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Tiago Cardoso Mendes ( , born 2 May 1981 in Viana do Castelomarker), commonly known as just Tiago, is a Portuguesemarker professional footballer who currently plays for Juventus and the Portuguese national team. Generally, Tiago plays as a central midfielder and during his time at Olympique Lyonnais and Juventus, he took up both attacking and defensive duties. He is an occasional goal scorer and is a known for his passing and dribbling.

Tiago has played for two teams in the Portuguese Liga; starting a S.C. Braga and later moving to S.L. Benfica. His first cup medal came in 2004 after Benfica beat F.C. Porto. Chelsea bought Tiago for 15m in 2004 but he was sold to Olympique Lyonnais the following season. After two league winning seasons with the club, Tiago moved to Juventus in 2007, helping them finish 3rd in the 2007-2008 season.

Club career

Tiago came to prominence at S.C. Braga B, the reserve team of S.C. Braga, during the 1999-00 season. He moved to the main team the following season, helping Braga secure 4th place just a place away for UEFA Cup qualification.

Tiago moved to S.L. Benfica in December 2001 where he excelled in the 2002-03 season, scoring 13 times in the league, playing a significant part in the club's second place finish. He then helped Benfica defeat FC Porto in the 2004 Cup of Portugal final during the 2003-04 season, denying Porto a historic treble.

Tiago signed for Chelsea on 20 July 2004, for a 15 million fee, becoming José Mourinho's sixth signing that season. Having missed the first game of Chelsea's 2004-05, Tiago soon became an important member of his new team's squad, scoring on his away debut against Crystal Palace on 24 August 2004. Tiago also scored a long-range goal in Chelsea's 3-1 win over Manchester United on 10 May 2005, after already winning the Premier League title. Tiago was a regular for Chelsea that season, having only missed four games in the Premier League. He ended the season successfully as a firm fixture in the Blues' midfield three, having made 51 appearances in all competitions and scoring 4 goals. Chelsea won the Premier League and League Cup that season.

Despite his initial success, the following season saw the arrival of Michael Essien in August 2005 and this limited Tiago's first team chances. After an emotional goodbye, Tiago flew to Lyonmarker and completed his medical with French giants Olympique Lyonnais, signing a four-year deal for a 10.1 million transfer fee. Mourinho later confessed in an interview that letting Tiago go was "a big mistake."

Usually playing in a defensive midfield role alongside Juninho, Mahamadou Diarra and Florent Malouda, Tiago excelled for Lyon, scoring seven goals in 37 appearances. The highlights of his first season in Francemarker were a pair of goals against PSV that took Lyon into the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals and the winning goal against Troyes AC on 1 April 2006. Lyon finished top of the league during the 2005-06 season which was a 5th consecutive Ligue 1 title for the club. After the departure of Diarra to Real Madrid the following season, Tiago began to play a more significant role in Lyon's midfield with Diarra's replacement, Jérémy Toulalan. He won his second Ligue 1 title that season and helped Lyon to the Coupe de la Ligue final. However, the club lost to Girondins de Bordeaux after a last minute strike. Tiago scored six goals in 40 appearances in his second season with the club.

On 17 June 2007, Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas confirmed that Tiago's departure from Lyon was imminent with both Juventus and A.C. Milan reportedly after his signature. He officially signed for Juventus on 21 June 2007, for a 13 million fee. However, his performance in the 2007–8 season was criticised, describing him as the third biggest flop of the season.

The start of the Serie A 2008-09 season gave Tiago an opportunity to return to the Premier League in the form of year long loan offer from Everton. Juventus agreed to the deal but Tiago refused their terms, favouring to stay in Italy instead. The negotiations between the player and the club had a violent end when Tiago forcibly locked Juventus president Giovanni Cobolli Gigli inside a toilet stall. Cobolli Gigli was finally rescued by Alessandro Del Piero more than an hour later.

Finally, in the Serie A 2008-09 season, Tiago established himself as a regular starter for Juventus, until a two month injury, forced him to the treatment room in late November. Tiago has since been used both in the starting XI and off the bench but has established himself as a more important part of the Juventus team, unlike his first season.

Career statistics

International career

Tiago's performances in Portugal's youth team eventually earnt him his senior debut against Scotlandin a November 2002 friendly. He went on to seal a regular berth in the squad and was included in the 23-man squad for the UEFA Euro 2004, although he did not play for Portugal in the final of the tournament.

Moving to Francemarker proved crucial in international selection as Tiago’s strong form at Olympique Lyonnais afforded him a place in Portugal's well-established midfield.His contributions to the team aided Portugal in their quest for qualification for the 2006 FIFA World Cup and he played five matches in the tournament held in Germanymarker.Portugal reached the semi-finals of the 2006 World Cup but lost to France.

Tiago scored his first goal for the national team in March 2007, in a Man of the Matchdisplay away to Serbia.

International goals

Tiago: International Goals

Career honours


External links

1999-00 Braga Portuguese Liga 18 1
2000-01 27 0
2001-02 17 3
2001-02 Benfica Portuguese Liga 15 1
2002-03 31 13
2003-04 30 5

2004-05 Chelsea Premier League 34 4

2005-06 Lyon Ligue 1 29 6
2006-07 27 4

2007-08 Juventus Serie A 20 0
2008-09 15 0
2009-10 2 0
# Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1. 28 March 2007 Belgrademarker, Serbiamarker 1-1 Draw Euro 2008 qualifying

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