Everyone welcome Andre Villas Boas, the 33-year old Porto manager
It’s always a breath of fresh air when one hears the news of a young player making it to the top level of football. Words like, prodigy, one for the future, starlet or the new Zidane/Maradona/Pele
come into the mind. Every single year, there is a young player who would eventually go on to make it big from humble and sometimes mediocre beginnings. What’s even more exciting is the hype that media creates around the player as he starts living up to his
However, it’s very rare to see the word ‘coaching prodigy’ used every season. The last time a young coach came and conquered all was when Jose Mourinho started from Porto and then joined
Chelsea and then Inter Milan and is now the soul voice of Real Madrid. For his defense, Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola hasn’t fared bad at all. Winning treble in the first season with a bunch of talented players who sometimes seem to show that they are not
from this planet is a great feat but not as great as making a team from something out of nothing at a young age.
33-year old Porto manager Andre Villas Boas has been making all the right noises in Portugal and it’s still very odd that there is no hype surrounding him outside Portugal. Mourinho rose
to prominence at Porto after handing the club a UEFA Champions League trophy before departing for Chelsea in 2004. Since then, FC Porto hasn’t really touched the same heights. Though Porto has won the domestic title on four occasions since 2004 but they haven’t
impressed in the Champions League since then. Porto haven’t made it past the round of 16 of the tournament and after finishing last season on third place, they didn’t even make it to the current edition of Europe’s biggest club competition.
However, Andre Villas Boas is threatening to steel some of Mourinho’s spotlight. One of the most talented and emerging coach in Europe and has stolen his record of unbeaten runs after
setting a mark of 36 games without losing in all domestic and European competition. Last season’s failure to play in the Champions League was perhaps a blessing in disguise for the side that plays at the Estadio do Dragao. Last summer, Villas Boas replaced
Jesualdo Ferreira and the 33-year old has definitely proven to be an inspired appointment. Already comparisons are being made between him and Mourinho. Both started coaching at a young age. Both started at Porto but the biggest and most significant similarity
is that both are real winners.
In the early 1990s, Boas was a raw 18-year old teenager and the late Sir Bobby Robson was impressed by him as he did a very unlikely stint as the director of football in the British Virgin
Islands. But it was under the guidance of Jose Mourinho where he started compiling dossiers on opponents and came into prominence as he was promoted from the coaching staff of the Under-19 team of FC Porto. The young Boas followed the “Special One” to Chelsea
and he would then follow his master to Inter Milan and there, he became popular as the “director of intelligence”.
However, the prodigy had already fled the nest when Mourinho handed Inter Milan the Champions League trophy. It was clear that the enthusiastic Boas wanted to make his own name in the
footballing world rather than living under his master’s shadow. He became the coach of Academica and guided the side to safety from relegation to a mid-table finish and even took a very mediocre side to the semifinal of the Portuguese Cup.
After less than 12 months into his first head coach job, he was made the coach of an ailing Porto side. It was considered a big gamble on Dragoes part as Bruno Alves and Raul Meireles
were shipped out to Russia and England respectively. From there, the young Boas started rebuilding the side. And the results have been profound. Porto is leading the Portuguese League comfortably as they won 19 of their first 21 games. Boas has introduced
an exciting brand of football at the Estadio do Dragao, something that is definitely not associated with his mentor.
Now, Boas is widely regarded as Europe’s brightest up and coming stars in football. Juventus have already started monitoring his progress and being just 33, gives him an edge to go a long
way in becoming even better than Mourinho. A promising start to life as a coach hasn’t hurt his cause as well and sooner or later, he will surely be in the famous dugouts of some of the best clubs in Europe.