Discovering Lisbon: From Portuguese culture to Cristiano Ronaldo

For a nation with just over 10 million people, the whole world of football seems to be watching Portugal. From the best player in the world striking the back of the net on a weekly basis to Benfica in the Europa League final to Lisboa hosting the Champions League final, the whole country seems to be soaking in the attention ahead of the World Cup.

To join the celebration, our good friend Jimmy Conrad and the KICKTV crew took to Lisbon. Our very own Dominic Vieira, unofficial ambassador of Portuguese football, gave them a proper tour of the place he calls home, showed them around the city’s two biggest clubs.

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The Walls of Portugal x MrDheo’s Street Art

With the World Cup approaching, renowned Porto-based artist MrDheo already has one eye on the tournament. With a history of adding vibrant colours and portraits of club and country footballing heroes to otherwise bleak streets, MrDheo has recently captured Cristiano Ronaldo in the form of goal-sized mural. He has also created a work for Falcao and even presented a piece on pitch at an FC Porto match.

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Rest In Peace, Captain

Today Portugal and Benfica bid farewell to one of their greatest captains, Mario Coluna.

Both on and off the field he was an exemplary leader, bursting with energy that a modern day Yaya displays, a passionate competitor, champion and gentleman. Born in Mozambique like his legendary teammate and friend Eusebio, who referred to Mario as his ‘older brother’ and called him ‘sir’, Coluna too is considered a national treasure.

The ‘Sacred Monster’ was a loyal Benfiquista competing in a total of 677 matches, scoring 150 goals and lifting 19 titles, which includes 2 European Cups, as well as losing 3 other finals. He’ll always be remembered as the club’s greatest captain as well as Portugal’s, where he wore the armband in the 1966 World Cup.

Descanse em Paz.

Looking back to look forward: EURO 2012

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Zero to Hero: The rise of Nemanja Matic

By Dominic Vieira

Finding the complete centre midfielder, the sort of player demanded by most manages these days, is a blistering headache; just ask David Moyes how successful his search has gone. As several clubs looked to improve their quality in the centre of the park, in particular those sitting at the top of the Premier League, Nemanja Matic was a highly wanted man this winter.

Like with most of Benfica’s signings - Matic, who joined from Chelsea as part of the David Luiz deal and was originally valued at £4m - arrived to the Portuguese capital as an outsider, a player no one had really heard of and someone who the club did not expect to sell for millions. This too was shown by the player being rejected by the club’s ‘Stars Funds,’ a fund through which investors can buy a percentage of a Benfica player’s rights.

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The legend I never saw - A Tribute to Eusebio, ‘O Rei’

By Dominic Vieira, writing from Lisbon

The amount of times I’ve walked to the Estadio da Luz from my grandmother’s apartment to watch a Benfica match is countless. The trip with my father and brother is always the same: a repetitive route with Benfica scarves wrapped around our neck all, where all we’d talk about was our club. At that time the heroes were Nuno Gomes, Karel Poborksy and Joao Pinto. It had been years since we’d won the league, and European glory was only sensed in black and white photos published in dusty books. I had no idea how great Benfica was. None at all.

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The World Cup is coming, Cristiano
Deep breaths. With Dan Leydon's excitement building as we edge closer to kick-off, he illustrated a moment we're sure to see in Brazil.

The World Cup is coming, Cristiano

Deep breaths. With Dan Leydon's excitement building as we edge closer to kick-off, he illustrated a moment we're sure to see in Brazil.

Lille in the Limelight - AFR Voice Ep. 16

The show has cast a spotlight on a huge collection of leagues this season – La Liga, Serie A, MLS and even the top tiers in Afghanistan and Mongolia. This week, we finally uncork our coverage of Ligue 1 by getting a full lowdown from French football expert, AFR contributor and French Football Weekly editor Andrew Gibney. We’ll find out the latest on the hooliganism that recently blighted the league, salivate over Zlatan, hail the unexpected brilliance of Lille and try to make sense of the zero to hero national team.

The show’s main debate circles around an increasingly beleaguered Jose Mourinho – is ‘The Special One’ no longer special? Read AFR writer Nicol Hay’s fantastic article to find the spark of the discussion. We’ll also be profiling the dramatic rise of 21-year-old Basel centre-back Fabian Schär – from Swiss banker to one of the most promising defenders in Europe in the space of three years. And if you want to hear all about a very unlikely candidate for the most competitive league on the planet, this is the show to tune in to.

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Through Ryu’s Lens: Anything you can do…

There’s only one person more disappointed that Zlatan won’t be in Brazil than Zlatan, and that is Ryu Voelkel. The big man deceives, acting and performing in a way that makes him seem to be more than just that. Camera in hand, Ryu was in Stockholm to witness a  battle between two greats.

Just when Portugal were comfortable, Ibrahimovic put them on the back foot. Just when Sweden were full of hope, Ronaldo silenced the stadium. The Swede did all he could, but could only watch as his counterpart did more.

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