Paulo Bento

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This name uses Portuguese naming customs. The first or maternal family name is Gomes and the second or paternal family name is Bento.
Paulo Bento
Bento coaching Portugal at Euro 2012
Personal information
Full name Paulo Jorge Gomes Bento
Date of birth (1969-06-20) 20 June 1969 (age 46)
Place of birth Lisbon, Portugal
Height 1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)
Playing position Defensive midfielder
Youth career
1982–1987 Alvalade
1987–1988 Palmense
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1988–1989 Futebol Benfica 20 (2)
1989–1991 Estrela Amadora 37 (0)
1991–1994 Vitória Guimarães 95 (13)
1994–1996 Benfica 49 (2)
1996–2000 Oviedo 136 (4)
2000–2004 Sporting CP 92 (2)
Total 429 (23)
National team
1992–2002 Portugal 35 (0)
Teams managed
2004–2005 Sporting CP (juniors)
2005–2009 Sporting CP
2010–2014 Portugal

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

† Appearances (goals)

Paulo Jorge Gomes Bento (born 20 June 1969; Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈpawlu ˈbẽtu]) is a Portuguese retired footballer and a current manager.

A defensive midfielder with tackling ability and workrate as his main assets,[1] he played for two of the major three teams in his country, amassing top division totals of 284 games and 16 goals over the course of 11 seasons, and also spent four years in Spain. He represented the Portuguese national team in one World Cup and one European Championship.

Bento took up a coaching career in 2005, managing Sporting for four years and four months, with relative success, and also being in charge of the national team in two major tournaments.

Playing career[edit]

Born in Lisbon, Bento played professionally in his homeland for C.F. Estrela da Amadora, Vitória de Guimarães and S.L. Benfica, and had a four-year abroad spell with La Liga side Real Oviedo, helping the Asturias club always maintain its top flight status before moving to Sporting Clube de Portugal, where he finished his career as a player.[2] With the latter, he was part of the star-studded team that achieved the double in 2002 under the direction of Laszlo Bölöni, contributing with 31 games and one goal in the league and playing alongside Mário Jardel and João Vieira Pinto among others.

Bento gained 35 caps for the Portuguese national team, his first game coming on 15 January 1992 in a 0–0 draw with Spain and his last being the 0–1 loss to South Korea on 14 June 2002 in the 2002 FIFA World Cup. He also played at UEFA Euro 2000 where, along with teammates Abel Xavier – who played with him at Oviedo for two seasons – and Nuno Gomes, he was suspended (in Bento's case for five months) due to bad behavior, during the semi-final loss with France.[3]

Managerial career[edit]


Bento as Sporting manager in 2009

After an emotional 2004 retirement, aged 35, Bento got the job of Sporting's youth team coach. He won the junior championship in 2005, and developed a base to the future. After the sacking of José Peseiro midway through 2005–06 season, he was promoted to first-team duties in spite of being relatively inexperienced.[4]

Despite a slow start, Bento managed an impressive turnaround of Sporting's fortunes in the second half of the campaign, as a series of ten consecutive wins placed Sporting within touching distance of leaders and eventual league champions F.C. Porto, as Sporting came second in that and the following season, achieving direct qualification to the UEFA Champions League. He was now firmly established as a top flight manager, being responsible for bringing youth products Nani, João Moutinho and Miguel Veloso into the spotlight.

In June 2007, Bento signed a two-year contract-extension.[5] Sporting had a turbulent pre-season in preparation for 2007–08, with defense mainstays Rodrigo Tello and Marco Caneira leaving the club while Portuguese international goalkeeper Ricardo was sold to Real Betis. With little resources to invest, the club brought Eastern promises – Marat Izmailov, Vladimir Stojković and Simon Vukčević – aboard.

After a very irregular season, Bento managed to lead Sporting to an unprecedented third consecutive qualification for the Champions League, with another second-place finish in spite of spending most of the season below third place, pipping Guimarães and Benfica in the final matchday. He also retained the domestic cup, beating Porto in the final (2–0 after extra time) after knocking-out eternal rivals Benfica in the last-four stage with a 5–3 triumph.

Bento's team broke a number of long-standing club records, including the first season without home defeats since 1987, the first capture of back-to-back Portuguese cups since 1974 and the first time since 1962 that Sporting finished three consecutive seasons in the top two league positions. At the age of 38 he also became only the fifth manager in the history of Portuguese football to win back-to-back Portuguese cups, alongside the likes of Janos Biri, John Mortimore or José Maria Pedroto.

On 15 July 2008, The Sun and the Daily Telegraph reported that Manchester United were planning to hire Bento (reportedly Cristiano Ronaldo's friend and former teammate) as manager Alex Ferguson's new assistant after the departure of previous number two Carlos Queiroz to manage the Portuguese national team.[6] He quickly denied any speculation, and reaffirmed his intention to stay at Sporting.[7]

In preparation for the 2008–09 season, Bento was given leeway to add a number of experienced players to his squad. In this manner, Fábio Rochemback and Caneira completed their return to Sporting, while Hélder Postiga swapped Porto for the Lisbon club; furthermore, the footballing rights for both Izmailov and Leandro Grimi were acquired, while the organization successfully fended off widespread interest in highly rated youngsters Moutinho and Veloso.

On 16 August 2008 Bento managed Sporting to a clear 2–0 victory in the Supercup over champions Porto, at the opening of the new campaign.[8] One of the players that were kept in the team despite heavy criticism, Rui Patrício, was a key element and saved a penalty from Lucho González during the second half;[9] this win raised the manager's tally in cup finals against counterpart Jesualdo Ferreira to 3–0 (2007 and 2008 Supercups, and the 2008 Portuguese Cup),[10] and it also marked the first ever capture of back-to-back Portuguese Supercups in the Lions' history, thus adding to the list of records broken during his tenure.

Already the second-most successful manager in the history of the club in terms of trophies won, only surpassed by the legendary Josef Szabo, Bento gained the nickname "Papa-Taças" (roughly translated as "cup-eater") as a consequence of the four pieces of silverware added to Sporting's cabinet under his command.[11]

On 4 November 2008 Bento led Sporting to a 1–0 home win over FC Shakhtar Donetsk, therefore mathematically securing automatic qualification for the knockout stages of the Champions League for the first time in Sporting's history. In the process his team also broke the club's record number of points in UEFA's main competition (nine) and remarkably did so with two matches to spare, becoming the first team to qualify from the group phase (alongside FC Barcelona, from the same group).[12][13]

Later, Bento also lead Sporting to break the record for most goals suffered by a team in a Champions League knockout round, after a 1–12 aggregate ousting at the hands of FC Bayern Munich at the round-of-16. In the league another second place to Porto befell, with the season also featuring the controversial League Cup final loss against Benfica, on penalties.[14]

That heavy Champions League ousting marked the beginning of fan discontentment towards Bento, especially regarding the team's playing style (which was perceived as becoming dull and unattractive)[15] continued until the end of the campaign, where presidential elections were held. Supported by the winning candidate José Eduardo Bettencourt, he signed a two-year contract extension; in spite of maintaining the same base squad and adding the talent of Matías Fernández or Felipe Caicedo, Sporting was unable to start the new season brightly: knocked out in the Champions League playoff round by ACF Fiorentina on away goals,[16] the club's form slumped quickly and after nine matches the Lions found themselves mired in seventh place, 12 points behind leaders S.C. Braga.

After a 1–1 home draw in the UEFA Europa League group stage against Latvian side FK Ventspils on 5 November 2009, and facing considerable pressure to step down, Bento resigned as manager of Sporting.[17][18] His spell was the second-longest in the history of the club, and was marked by a strong style but also by a cult of more defensive approaches to the game.


Bento at a press conference in 2011.

On 20 September 2010, following Queiroz's dismissal after a poor start to the Euro 2012 qualifying campaign, Bento was named his successor, initially until the last match of that stage.[19] His first game in charge came on 8 October, a 3–1 win against Denmark in Porto.[20]

On 17 November Portugal defeated World Cup champions Spain 4–0 in Lisbon, imposing the largest defeat to its Iberian neighbours since 13 June 1963 (2–6 against Scotland, in another friendly).[21] He led the national team to the Euro 2012 semifinals in Poland and Ukraine, where it narrowly lost to eventual champions Spain on penalties.[22]

After a second-place finish in Group F in the 2014 World Cup qualifiers, Bento led Portugal to a 4–2 aggregate win over Sweden in the playoffs, securing a spot at the finals in Brazil.[23] On 9 April 2014 he extended his contract until after Euro 2016,[24] but the national team exited in the World Cup's group stage in spite of a 2–1 success against Ghana in the last match, with the United States progressing on goal difference instead.[25]

On 11 September 2014, after the Euro 2016 qualifying campaign began with a 0–1 home defeat to Albania, the Portuguese Football Federation announced Bento's dismissal.[26]

Managerial statistics[edit]

As of 11 September 2014.
Team From To Record
G W D L GF GA GD Win %
Sporting 21 October 2005[4] 5 November 2009[17] 229 139 51 39 258 181 +77 60.70
Portugal 21 September 2010[19] 11 September 2014 44 24 11 9 85 48 +37 54.55
Career totals 273 163 62 48 343 229 +114 59.71



Estrela Amadora





  1. ^ Euro 2000 profile; BBC Sport
  2. ^ Bento to join Sporting Lisbon; BBC Sport, 30 May 2000
  3. ^ UEFA suspends Portuguese trio; BBC Sport, 2 July 2000
  4. ^ a b "Paulo Bento handed Sporting chance". 21 October 2005. Retrieved 12 February 2013. 
  5. ^ Bento refreshes Sporting ties;, 12 June 2007
  6. ^ Lawless, Matt (15 July 2008). "Manchester United turn to Cristiano Ronaldo friend in search for new assistant". London: The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 18 August 2008. 
  7. ^ "Bento rejects Red Devils talk". Sky Sports. 15 July 2008. Retrieved 18 August 2008. 
  8. ^ "Djalo fires Sporting to Supercup win". PortuGOAL. 18 August 2008. Retrieved 18 August 2008. [dead link]
  9. ^ "Sporting beat Porto in Portuguese Super Cup". ESPN Soccernet. 17 August 2008. Retrieved 17 August 2008. 
  10. ^ "Paulo Bento imparável" [Paulo Bento unstoppable] (in Portuguese). Record. 17 August 2008. Retrieved 17 August 2008. 
  11. ^ "Paulo Bento aceita a alcunha "papa-taças": "É bom sinal"" [Bento accepts "Papa-taças" nickname: "It's a good sign"] (in Portuguese). Diário IOL. 16 August 2008. Retrieved 16 August 2008. 
  12. ^ "Bento basks in Sporting success". Retrieved 4 November 2008. 
  13. ^ "Derlei sparks Sporting celebrations". Retrieved 4 November 2008. 
  14. ^ "Quim the hero of Benfica triumph". 21 March 2009. Retrieved 6 November 2009. 
  15. ^ "Crise no Sporting: todos admitem, poucos assumem e ninguem reage" [Sporting crisis: all admit, few acknowledge, none react] (in Portuguese). IOnline. 6 October 2009. Archived from the original on 7 October 2009. Retrieved 15 January 2016. 
  16. ^ "Viola find edge to go through". Retrieved 4 November 2009. 
  17. ^ a b "Paulo Bento demitiu-se" [Paulo Bento resigned] (in Portuguese). Record. 6 November 2009. Retrieved 6 November 2009. 
  18. ^ "Bento calls time on Sporting tenure". 6 November 2009. Retrieved 6 November 2009. 
  19. ^ a b "Portugal confirm appointment of Paulo Bento". ESPN Soccernet. 21 September 2010. Retrieved 10 February 2011. 
  20. ^ "Denmark defeated on Bento's Portugal debut". 9 October 2010. Retrieved 9 June 2011. 
  21. ^ "Portugal 4–0 Spain". ESPN Star. 18 November 2010. Retrieved 9 June 2011. 
  22. ^ "Spain survive test of nerve to reach final". 27 June 2012. Retrieved 28 June 2012. 
  23. ^ "Sweden 2–3 Portugal". BBC Sport. 19 November 2013. Retrieved 9 April 2014. 
  24. ^ "Paulo Bento extends Portugal stay". ESPN FC. 9 April 2014. Retrieved 9 April 2014. 
  25. ^ "Ronaldo downs Ghana but Portugal crash out". 26 June 2014. Retrieved 27 June 2014. 
  26. ^ "Comunicado" [Announcement] (in Portuguese). FPF. 11 September 2014. Retrieved 11 September 2014. 

External links[edit]