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Player Profile: Jorge Ribeiro  


Jorge RibeiroFull name: Jorge Miguel de Oliveira Ribeiro

Position: Defender/Midfielder

Date of Birth: 9 November 1981

Birthplace: Lisbon, Portugal


It is never easy living in the shadows of a brother who has built a worldwide standing in the game. However, while the star of Portugal international Maniche has seen better days, the roller-coaster career of Jorge Ribeiro, his younger brother, is very much on an upwards curve.

At 26 years of age Ribeiro junior has already represented more than a half dozen clubs. His gift for the game was recognised early and, just like his brother, he was groomed at the youth academies of Portuguese giants Benfica.

The player made his full professional debut in 1999, but it was a short-lived moment of glory as the defender spent the next three years yo-yoing from the club’s B team, Division III side Santa Clara and the Benfica first team. The full-back played a total of 55 games with all three clubs, scoring 7 goals.

Now 20 years old, the constant hopping from team to team got to the player and some disparaging comments made about his treatment at the club saw him shipped off to Varzim, where he spent the next two seasons on loan, making 53 appearances and scoring two goals. One of those goals came against his parent club, Benfica, and television images showed the player issuing less than flattering words towards the Benfica bench as he celebrated the goal.

Russian adventure

The following season, Ribeiro was out on loan again, this time to Gil Vicente, and in 2005 the combative defender earned what appeared to be his big break. Portuguese players were being purchased ten to a penny by Russian club, Dynamo Moscow, and Ribeiro reunited with his brother Maniche among a host of other compatriots in the country’s capital.

The two brothers had not played together since their time at Benfica, but their reunion would be short-lived. Maniche left after half a season and Jorge spent just one full campaign before going on loan to Spanish second division side Malaga, as the wheels came off Dynamo’s Portuguese experiment.

The second half of that same season saw Jorge Ribeiro make another loan move, this time back to Portugal with Desportivo das Aves. However, this time Ribeiro made a clean break from Benfica, looking for stability before his career headed into complete obscurity.

Aves rejuvenation

And something happened to Jorge Ribeiro in those five months with Aves. The defender showed renewed vigour in his game. He tempered his fiery attitude on the pitch, while keeping his competitive edge, and further perfected his trade-mark rocket of a shot with his left foot. Such was his improved awareness and passing that Ribeiro spent most of his time at Aves playing in midfield instead of his customary left-back role.

After the highly positive experience with Aves, Jorge Ribeiro asked to be released from his contract with the Russians and his wish was granted. Now a free agent, he signed for Boavista, and went on to enjoy without doubt his most impressive season. For the Black Panthers Ribeiro made 26 appearances and scored a season career high of 8 goals (becoming a free-kick specialist in the process), freely interchanging between left-back and a midfield role. Ribeiro had finally come into his own.

Portugal and Benfica reward

Such was the player’s impact at Boavista that he duly completed a move back to none other than Benfica in the close season. To top off an upturn in his fortunes, Ribeiro then received recognition for his superb campaign by earning a recall into the Portugal squad for Euro 2008 – a squad that ironically made headlines in Portugal owing the omission of one player: Ribeiro’s brother, Maniche.

by Marco Pereira (14/06/2009)

Santa Clara30
Gil Vicente140
Dynamo Moscow274
 Desportivo das Aves14 

* League appearances only

** Up to May 2009

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