Last weekend’s Lisbon derby made waves all over the football world. BBC World Service sent correspondent Steve Crossman to the Portuguese capital to see what all the fuss was about.
His investigations included meeting a Fado singer, a family split by their allegiances and some Sporting ultras, as well as speaking to Sporting president Bruno de Carvalho and former Benfica player Diogo Luís. Read about and listen to his report of what certainly lived up to its billing as one of the great Benfica-Sporting encounters.
The report begins with a trip to Lisbon’s famous Alfama neighbourhood and a chat to Fado singer Duarte Santos, who explains: “Fado is life. Like the Spanish are born with Flamengo, and the Brazilians are born with Samba, the Portuguese are born with Fado, which is about love, hate, jealousy…” As Crossman points out, those are exactly the sentiments aroused by this very special derby, in which ex Benfica coach Jorge Jesus would return to the Estádio da Luz for the first time as Sporting coach.
This particular fixture in the Portuguese football calendar often splits friends and families in Lisbon down the middle. A perfect example is that of married couple Lara Afonso and Paulo Fernandes, who Crossman interviews in full bickering mode about the upcoming match.
Clip of my night with Paulo and Lara in Lisbon. Married but divided by football, even their dogs have to pick a side pic.twitter.com/Wa8LnexgRs— Steve Crossman (@Steve_Crossman) October 23, 2015
For some of course, it is more than serious. Crossman talked to Sporting ultra José, who amid the sounds of some deafening firecrackers says: “I am going to say this is the biggest derby in the last 50 years maybe. You can’t really explain what the derby weekend is. You need to experience it, you need to feel it. This is our life. Everything we do, everything we breathe is Sporting. It’s the game. It’s not just a game.”
As we now know, Sporting ran out 3-0 winners, leading to praise being showered on coach Jorge Jesus. Sporting president Bruno de Carvalho believes he is truly one best. “José Mourinho is a wonderful coach. Jorge is an amazing coach. Like Messi and Ronaldo, they are the greatest.”
A Lisbon adventure begins. Just met with Sporting's President Bruno de Carvalho. One of football's great characters pic.twitter.com/TjhUOgYkNu— Steve Crossman (@Steve_Crossman) October 22, 2015
Former Benfica player Diogo Luís, however, has a different opinion, saying Jesus has much to prove to reach Mourinho’s level. “José Mourinho is two levels up. José Mourinho has won everything in Portugal, won everything in Italy, won everything in England. Jorge Jesus has three championships in Portugal but he has never done a good job in the Champions League, for example, and José Mourinho is a specialist in the Champions League, so for Jorge Jesus to catch up with Mourinho he has to go to another competitive foreign league like England or Spain and prove himself capable of getting good results.”
The BBC’s Crossman also questioned Jorge Jesus himself in the post-match press conference, and spoke to the fan who probably made the longest commute to watch the game, Luso-Australian Pedro Martins. To listen to the whole uncut version of the report, as featured on the World Football clips page, click below.
To download the finished BBC report as broadcast on World Service, click here.
Our thanks to Steve Crossman and the BBC for giving permission to use the report.
By Tom Kundert