The State of Portuguese Club Football

May 27, 2019

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Liga NOS

Founded: 1934

Most Championships: Benfica, 37

Last 5 Winners: Benfica (18/19, 16/17, 15/16, 14/15), Porto (17/18)

UEFA Ranking: 7th

Highest Ranked Club: Porto, 10th

Interview with Portuguese football analyst, Tiago Estêvão

Since the EL was rebranded, Braga, Benfica, Porto, Sporting have all made the Europa League semi-final with Porto winning it in 2011 and Benfica making the final in 2013 and 2014. How have the last years been viewed by the Portuguese football fans in this regard?

People realize it’s really hard. The objective is to try and make it past the group stage and that’s it. From that moment on people realise that’s it’s just too difficult to move much further. Even when it comes to the group stage, it’ll depend on the group: if there are two big teams in the group, the objective is to come 3rd. On the other hand, Benfica fans have been pretty disappointed over the last few years due to getting back to back 4th spots in pretty average groups that they should’ve made past. So it’s very dependent.

Do most of the country get behind the Portuguese sides playing in Europe or is there a lot of tribalism still apparent?

Lots of rivalry, among the big 3 at least. Sporting, Porto, Benfica always root for the other team’s opponents. Like celebrating wildly if their rivals lose in Europe.

How is the EL viewed in Portugal?

I think it was viewed as a better investment a couple years ago when our teams used to go to the semis/final. It was seen as a semi-realistic shot at a trophy and worth the commitment. But in seasons like these, with the likes of Chelsea and Arsenal in as such overwhelming favourites, they’ll try but mostly choose to prioritize the league title fight if they’re still in it for example

How do you think the Europa League 2 will affect Portuguese EL performances and what has been the reaction to the formation of the competition in Portugal?

There hasn’t been much reaction to UEL 2 at all here and I honestly can’t tell you how it’ll impact things because I don’t know what the spot distribution will look like. But if that means extra money coming into our smaller sides that’d be lovely, they desperately need it

What would you like to see UEFA do to level the playing field more for smaller European sides?

I think it’s more about our culture and league than Uefa necessarily. If we had a unanimously shared TV deal like England, that’d help us make the jump. If we had a support your local team culture instead of everyone being a top 3 team fan, that’d be impactful as well.

Interview with Portuguese football analyst, Tiago Estêvão

Find all your Champions League betting odds here

A Europa League infographic

Author: Tom Mortimer

Tom is the editor at Betting Circle and has been creating online content for over 10 years. Tom mainly writes about sport and gambling, but every now and then also delves into fleshier subjects like politics and psychology. When he was 18 he created and over the last few years he's written on a freelance basis for ESPN, WorldSoccer,, among many others.

Twitter @TMortimerFtbl

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