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Nuno Gomes Interviewed

At euro2000.org they've just interviewed Nuno Gomes. They just keep talking about us! Definitely, we're rocking!!!!!

Thu 22 June

Life is sweet for Nuno Gomes

You would have thought Nuno Miguel Soares Pereira Ribeiro had more than enough names to be going on with without adding one more. But to the SL Benfica fans he is known simply as Nuno Gomes, and by the end of EURO 2000™ it is a name that might be very familiar to one or two defenders and many fans outside of his native Portugal.
First for his country
When the 23-year-old striker with the long black hair and pop-star looks struck the winner for Portugal against England in their opening match of the tournament, it was a goal that meant even more than three valuable points. Despite scoring 42 goals in 68 games for Benfica over the past two seasons, the goal against England was his first for his country on his 13th appearance.

Missing link
With Portugal still searching for the missing link in attack, his technically proficient finish could not have been better timed. The injury to Sá Pinto gave Nuno Gomes his chance against England and now he can expect to start the quarter-final against Turkey in Amsterdam. The morning after Portugal had beaten Germany 3-0 in Rotterdam to finish their group matches with three wins out of three, Nuno Gomes and his team-mates were even more relaxed than usual.
"It was very important for me to score my first goal for Portugal," he said. "There was a lot of pressure from the journalists for me to score, and to score in my first game here at EURO 2000™ I think was a good response. It was a nice start for me."

Unassuming character
Nuno took the "Gomes" nickname from his idol Fernando Gomes, the former FC Porto striker. He comes across as an intelligent, unassuming character as befits a young man who likes to read the works of Jose Saramago, the first writer in the Portuguese language to win the Nobel prize for literature. He was born in Amarante, a small town between Lisbon and Porto, and began his professional career with the Porto-based FC Boavista. At 21 he signed for the most famous club in the land, and despite Benfica's struggles in the past couple of years Nuno Gomes has enhanced his reputation as a goal-getter.

Answer to attacking problem
But at international level, he has taken time to get going. "In the national team you have to play more for the team, marking is tighter and you get fewer opportunities," he explains. "The nature of Portuguese players is technical and offensive and we don't really like to play as traditional centre-forwards. I actually prefer to play just behind the main striker, as the link man, but young players have to learn how to play in that position. I can't say whether I am the answer to Portugal's centre-forward problem but I will try to be that guy."

Own ambitions secondary
Nuno Gomes is a big fan of the Irish rock group U2 and is in the process of launching his own website but, not surprisingly, he has had little time for that lately and all his thoughts now are directed towards the Amsterdam ArenA on Saturday.
"We are confident, and if we play our best I think we have the chance to go through. But it will be a very hard game. Turkey have a very beautiful team, we saw them beat Belgium on TV and we will have to work hard if we want to win." As for Nuno Gomes, he insists his own ambitions are of secondary importance to the team as a whole. "I hope we can win, no matter who scores. I don't think about me scoring. All I think about is that Portugal have a chance of making the final. We will try hard to get there but we will need luck too."

[Edited by Game Rod on 23-06-2000 at 03:18]
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