In June 2007, when left wing-back Duda was called up to the Portugal squad for the first time, there was general surprise among all but the cognoscenti of European football, not least because he has never played in the top flight in his home country, preferring to carve out a career in Spain instead.
In fact, Duda’s career bears a striking resemblance to that of Pauleta, the legendary striker who went on to be the national team’s record goalscorer. Both players started out in the youth ranks of Portuguese clubs, before making a move across the Iberian peninsula to a club that was not in the top flight of Spanish football. In the case of Malaga’s Portuguese winger, he started off with Vitoria de Guimaraes, before starring in the UEFA U-20 European Championship, which the Portuguese won. Duda’s performances won him a host of admirers, and some flattering comparisons with a star from a previous generation, Paulo Futre.
On the back of advice from Futre, who himself tasted success in Spain with Atletico Madrid, the young winger signed for Cadiz, in the Spanish Segunda Division. From there, Duda stayed in Andalusia to sign firstly for Malaga, where he enjoyed a successful spell, and Sevilla, with whom he won the UEFA Cup in 2006/07.
On the back of that success, the talented left-sided player was called up to the Portugal senior squad for the qualifying campaign for UEFA Euro 2008. Coach Luiz Felipe Scolari deployed him at left-back, a role which he went on to fill for his country throughout their successful qualifying campaign for the FIFA World Cup finals™ under Carlos Queiroz. He will be hoping to make a big impression in South Africa, not least in his other roles as a dead-ball expert on direct free-kicks and a deliverer of whipping crosses into the box from out wide.