Paulo Futre’s career in his own words, in cartoon form
The latest offering in PortuGOAL’s “Book Corner” section features one the Portugal’s greatest ever footballers, as well as one of its most colourful characters.
The gregarious personality of the outrageously talented former Sporting, FC Porto and Benfica winger is brought to life in Futrinho, a Lenda. Although directed at a younger audience, the book makes for equally fascinating reading for adults. Written in Portuguese, its unpretentious language and simple layout also makes it ideal for those learning the language of Camões.
“O meu pai viu o anúncio na televisão e nos jornais. Assim que chegou a casa, deu-me a notícia: «Paulinho, prepara-te. Tens aqui a tua grande oportunidade.» Portugal estava a preparar uma selecção de sub-11 apra jogar em Rocheville, França, num torneio internacional. Era a primeira vez que se organizava um torneio destes para miúdos tão novos. Mas só haveria espaço para os 16 melhores do país. Eu tinha apenas 10 anos e prometi a mim mesmo que haveria de fazer parte dessa equipa...”
“My father saw the advertisement on TV and in the papers. As soon as he got home he gave me the news: ‘Paulinho, get ready. This is your big chance.’ Portugal was preparing an under-11 team to play in an international tournament in Rocheville, France. It was the first time a tournament like this had been organised for kids so young. But there was only room for the 16 best children in the country. I was only 10 years old and I promised myself I would be part of the team...”
So begins the remarkable trajectory of Paulo Jorge dos Santos Futre, a journey that would see the boy born in humble surroundings in Montijo, on the other side of the Rio Tejo to Lisbon, thrill the football world with his dashingly exuberant wing play.
Futre recounts his football journey from the days he drew crowds when kicking around an old oil tin with his neighbourhood mates as they couldn’t afford a ball, right the way through to achieving legendary status at Porto and Atletico Madrid, and narrowly missing out – with an improbable twist as it turns out – on being elected the Ballon d’Or winner as the world’s best footballer.
But Futrinho, a Lenda is also full of humour, his joy of life bursting out of each page, embellished with suitably vibrant illustrations by Rute Bastardo. Examples include the infamous No10 shirt episode during his brief stay at West Ham, and his comical role in the Sporting presidential elections in 2011, an episode that once again catapulted Futre to the limelight in Portugal, kick-starting a new career as one of Portugal’s biggest television celebrities.
Article update: There was a terrific response to this competition. Congratulations to winners Dougie Wright, John Barbosa and Jasmine S. who were the three names drawn out of the hat. Look out for more book competitions on PortuGOAL in the coming weeks.
Futrinho, a Lenda may be purchased from the website of Chiado Editora, the publisher of the book.