Cristiano Ronaldo’s ex-teammate Ruben Amorim has seen a rapid rise as a coach who made history at Sporting Lisbon and excelled in the Champions League.
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This season’s Champions League saw a Portuguese star in his mid-30s sweep Europe – and we’re not talking about Cristiano Ronaldo.
While Manchester United’s seventh seed hit a number of late strikes to keep the Red Devils’ Champions League hopes alive, returning to his former club Sporting Lisbon, his old teammate has also made waves across Europe.
Ruben Amorim only took his first managerial role in 2018, but the rapid rise has seen the former Portuguese midfielder take the reins of Sporting and is already making history.
After winning Lisbon’s first Portuguese league title in 19 years last season, Amorim now finds himself battling European giants Ajax and Borussia Dortmund in their quest to secure a Champions League knockout tie with Sporting.
A 4-0 win over Besiktas on Wednesday night put Amorim and his sports team on the brink of more history, but who exactly is the man in charge?
From playing with Ronaldo in the 2014 World Cup to establishing himself as one of Europe’s most promising young coaches, football mirror Features Latest Sporting sensation: Robin Amorim.
The brilliance of the playing career
Despite his success in the sport as a coach, Amorim spent most of his days playing for rivals Benfica in Lisbon.
Born and raised in the Portuguese capital, Amorim began his football career at his hometown club Belenenses before making impressive performances en route to helping the club achieve an eighth place in the 2007-08 season that saw Benfica invited.
After regularly appearing in a midfield containing the former Premier League duo between Manchester City’s Javi Garcia and Chelsea’s Ramires, Amorim helped the Eagles win the League title – and the League Cup – in the 2009-10 season as Benfica finished a five-year drought.
After clashing with controversial coach Jorge Jesus, whom he now faces in Benfica’s current bunker, Amorim was shipped in 18 months to Braga where he reignited his career and impressed in the Europa League.
In 2013-14, Amorim returned to the capital and played a key role in securing three times the unprecedented Portuguese league, the Taca de Portugal and the Taca de Liga with Benfica.
A serious injury hampered the final years of his career before 32-year-old Amorim called time on his playing days in 2017 after more than a year without kicking a ball after his loan spell at Qatar’s Al Wakrah ended.
During his career with the club, Amorim won eleven major titles, including three La Liga titles and appeared in the 2014 World Cup alongside Ronaldo on his way to 14 caps for his country.
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Despite his recent exploits at Sporting, he hasn’t always had an easy ride in the hot administrative seat of Amorim.
His first coaching role with third-tier side Casa Pia didn’t last long as Amorim resigned in January 2019 shortly after taking the job as six points were deducted from his squad and suspended from all activities for a year after being given instructions during a match. without having the level of training required to do so.
His next opportunity with the Braga reserve came in mid-September of 2019 before taking charge of the first team three months later after the sacking of Ricardo Sa Pinto.
After winning the final against old playing team Belenenses 7-1, Amorim never looked back. A few weeks later, the success of the League Cup against Porto led him to criticize Sporting in March 2020 despite only two months of managerial experience in the first division.
Ending the 19-year wait for Sporting’s title
Sporting’s decision to take a penalty on the Portuguese prodigy certainly paid off.
Amorim led the Lions to victory in the League Cup over the former Braga team in January 2021 before ending Sporting’s 19-year wait to win the Portuguese League title.
On May 11, 2021, Amorim threw their 19th national championship after a 1-0 win over Boavista, the first for Sporting since the 2001-02 season to end the dominance of Benfica and Porto who have won every league title between them since.
Incredibly, Sporting have only been defeated once in the league all season, losing 4-3 away to rivals Benfica in the penultimate game of the season having already secured the league title in the previous round.
Sporting set a league record for longest unbeaten run in a season having gone 32 consecutive games unbeaten as Amorim has done so well and has truly declared himself in the managerial scene.
Resume where you left off
In this campaign, Amorim’s Lions continued their impressive form from last season.
Sporting is currently ranked second in the league table after Porto, with a goal difference after collecting 26 points from the first 10 matches in the league, and the Lisbon team has not tasted defeat.
Amorim also saw his side’s impressive league-style move to Europe, collecting six points from their first four Champions League group stage matches.
A demolition at the hands of Ajax and a narrow defeat to Dortmund saw Sporting return, but two resounding victories over Besiktas put Amorim’s men in contention for qualification to the knockout rounds in the new year.
Led by former Liverpool defender Sebastian Coates, the former Wolves launched him to glory by rejecting Pedro Goncalves, who scored 23 league goals last season, host Sporting Dortmund before finishing off the group stage with a trip to Amsterdam to face Ajax.
Amorim hopes Goncalves, widely dubbed as Sporting’s new player Bruno Fernandes, will help him write another chapter in the history books.