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Vitor Baia

Vitor Baia
 
Complete Name: Vítor Manuel Martins Baía
Nationality: Portuguese
Place of Birth: Afurada, Vila Nova de Gaia - Portugal
Date of Birth: October, 15, 1969
Height: 186 cm
Weight: 80 kg
National Team: Portugal
Current Club: FC Porto (Portugal)
Position: Goalkeeper
 

Pictures

Picture 1 Picture 2 Picture 3

Club career history

FC Porto (Portugal), FC Barcelona (Spain), FC Porto (Portugal)
 

Honours

8 Portuguese national league championships (89/90, 91/92, 92/93, 93/94, 95/96, 98/99, 02/03, 03/04)
4 Portuguese cups (90/91, 93/94, 99/00, 02/03)
6 Portuguese supercups (89/90, 90/91, 92/93, 93/94, 02/03, 03/04)
1 Spanish national league championship (97/98)
2 Spanish cups (96/97, 97/98)
1 Spanish supercup (97/98)
1 UEFA Cup Winner's Cup (96/97)
1 UEFA Cup (02/03)
1 UEFA Champions League Cup (03/04)
1 FIFA Intercontinental Cup (04)
 

Biography

Vítor Baía, (born 15 October 1969 in São Pedro da Afurada, Portugal), nicknamed "Vítor Baliza" (Portuguese for goalmouth), is a professional footballer.

A FC Porto trainee, Baía debuted at 19 years of age (after being advised to quit after an arm injury when only sixteen) replacing ECC winner Josef Mlynarczyk, who had fractured his shoulder during training. However, in order to grab his first team place he resigned from playing in the 1989 Football World Youth Championship after being deliberately placed in the injure list, which led to much criticism over him in his upcoming national team career. He was the U-21 National Team goalkeeper, and had is debut for the main National Team, at 19 December 1990, in a 1-0 win over USA, in a friendly match. He went to have 78 caps for the "Selecção" until 2002. He played all the games in the Euro Cup 1996 and 2000 finals (except one in this last one) and in the World Cup 2002 finals.

Hailed as goalkeeper with enormous talent, Baía captured five first division titles and achieved the Portuguese record of most minutes unbeaten with 1191 minutes before departing with Bobby Robson to FC Barcelona in 96-97. While he only missed one Spanish Liga game in his first season and captured a Cup Winners' Cup, he had severe knee problems which ruled him out for the next two seasons. Under team guidance of coach Louis Van Gaal he was excluded from the team in favour of Ruud Hesp, and was loaned in mid-season back to FC Porto in the 98-99 season, filling the goalkeeper spot some said he had "haunted" since his departure, as several goalkeepers failed to convince in that position. Upon his return to FCPorto, Baia dropped his number 1 jersey and picked the 99, the year of his return.

Just as his career seemed back on track, he was injured again halfway during the 99-00 season. He had surgery in mid 2000 on his knees and never got in shape again, and had metallic plates inserted to avoid limping. Baia only returned late in the 01-02 season, after a couple of tests in FC Porto "B" side, but still in time to play in the 2002 World Cup.

Fit at the start of the season for the first time since 1999, Baía (now with a less flamboyant but more effective style) had to not only prove he was capable of handling the pressure, but to impress new national team coach Luiz Felipe Scolari. Only a few weeks into the Superliga he had a disagreement with coach José Mourinho, which cost him the goalkeeper spot. After he apologized for the incident, he had one of the most impressive seasons of his career, winning his second European trophy, seventh league trophy and fourth cup.

However, despite winning a second Superliga title and the 2004 UEFA Champions League and being chosen by UEFA as the 2004 best goalkeeper in Europe, Baía was not called up again, and Scolari left him out of the Euro 2004 final 23 call-up. Seems unlikely that he will return to the National Team if Scolari remains as manager for much more time.

With the 3-0 FC Porto victory over AS Monaco in the 2004 UEFA Champions League he became the first Portuguese player to capture a Grand Slam (winning the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Cup and Cup Winners' Cup), a select group which Baía joins as only the tenth member.

After the failure in the 2002 World Cup, coach António Oliveira was sacked. In his place, Luiz Felipe Scolari was called, and Baía, a stalwart for the past 10 years, was ditched. Although for the first games it looked a result of the 2002 World Cup (Baía was a frequent scapegoat for national team bad results), with the poor goalkeeping during the Euro 2004 preparation matches the question was raised (mostly by FC Porto fans), and while for many Baía should have been called, for others he should have quit the national team himself by 2002. Scolari always refused to comment on Baía, which led to further heated discussions in the public square.

While it looked like a result of Scolari's stubbornness, more recently it was revealed weeks before the start of the tournament that Baía was the only player serving as a witness for Oliveira against the FPF. Some claim that Scolari had included the goalkeeper name in the final 23, but was forced to remove him. This claim is unsupported.

It is still unclear if Baía was dropped for playing reasons, stubbornness or Gilberto Madaíl's (the National Football Association president) order, and will probably remain a mystery as long as Scolari is in charge.
 

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