Big Three (Portugal)

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The Big Three (Portuguese: Os Três Grandes) is the nickname of the three most successful sport clubs in Portugal.[1] The football teams of S.L. Benfica and Sporting CP, both from Lisbon, and of FC Porto, from Porto, have a great rivalry and are usually the main contenders for the Primeira Liga title. They share all but two of the Portuguese Football Championships ever played, and generally end up sharing the top three positions. None of them have been relegated from the Primeira Liga either, having been participants in all editions since its first season in 1934–35. Benfica's lowest position was 6th in 2000–01, while Porto's 9th-place finish in 1969–70 makes the closest any side has come to relegation. Sporting's worst classification was the 7th place in 2012–13.

The only two clubs outside the Big Three to have won the Portuguese league are Belenenses, in the 1945–46 season, and Boavista, in the 2000–01 campaign.

The three-way rivalry[edit]

Benfica vs. Sporting:

Benfica vs. Porto:

Porto vs. Sporting:


League placements[edit]

Club 1st 2nd 3rd
Benfica 36 27 15
Porto 27 26 13
Sporting 18 21 27

Footballers who have played for the three clubs[edit]

Eight footballers have played for Benfica, Porto and Sporting. Of those, only Eurico Gomes has been champion in all three (twice with each). Additionally, Eurico is also the only player to enter this list without having played for another club in-between the Big Three career.[2]

  • Portugal Carlos Alhinho (Sporting CP 1972–1975, Porto 1976, Benfica 1976–1977 & 1978–1981)
  • Portugal Eurico Gomes (Benfica 1975–1979, Sporting CP 1979–1982, Porto 1982–1987)
  • Portugal Romeu Silva (Benfica 1975–1977, Porto 1979–1983, Sporting CP 1983–1986)
  • Portugal Paulo Futre (Sporting CP 1983–1984, Porto 1984–1987, Benfica 1993)
  • Portugal Fernando Mendes (Sporting CP 1985–1989, Benfica 1989–1991 & 1992–1993, Porto 1996–1999)
  • Portugal Emílio Peixe (Sporting CP 1991–1995 & 1996–1997, Porto 1997–2002, Benfica 2002–2003)
  • Brazil Derlei (Porto 2002–2005, Benfica 2007, Sporting CP 2007–2009)
  • Portugal Maniche (Benfica 1995–1996 & 1999–2002, Porto 2002–2005, Sporting CP 2010–2011)

Managers who managed all three clubs[edit]

  • Brazil Otto Glória (Benfica 1954–1959 & 1968–1970, Sporting CP 1961 & 1965–1966, Porto 1964–1965)
  • Chile Fernando Riera (Benfica 1962–1963 & 1966–1968, Porto 1972–1973, Sporting CP 1974–1975)
  • Portugal Fernando Santos (Porto 1998–2001, Sporting CP 2003–2004, Benfica 2006–2007)
  • Portugal Jesualdo Ferreira (Benfica 2001–2003, Porto 2006–2010, Sporting CP 2013)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "“Sou o único campeão pelos três grandes. Em Inglaterra seria um herói, aqui sou um desempregado”" (in Portuguese). Expresso. 29 April 2016. Retrieved 16 May 2017. 
  2. ^ "Futebol: Maniche faz o pleno dos três grandes em Portugal" (in Portuguese). Jornal Mundo Português. 12 September 2010. Retrieved 16 May 2017.