Valencia’s marauding right-sided defender Miguel is, in the eyes of many, a paradigm of the modern full-back. Quick, adventurous and forward-thinking, he also possesses superb powers of recovery and is a formidable opponent for any left-winger in the world.
He learned his trade as a winger with Sporting Lisbon before moving to Estrela da Amadora. A series of outstanding displays caught the eye of Benfica, who swooped to sign the youngster at the start of the 2000/01 season to reinforce the right side of their attack. Initially, Miguel found it hard to impose himself at his new club, such was the competition for places, but in November 2002, his luck changed. Interim coach, Fernando Chalana, who had taken over from Fernando Santos, reinvented the flank player as an attack-minded right-back, a position Miguel has gone on to make his own for both club and country.
He adapted quickly to the demands of his new position, and before too long his daring displays at the Stadium of Light brought him international recognition. He won his first call-up in February 2003, and has not looked back since. He had his first taste of tournament football at UEFA EURO 2004, held in his home country. Miguel was to the fore as the hosts reached the final, where they faced surprise package, Greece. Sadly, the full-back picked up an injury against the Greeks and was forced to watch from the bench as a equipa das Quinas fell at the final hurdle.
Two years later, Miguel was again first-choice for his country as Luiz Felipe Scolari led the Portuguese to the FIFA World Cup finals Germany 2006™. Incredibly, the injury curse struck once more, as the Valencia defender picked up another knock, this time in the semi-final as the French sealed a narrow 1-0 win over Portugal. So Miguel will arrive in South Africa with something to prove. If his luck changes, who would bet against him doing just that?