If you are a football fan like me and going to be holidaying in Portugal why not take in a match at at one of the three biggest clubs in Europe Porto in the north and the two Lisbon cubs of Sporting or Benfica.

The founders of Sporting Lisbon 1906

Everyone associates Benfica with Eusebio who without question is one of the greatest players of all time scoring 727 times in 715 appearances for Benfica and won the Golden Boot award with his nine goals for Portugal in the 1966 World Cup.

If it was up to me though, and I could only go and watch one match it would be to go and see Sporting Lisbon. My main reason for going to watch Sporting would be to see the Dutch ace Ricky van Wolfswinkle play. Manchester City Manager Roberto Mancini was so impressed by the youngster that he wants to sign him for his club, but he had better be quick as the 21-year-old also has also been rumoured to be going to the Citizens cross town rivals Manchester United.

With the striker expected to play well for Holland in this summer’s Euro’s both teams will be keen on getting his signature before the tournament kicks off in the Ukraine, and Poland this coming June with the opening match in Warsaw on the 8th of June.

Like many of the big European clubs they were founded as a multi-sport club but of course are mainly known for football.
A bit of trivia for you is that Sporting have more trophies in their cabinet (13,000) than any other club in Europe except for the Catalan giants Barcelona. Sporting has a history of producing good players through their youth football academy, which is considered to be one of the best in the world, with names such as Luis Figo, Nani, and Cristiano Ronaldo.

The club was officially founded in 1906 by Jose Avalade for whom the stadium where they play is named after. His famous quote when founding the club was “We want this Club to be a great club, as great as the greatest in Europe.” Sporting goes by the nickname of the Leoes (Lions) by their fans, but are also known as the Green and Whites because of their home kit colours.

Getting a ticket to a match can be very expensive for the big matches so if you plan to go expect to pay anywhere from 60 to 100 Euro’s a ticket. If they happen to be playing a smaller club you can pick up tickets for around 25 Euro’s. The best place to buy if you can negotiate the Clubs website is online http://www.sporting.pt/ or failing that you can buy them at the stadium. For accommodation for your trip, villas in Portugal offer excellent value and are highly recommended, especially if you plan to stay for a week or longer.

If actually going to see a match is a little too expensive tours of the ground, and it’s museum are available for a more modest 8€ which includes a tour of the stadium, and entrance to the museum. Tours are at 11:30 14:30 and 16:00.

The Estadio Jose Alvalade was built for the 2004 for the European Championships, and has a capacity of 50,049 seats. The stadium is easy to get too located in the north of the city seven kilometres from the centre. If you are driving take the E1 motorway to exit 5 Campo Grande. If you are getting around on public transport take the metro green line north and get off at Campo Grande which is right outside the stadium.



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