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Player profile: Hélder Postiga

Full name: Hélder Manuel Marques Postiga

Position: Forward

Date of Birth: 2 August 1982

Birthplace: Vila do Conde, Portugal

Hélder Manuel Marques Postiga, the son of a fisherman, has had a rollercoaster start to his career. After appearing set to fulfil his considerable potential early on, he faded away into football obscurity before regaining his form in spectacular fashion to become the potent striking threat that many have always believed he could be.

Postiga’s potential was spotted at a young age by FC Porto, and at just 18 the striker’s combination of explosive power and exquisite technique earned him his first appearances in FC Porto’s senior squad under the tutelage of Fernando Santos. The following year, under new coach Octavio Machado, Postiga cemented his place in the squad. Postiga’s full season debut proved to be fruitful as the striker bagged 9 goals in 27 appearances.

Dream season

His second year was even more productive. José Mourinho had taken the helm and Postiga scored 13 goals in 31 games, winning every title FC Porto competed in to lift the Portuguese Championship, Portuguese Cup and UEFA Cup.

His prowess around the net earned him a summer transfer to Premiership club Tottenham Hotspur in 2003. However, in England Postiga’s fortunes went into decline. He never adapted to English football and only scored 1 goal in 19 appearances, as his former team-mates at Porto were lifting the Champions League crown.

Postiga was sold back to FC Porto the following summer, but he continued to struggle with form and lack of confidence. In one and a half seasons following his return, Postiga only managed 3 goals in 26 appearances.

With his dip in form FC Porto loaned out Postiga to French outfit, St. Etienne, where he made a reasonably good impression, featuring in 8 games and finding the net three times. Despite an appearance at the World Cup, Postiga found himself in football limbo as Porto’s Dutch coach, Co Adriaanse, had no place for the striker in his squad.

But the shock resignation of Adriaanse and subsequent appointment of experienced coach Jesualdo Ferreira in the summer of 2006 signalled a turnaround in Postiga’s fortunes. Ferreira immediately welcomed Postiga back into the FC Porto fold. At 24 years of age, Postiga’s new lease of life led to the most productive spell of his career. Up until the winter break, Postiga hit a scoring streak that shot him to the top of the Portuguese Liga goal charts, with 9 strikes in 13 appearances, as well as finding the net in the Champions League.


Sporting surprise

The topsy-turvy career of Postiga then took a downturn as he fell out of favour again and one year later he was off on another loan spell, this time in Greece with Panathinaikos, where he failed to ignite his career.


It therefore came as a bolt from the blue when Sporting paid three million euros to take the striker to Alvalade in the summer of 2008. Coach Paulo Bento no doubt believed he was the man who could finally glean the maximum output from a player with undoubted talent but who has frustratingly been unable to harness it consistently.

His performances at the Alvalade were mixed, although always working hard for the team his finishing was frequently below standard. Indeed, Hélder Postiga scored just once in the 2009-2010 season after having played 31 matches. In total for Sporting he scored just 18 times in 3 seasons and at the beginning of the 2011-2012 season he left the club on the last day of the transfer window.

On 31st August 2011 Hélder Postiga made a €1,000,000 move from Sporting to Spanish side Real Zaragoza, joining the large Portuguese contingent at the club. Postiga ended his first season in Spain as Zaragoza's top scorer with 9 goals in 34 games, playing an important role as his side narrowly managed to avoid relegation.

International career

Postiga made his debut for the national team in a friendly against Italy 2003. Portugal lost the game 1-0 though it would the first of many games to come for Postiga.

His most famous goal to date was in the Euro 2004 quarter-final match against England. With the English one goal up and looking a good bet to advance to the semis, Postiga came on as a substitute and pulled Portugal level just before full-time. He then converted his spot-kick in cheeky fashion as the hosts won the penalty shoot out. Postiga was a member of the Portugal squad that finished fourth in the 2006 World Cup

After Euro 2008, in which Postiga featured mostly from the bench, Postiga was frozen out of the Portugal nationla frame for more than two years, during the Carlos Queiroz era. Postiga made his return to the national side in 2010 after Paulo Bento, his former coach at Sporting, had taken over from Queiroz.

He played in the qualifying wins over Denmark and Iceland and has continued to represent his country since then. At 29 the Euro 2012 will probably be Postiga's last European Championships and he will be looking to impress - and it has been for Portugal that Postiga has had some of his best games in his career.

by Marco Pereira, Tom Kundert & Richard Cole (last updated 24/05/2012)


Club Appearances Goals
FC Porto 58 22
Tottenham Hotspur 19 1
FC Porto 56 14
St Etienne (loan) 16 2
Panathinaikos 10 2
Sporting 68 12
 Real Zaragoza**  33 9
 PORTUGAL** 34 11

* League appearances only
** Up to 24 May 2012
Comments (3)
3 Saturday, 02 August 2014 07:59
Daniel Longer
Easily my favorite player. And Im from the USA!!!!
helder postiga
2 Saturday, 26 July 2014 13:41
I think he is one of the best player in the world.... I want to see him.
Portugal is Postiga
1 Tuesday, 10 June 2014 09:09
David Vilapaseuth Vongdara / Vientiane, Laos PDR
Portugal is Postiga !!!
He is among the greatest Portuguese striker in term of his position. The predatory goal scorer who will always give a nightmare to any defenders around the world. Respect !!!

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