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Nuno Miguel Soares Pereira Ribeiro (born 5 July 1976 in Amarante), commonly known as Nuno Gomes, is a Portuguese footballer who currently plays for Sport Lisboa e Benfica in the Portuguese first division, as a striker.

He was given the nickname Gomes during childhood after FC Porto and Portugal great Fernando Gomes, and was one of the country's most recognisable offensive players in the past decade; he consistently scored for both club and country, and was capable of being a good link-up player, accumulating a number of assists throughout his career.

Club career

Gomes established his reputation with Boavista FC, where he made his debut in the 1994–95 season, aged 18. He collected his first silverware as Boavista beat Sport Lisboa e Benfica to lift the Portuguese Cup in 1996–97, and scored 23 goals in 79 appearances in three years for the northerners, including 15 in his last term, before moving to Benfica.

After three seasons at Benfica, in which he scored over 60 goals in over 100 appearances, UEFA Euro 2000 exploits earned him a 17 million move to ACF Fiorentina. He won the Italian Cup his first year, but financial collapse by the Viola precipitated a 2002 return to Benfica.

A series of nagging injuries from 2002 to 2005 limited Gomes to under 70 games; however, he still helped Benfica win the domestic cup in 2003–04 and the league the following season. In the latter, he contributed with seven goals in 23 outings. He enjoyed his best season in 2005–06, scoring 15 goals in the league, including two at FC Porto (2–0 win) and a hat-trick against União de Leiria, snatching second place in the goalscorers' list, and adding the following Portuguese Super Cup, netting the game's only against Vitória de Setúbal.

From 2006–07 onwards, Gomes faced tough competition for a starting place in Benfica's attack: he only netted six times in the league, and would suffer even more after the signing of Paraguayanmarker Óscar Cardozo in the following summer. However, still a valuable member of the squad, he netted nine goals overall during the season, and was also made team captain over legendary Rui Costa.

On 2 October 2008, he scored his 150th goal for Benfica in a UEFA Cup outing against S.S.C. Napoli (2–0 home win, 4–3 aggregate triumph) with a fine header.

International career

Gomes currently has earned 77 caps and scored 29 goals for Portugal. Having represented the national side at every level, from the U-15 to the seniors, he netted at an excellent rate at every level.

He represented Portugal in the third place finish in the 1995 Under-20 World Cup, netting four times in as much games, including two in the third-place game against Spain. The following year, he appeared at the 1996 Summer Olympics, helping Portugal to an eventual 4th place.

Gomes made his senior international debut at 19 in a 1996 friendly against France. He scored his first senior international goal in Portugal's opening match at the UEFA Euro 2000, marking his fourth start with the winner as Portugal came from two goals down to beat England 3–2. Gomes would finish the competition with four goals as Portugal reached the last four, but earned a seven-month international ban after pushing referee Günter Benkö following the semi-final defeat by France.

With seven goals in only six matches, Gomes helped Portugal qualify for the 2002 World Cup; this included a four-goal performance against Andorra. He would struggle to hold a starting place in the finals, only appearing twice as a substitute. On 19 November 2003, he scored his second hat-trick, in only 21 minutes of play against Kuwait.

Things went better for Gomes at UEFA Euro 2004, where he played each game and, after coming on as a halftime substitute, scored the winning goal against Spain to send the hosts through to the quarter-finals. He was often injured during Portugal's 2006 World Cup qualifiers, only managing to play four games, with one goal. He found limited time at the final stages and only made two appearances, but managed to find the back of the net with a header against Germany in the third-place game, a 1–3 defeat.

After the retirement of Pauleta, Gomes was expected to become his successor in the striker role. He played 10 times and scored three times in Euro 2008's qualifying campaign, captained Portugal at the finals, and scored against Germany in the quarter-finals, thus becoming the fourth player to score at three straight European Championships.

Club statistics

Club Season League Cup League Cup Europe Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Boavista 1994–95 17 1 ? 1 ? 0 17 2
1995–96 28 7 ? 0 ? 1 28 8
1996–97 34 15 ? 4 ? 2 34 21
Benfica 1997–98 33 18 5 4 2 0 40 22
1998–99 34 24 2 3 8 7 44 34
1999–00 34 18 3 1 6 1 43 20
Total 180 83 10 13 16 11 206 107
Fiorentina 2000–01 30 9 4 3 34 12
2001–02 23 5 6 2 29 7
Total 53 14 4 3 6 2 63 19
Benfica 2002–03 27 9 0 0 5 5 32 14
2003–04 21 7 2 0 4 5 27 12
2004–05 23 7 5 2 6 3 34 12
2005–06 29 15 2 1 8 0 39 16
2006–07 24 6 3 3 12 4 39 13
2007–08 25 7 2 1 0 0 8 1 35 9
2008–09 22 7 1 0 1 1 6 1 29 9
2009–10 3 2 0 0 0 0 1 1 3 2
Total 174 59 15 7 1 1 49 20 238 89
Career total 407 156 29 23 1 1 71 33 507 211


Honours

Team

Boavista:


Benfica:


Fiorentina:


National team:


Individual



Personal

Nuno Gomes was featured on the cover of the Portuguese edition of FIFA Football 2003.

References

  1. Early finish for Nuno Gomes; UEFA.com, 15 May 2003
  2. Nuno Gomes enjoys happy return; UEFA.com, 5 November 2003
  3. Nuno Gomes inspires Benfica; UEFA.com, 15 October 2005
  4. Benfica earn Super Cup success; UEFA.com, 13 August 2005
  5. UEFA suspends Portuguese trio; BBC Sport, 2 July 2000


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