Pepe Soares

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For other people named Pepe, see Pepe (disambiguation).
Statue of José Manuel Soares

José Manuel Soares (30 January 1908 – 24 October 1931), known as Pepe, was a Portuguese footballer. He was born in Lisbon. During his brief career, he was a forward for CF Belenenses and was considered by many to be Portugal's best player.

On 16 March 1927, at age 19, he played his first game, in Lisbon, for Portugal, which won in a 4–0 victory over France, in a friendly match. Pepe scored two goals. He played 14 games for the National Team, scoring 7 goals. He was a player for Portugal during the Olympic Games football tournament in Amsterdam in 1928, the first time Portugal participated in an international competition. Portugal, after winning against Chile (4-2) and Yugoslavia (2-1), was beaten by Egypt (1-2) at the quarter-finals. Egypt later lost to Argentina in the semi-finals (6-0) an to Italy in the match for the bronze medal (11-3). Pepe's last game for Portugal was in Porto on 23 February 1930, a 2–0 win over France.

In 1931, Pepe died of food poisoning at age 23 in Lisbon. The aged Salésias Stadium in Lisbon was named in his honor and there is a statue of him at the entrance of CF Belenenses' Restelo stadium in Lisbon. It is a tradition that whenever FC Porto visits CF Belenenses for a match, the team always leaves a wreath in front of the statue before the game begins.

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