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Ricardo Alexandre Martins Soares Pereira, simply Ricardo ( ; OIH; born February 11, 1976 in Montijomarker), is a Portuguesemarker football currently playing with Real Betis, as a goalkeeper.

Club career

After starting his career at hometown club Clube Desportivo Montijo, Ricardo signed with Boavista F.C. in 1994. After battling during several seasons for first-choice status with Cameroonianmarker William Andem, he eventually became first-choice, and appeared in 28 matches in the chequereds 2000–01 league championship title, the club history's only.

As a goalkeeper, Ricardo was one of the team's most influential players in the side's 2002–03 UEFA Cup campaign, in a run that would only stop in the competition's semifinals.

He then went on to play for Sporting Clube de Portugal; an undisputed starter from the get-go, he backstopped the team to the finals of the 2005 UEFA Cup, a 1-3 home loss to CSKA Moscow (the match was played at the Alvalade XXI Stadiummarker).

On 9 July, 2007, Ricardo was linked with a transfer to La Liga side Real Betis. On July 11, he signed a four-year contract with the club, a signing which would cost Betis 3 million.His league debut took place against Recreativo de Huelva on 26 August, a 1-1 away draw. Having started the league campaign as first-choice, he eventually lost the position to former Betis trainee Casto, but would regain his status for two of the last three matches, as the side from Andalusiamarker avoided relegation.

In 2008–09, as Betis manager Francisco Chaparro, who arrived midway through the previous season, started on the bench, Ricardo lost the battle for first-choice, having to settle with cup matches, a situation which would revert midway through the season, with Betis eventually relegated.

International career

Ricardo made his international debut in 2001 against the Republic of Ireland, taking the place of Vítor Baía, who was recovering from a serious knee injury. However, he would be his backup in the 2002 FIFA World Cup.

Euro 2004

In the quarterfinals of UEFA Euro 2004 against England, Ricardo was one of Portugal's heroes in their win on penalties. With a 5-5 tie, he first saved the shot of Darius Vassell, after taking his gloves off, and then scored the deciding penalty to send Portugal to the semifinals.

Nevertheless, Ricardo did not manage to help his team avoid the loss to Greece in the final match. Ricardo misjudged a corner when coming for the ball, only for Angelos Charisteas to head the only goal of the game, in a huge upset in final defeat.

2006 World Cup

In the group stage, Ricardo kept two clean sheets and was only beaten once, by Mexico's Francisco Fonseca, as Portugal won all three matches. The national side once again knocked out England in the quarter-finals of a major tournament on penalties, as he saved from Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher, in a 3-1 shootout win after a 0-0 draw with extra time, becoming the first keeper to save three times in a shoot-out at a World Cup. Carragher did beat Ricardo but since his kick was made before the referee blew the whistle, the Englishman had to retry the spot kick which was then saved.

In the third-place match against hosts Germany, Ricardo allowed three goals, two by Bastian Schweinsteiger, and an own goal by Portugal's Petit, which was also off of Schweinsteiger's shot.He was named to the tournament All-Star team, as one of the three best goalkeepers.

Euro 2008

Despite some criticism, Ricardo remained the main goalkeeper for Portugal in Euro 2008. Portugal struggled initially but did qualify for the quarter-finals in Switzerlandmarker and Austriamarker, and he played all of the side's matches, as Portugal was eliminated by Germany 3-2 in the quarterfinals, where he misjudged in two box exits, allowing two headers. As he lost his position at Betis, Ricardo would not be called for the 2010 World Cup qualifiers, with S.L. Benfica's Quim being selected first-choice.

Club statistics



Honours

Club



Country



References

  1. Ricardo's derby dream; UEFA.com, 21 March 2003
  2. Resurgent Betis secure double coup; UEFA.com, 14 July 2007
  3. Top five penalties; UEFA.com, 26 June 2004
  4. Portugal revels in Ricardo heroics; UEFA.com, 2 July 2006
  5. Schweinsteiger starts German party; UEFA.com, 8 July 2006
  6. Euro 2008: German power leaves Portugal in despair; The Daily Telegraph, 20 June 2008
  7. FootballDatabase profile and stats


External links



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2003-04 Sporting CP Portuguese League 34 0
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2007-08 Real Betis Spanish League 28 0
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