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Vítor Manuel Martins Baía (born 15 October 1969 in São Pedro da Afuradamarker), is a former Portuguesemarker international footballer, primarily for FC Porto. He is currently the club ambassador for FC Porto.

He and Italianmarker Stefano Tacconi are the only goalkeepers in history to have won the three main UEFA club competitions.

Club career

An FC Porto trainee, Baía made his professional debuts at 19 years-of-age(after being advised to quit after an arm injury when only 16), replacing 1987 European Cup winner Józef Młynarczyk, who had fractured his shoulder during training. Baía's performances were good enough to keep the first choice goalkeeper out of the team, even after the Polemarker recovered from his injury.

At the time he was also the undisputed first-pick for goal on the Portuguese youth national side, but resigned from playing in the 1989 FIFA World Youth Championship, held mid-season, as he tried to retain his first-choice club status. The club was involved in the title race and chasing European glory, and Porto ended the league season in second place, and was eliminated by PSV Eindhoven in the second round of the Champions Cup. This was to be the start of a club career which saw the keeper win a record-breaking nine Portuguese league titles in sixteen years, six Portuguese cups, one Spanish league, two Spanish cups, one Intercontinental Cup, one Champions League, one UEFA Cup and one Cup Winners' Cup.

Before leaving with manager Bobby Robson to join FC Barcelona in 1996–97, Baía had already captured five first division titles and achieved the Portuguese record of most minutes unbeaten, with 1191. While he only missed one La Liga game in his first season and captured a Cup Winners' Cup, he had severe knee problems which ruled him out for the next two seasons.

When Louis van Gaal took over at Barcelona, he was dropped from the team in favour of Ruud Hesp, and subsequently loaned in mid-season back to Porto for the 1998–99 season, filling the position some said he had "haunted" since his departure, as several goalkeepers had failed to perform in that position.

Upon his return to Porto, the number 1 jersey was unavailable and so Baía picked the number 99, the year of his return. Just as his career seemed back on track, he was injured again halfway during 1999–2000, having surgery on his knees and metallic plates inserted to avoid limping, and would have a tough time regaining fitness. Baía returned late in the 2001–02 season, making some appearances for the B squad, but still chose to play in the 2002 World Cup.

It would not be until the 2003–04 season when Baía would regain full fitness again, and he would have one of the most impressive seasons of his career, winning the UEFA Champions League, seventh league trophy and fourth Cup in 2004 and being selected as the best European Goalkeeper of the year. Despite the accolades, Baía was never picked for the national team again.

At the start of the 2005–06 season, under Dutchmarker coach Co Adriaanse, Baía initially started the season, but lost his status midway through, being replaced by Brazilianmarker Helton.

Although he was a part of the 2006–07 squad that won Porto's second league in a row, Baía, in the last year of his contract, would make only one league start, on the final day of the season, a 4–1 home win against Desportivo das Aves, which would be his 700th official appearance, overall. Upon retiring, on 14 June 2007, he became director of public relations with Porto.

International career

Baía was a longtime U21 first-choice, and had his senior debut on 19 December 1990, in a 1–0 friendly win over the USA. He went on to make 80 appearances for the national team until 2002, playing in all the games in Euro '96 and 2000 (except one in the latter, as Portugal was already qualified) and in the 2002 World Cup.

After the failure in the 2002 World Cup, coach António Oliveira was sacked when he refused to quit. In his place, Luiz Felipe Scolari was hired, and Baía, a stalwart for the past 10 years with a record of caps in his position, was ditched.

Personal life

In 2004, Baía founded a charity with his wife, Alexandra Rodrigues de Almeida, which would bear his own name and would be dedicated to helping underprivileged children and troubled teens.Also that year, he would donate a pair of his autographed gloves to be included in the UEFA Jubilee time capsule, a collection of UEFA memorabilia that was sealed underground in September, only opened 50 years hence.

Baía published his autobiography entitled 99 - Vítor Baía in 2005. On 10 June 2008, she was made an Officer of the Ordem do Infante Dom Henrique by then president of Portugal, Aníbal Cavaco Silva.

Club statistics



Honours

Club

Porto



FC Barcelona



Individual



See also



References



External links



1988-89 Porto Portuguese League 15 0
1989-90 34 0
1990-91 38 0
1991-92 34 0
1992-93 34 0
1993-94 32 0
1994-95 33 0
1995-96 26 0

1996-97 FC Barcelona Spanish League 37 -45
1997-98 2 -8
1998-99 0 0

1998-99 FC Porto Portuguese League 16 0
1999-00 15 0
2000-01 0 0
2001-02 17 0
2002-03 25 0
2003-04 31 0 0 0 0 0 13 0 39 0
2004-05 31 0 0 0 0 0 6 0 37 0
2005-06 24 0 1 0 0 0 6 0 31 0
2006-07 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
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39||0||||||||||||||||
445||0||||||||||||||||

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