Some believe in destiny, others don’t.
That injury came at a time when my contract with Sporting was coming to an end. They offered me the chance to recover at the club, and see if I could find another one afterwards, but it was no good.
Whenever I ran, my knee would hurt. Pain. Pain. Pain.
I had three consultations with the doctors, and each time they told me I would have to retire. I cried for days when I finally accepted I couldn’t continue. I was in mourning. Angry. It felt so unfair.
How is this possible? I have got to this age without a single injury. And now… this?
Sometimes, though, when a door closes a window opens.
I started helping out the head coach of Sporting’s junior side. When he made the step up to work with the seniors, there was a vacancy. They told me I was going to take the job and could complete my courses as a coach there.
So, that’s how my story started: with a bad accident.
“The future is this cat-and-mouse game within a single match: adapting to tactical changes in reaction to your opponent”
In my first year, we won the junior league. Then we made the final four of the UEFA Youth League alongside Liverpool, Southampton and Chelsea. The year after, I was promoted to Sporting’s B team and led them to sixth place.
That’s when Bruno de Carvalho took over as the club’s President. You know who that is, right?
A week after the season started, he fired me.
What do you want from a B team? Usually, it is to get players ready for the A team. As well as finishing sixth the previous season, Carlos Mané, João Mário and Eric Dier had made that step up.
Anyway, that was it. Another door closed.
This time, the open window that followed allowed me to return to Braga, where I trained the B team for three seasons before taking over the first team.