazzling as his spells with Rio Ave and Nacional.

The player only made two appearances as he had to play second fiddle to team-mate, Leo, the whole season. Yet Miguelito showed the utmost professionalism whenever asked about his situation, always providing a diplomatic response.

He realised he would not obtain much playing time as the dependable Leo – possibly the best left-back playing in Portugal – put in endless faultless performances. However, with the ageing Brazilian rumoured to be contemplating a return to his homeland, Miguelito may be about to finally get the chance to make a name for himself.

Times of uncertainty

Unfortunately, that did not occur the following season as Miguelito's prospects were just as bleak. The full-back made only three appearances for Benfica before he was loaned out during the 2007 winter transfer window to Sporting Braga.

Although Miguelito saw a lot more playing time with the Arsenalistas than the combined year and a half with Benfica, Braga opted to not take the player on permanently and shipped him back to the Lisbon outfit. From here, Benfica and Miguelito reached an accord to rescind the player's contract and the fomrer Nacional player joined Madeira rivals Maritimo in the summer of 2008 on a free transfer. 

The move proved benefical for the player as the defender has made a total of 21 appearances for the islanders, to date, and appears to have found a home with Maritimo.

by Marco Pereira (07/03/2009)

Rio Ave782

* League appearances only

** Up to 1 March 2009

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