Ricardo Rocha (footballer, born 1978)
|Full name||Ricardo Sérgio Rocha Azevedo|
|Date of birth||3 October 1978|
|Place of birth||Santo Tirso, Portugal|
|Height||1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
After starting out professionally with Braga he signed for Benfica in late 2001, going on to appear in 157 official games with the latter club. He spent the vast majority of his remaining career in England, with Tottenham Hotspur and Portsmouth, competing in three Premier League seasons overall.
Rocha was born in Santo Tirso, Porto District. Having made a name for himself with perennial UEFA Cup qualification candidates S.C. Braga and making his first division debuts during the 1999–2000 season, he moved to S.L. Benfica in December 2001, along with teammates Armando Sá and Tiago (in Rocha's case the move was made official in June of the following year), and eventually developed into a fierce stopper with good marking ability.
During his four-and-a-half seasons with the Lisbon club, Rocha made a total of 157 appearances and scored three goals, which included 33 games in European competitions. He added 25 matches in the 2004–05 league campaign, as it ended an 11-year drought and conquered the national championship.
On 28 March 2006, Rocha had a widely lauded performance in the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals first leg against eventual champions FC Barcelona, marking Ronaldinho out of the game in a 0–0 home draw and 0–2 aggregate loss.
On 17 January 2007, stories hit the Portuguese and English media confirming that a move to Tottenham Hotspur was a possibility. The following day, Portuguese newspapers reported that the move was imminent following a meeting in Lisbon between Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy, former Tottenham player turned agent Ronny Rosenthal and the Benfica president, with a price of €5 million (£3.2m) plus two friendlies between the clubs, with Benfica receiving all profits from the gate receipts and television money, being arranged.
Rocha was signed by Tottenham for an undisclosed fee thought to be around £3.3 million on a three-and-half-year deal, on 23 January 2007. He played his first game on 27 January in the 3–1 win over Southend United in the FA Cup fourth round, in place of captain Ledley King who was injured at the time; on 10 February he made his first Premier League appearance for the Spurs, against Sheffield United.
On 31 August 2009 Rocha moved to Belgium with Standard Liège, on a one-year deal. However, his contract was terminated on 30 January 2010; on 1 February he returned to England, signing a two-year deal with Portsmouth and making his debut in a 0–5 defeat at Manchester United five days later.
Rocha was sent off in his next two Portsmouth games, against Sunderland on 9 February and late-on in his return game against Burnley, on the 27th. Things improved for the defender when he put in a Man of the match performance in Portsmouth's FA Cup semi-final victory over former club Spurs.
In the 2010 summer Portsmouth offered Rocha a new contract, and, on 4 September, he re-signed with the club, with the two-year deal being officially confirmed by the team six days later. He was sent off in two consecutive games, against Reading (0–2 loss) and Cardiff City (0–3 defeat), finishing the season with 29 league appearances as his team ranked in 16th position.
In his second season at Portsmouth Rocha, along with Dave Kitson, fell out of favor with Steve Cotterill, but the manager left for Nottingham Forest in mid-October 2011. He was awarded the team's Player of the Season award, but the side was relegated to Football League One; at the end of the campaign, and upon the expiry of his contract, he was released.
In September 2012 Rocha went on trial at Ipswich Town, but nothing came of it. On 6 October, Leeds United announced that the 34-year-old had been trialling with the club for a period of ten days. On 19 November, however, he re-signed for Portsmouth on an initial one-month contract, extending his link for another one month in January.
Rocha's future with Pompey appeared to be in doubt after he claimed that he had no contract offer from the club. Additionally, manager Guy Whittingham stated that he refused to rule out giving the player a new deal.
Despite the end of his contract, Rocha expressed desire to make a return to Portsmouth, but left the club in July after both parties were unable to reach an agreement. Chairman Iain McInnes explained his returned had scuppered, due to wanting a role for "off-the-field role on top of a playing deal by becoming the club's director of football."
After making his debut for Portugal on 20 November 2002 against Scotland, Rocha returned for a friendly with Denmark and a UEFA Euro 2008 qualifier against Finland after a three-year absence, as he was not a regular starter at Benfica then.
- Player of The Season 2011–12
- "Ronaldinho's shadow back again". UEFA.com. 5 April 2006. Retrieved 20 April 2010.
- "Spurs snap up Portugal star Rocha". BBC Sport. 23 January 2007.
- "Spurs defender wants to leave". Epping Forest Guardian. 14 May 2008.
- "Rocha exits Spurs". Sky Sports. 1 June 2009. Retrieved 1 June 2009.
- "Standard snap up free agent Rocha". UEFA.com. 1 September 2009. Retrieved 20 April 2010.
- "Portsmouth sign former Spurs defender". Ontheminute. 3 February 2010. Retrieved 3 February 2010.
- "Man United 5–0 Portsmouth". BBC Sport. 6 February 2010. Retrieved 6 February 2010.
- "Portsmouth 1–1 Sunderland". BBC Sport. 9 February 2010. Retrieved 9 February 2010.
- "Burnley 1–2 Portsmouth". BBC Sport. 27 February 2010. Retrieved 27 February 2010.
- "Portuguese man-of-war Rocha dedicates victory to fans". The News. 12 April 2010.
- "Portsmouth move to re-sign Portuguese defender Rocha". Tribal Football. 3 September 2010.
- "Lawrence, Kitson & Rocha can kick start our season". Vital Pompey. 4 September 2010.
- "Pompey sign Kanu and Rocha". Portsmouth F.C. 10 September 2010.
- "Steve Cotterill exit has united Portsmouth, says Dave Kitson". BBC Sport. 19 October 2011. Retrieved 21 January 2012.
- "Ricardo Rocha named Pompey Player of the Year". Portsmouth F.C. 26 April 2012. Retrieved 7 September 2013.
- "Trio exit Fratton Park". Portsmouth F.C. 21 May 2012. Archived from the original on 24 May 2012. Retrieved 26 July 2014.
- "Former Tottenham defender Ricardo Rocha on trial with Ipswich". Sky Sports. 25 September 2012. Retrieved 26 July 2014.
- "Running the rule over Ricardo". Leeds United. 6 October 2012. Archived from the original on 8 October 2012. Retrieved 6 October 2012.
- "Rocha rejoins Pompey". Portsmouth F.C. 19 November 2012. Archived from the original on 28 November 2012. Retrieved 19 November 2012.
- "Rocha agrees to stay at Pompey". Portsmouth F.C. 23 January 2013. Retrieved 26 July 2014.
- "No stateside move for Rocha". Portsmouth F.C. 2 May 2013. Retrieved 26 July 2014.
- "Guy: We're not ruling out Sodje or Rocha". Portsmouth F.C. 16 May 2013. Retrieved 26 July 2014.
- "Rocha commits to Pompey as Guy waits on budget". Portsmouth News. 30 July 2013. Retrieved 26 July 2014.
- "Rocha not returning". Portsmouth F.C. 30 July 2013. Archived from the original on 26 July 2014. Retrieved 26 July 2014.
- "Pompey chief lifts lid on failed Rocha return". Portsmouth F.C. 6 August 2013. Retrieved 26 July 2014.
- "Sílvio é o 14.º a estrear-se com Agostinho Oliveira" [Sílvio is debutant number 14 with Agostinho Oliveira] (in Portuguese). Record. 7 September 2010. Retrieved 12 June 2015.
- "Portugal answer Martins' prayers". UEFA.com. 22 August 2006. Retrieved 28 May 2014.
- "Ricardo Rocha". Soccerway. Retrieved 12 June 2015.
- "Ricardo Rocha". Footballdatabase. Retrieved 12 June 2015.
- Including Football League Trophy, UEFA Champions League and UEFA Cup