Exclusive interview with Portugal international Hugo Almeida

During the international break The South American Football Show in association with The Independent took a trip to the old continent to talk to Hugo Almeida. Portugal’s powerhouse striker told us about playing against Chile's La Roja, playing for the Special One and playing amongst Turkish Delight...


Hugo you have just played a pair of matches against Chile and Finland for Portugal. Was it good to get back home?

It’s always a pleasure for me to get the chance to spend time in Portugal and work with the national team. I enjoyed the game against Chile, I think it was the first time I had played against them and I was impressed by their quality. It was good to see both teams playing some nice football. Chile is a young team, like us, and they have lots of good international players at top clubs in Europe. I think the draw was a fair result and I look forward to playing against them again.



It was important for us to beat Finland and I was pleased to a part of the 2-0 win for the 90 minutes. It was good to have these two games this week and show the fans that we are moving in the right direction.



You have also been up close and personal with Argentina recently, how was that game for you?



Before you even play against Argentina you already know it’s going to be a top, top game. If I’m being honest though, the game was not so good for me. I missed an incredible chance in that match, the worse miss I have ever made in my career I think. The defender was stepping on my foot at the time but I still think I should have scored in that situation. As for the rest of the game, I was feeling comfortable and I always enjoy playing against the world’s best players.





Onto club football and your Besiktas team had a great 4-2 home victory before the international break. Is this a sign of better things to come from the Turkish outfit?



It was an important win over Kayserispor and I was happy to get two goals in the game. Those goals were important for the team and also for me personally. I’m a new face at Besiktas and sometimes its not so easy when you change clubs, change city and change country. Getting those two goals gives me a lot of confidence that I can get more goals for the team.



Former Real Madrid boss Bernd Schuster recently stepped down as boss of Besiktas. We want to know, what effect does it have on a player when the man who signed him leaves a club so soon after making the transfer?



It’s the first time I’ve been in this situation and yes it can be tough to deal with. I moved to Besiktas because of many reasons and the coach was one of those factors. It was because Schuster wanted me in the first place that I got my move to Besiktas. It was difficult moment when he left but we all know anything is possible in football. Life goes on and you have to put your head down and work hard for the new coach. You have to hope the new coach also has faith in your ability and will give you the opportunity to play.



Turkey’s Süper Lig is famous around the world for the intensity of the fans. How did it feel when so many fans came to meet you at the airport when you first arrived?



I really didn’t know what to do or say. The airport was full of fans that were screaming and singing songs. It’s wonderful to see because these guys really love football so much.



And what are your impressions of the overall quality in the Turkish league?



The Turkish league is strong with lots of good players and great teams. At Besiktas we have lots of quality, players like my international teammates Simao and Ricardo Quaresma. At Fenerbache they have Uruguayan captain Diego Lugano and Alex from Brazil. There are good players at every team and that makes it a competitive league. That’s one of the main reasons I enjoy playing in Turkey.



As a striker with a bit of everything you have often been asked to play as a lone striker, is this a role you enjoy?



In all seriousness, I just prefer to play. This is all I want to do, I want to play in every game I can. For me it’s no problem if I’m asked to play with a partner or alone. The important thing for me is just to play.



You’re still only 26-years-old and now we know we speak fluent English, could a move to the Premier League be on the cards?



Of course playing in England is something I would like to do. It’s a great league and I like it a lot. I can’t say what my future will bring, but yes I would like to play in England someday.



Someone who knows England and you very well is Jose Mourinho. What can you tell us about Mourinho, the manager and the man?



Jose Mourinho is special, for me he’s the best coach in the world. He’s a very intelligent man and he also gets on really well with the players. He always fights on the side of his players and this is very important. The players appreciate having a coach giving them that kind of support.



Hugo Almeida was speaking to Alejandro Pérez and Tim Sturtridge, hosts of The South American Football Show in association with The Independent. Click here for more details.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
Prince Harry is clearing enjoying the Commonwealth Games judging by this photo
people(a real one this time)
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
Your picture is everything in the shallow world of online dating
i100
Life and Style
Attractive women on the Internet: not a myth
techOkCupid boasts about Facebook-style experiments on users
Sport
Van Gaal said that his challenge in taking over Bobby Robson's Barcelona team in 1993 has been easier than the task of resurrecting the current United side
football
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on