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Benedict McCarthy

Benedict McCarthy
 
Complete Name: Benedict Benni McCarthy
Nationality: South African
Place of Birth: Kaapstad, South africa
Date of Birth: 12/11/1977
Height: 182 cm
Weight: ?????
National Team: South Africa
Current Club: FC Porto (Portugal)
Position: Striker
 

Pictures

Picture 1 Picture 2 Picture 3

Club career history

Seven Stars (South Africa), Ajax Amsterdam (Holland), Cape Town (South Africa), Ajax Amsterdam (Holland), Celta Vigo (Spain), FC Porto (Portugal), Celta Vigo (Spain), FC Porto (Portugal)
 

Honours

1998
Amstel Cup
Dutch League
Dutch Supercup
African Nations Cup Golden Boot
MVP for African Nations Cup

1999
Amstel Cup

2004
UEFA Champions League
Portuguese League
Portuguese Super Cup
Portuguese League Golden Boot
 

Biography

Benedict McCarthy, known as Benni McCarthy, born 12 November 1977 in Cape Town, South Africa is a professional footballer, currently playing for Portuguese side FC Porto and the South Africa national football team.

Playing for Seven Stars, the 18-year old McCarthy scored 27 goals in 29 games in the 1995/96 season, followed by another 12 goals in 20 matches, which earned him a transfer to Cape Town Spurs which two years later merged with Seven Stars to form Ajax Amsterdam farm team Ajax Cape Town. In 1997, after an impressive showing at the African Youth Cup he joined the Dutch side, where he scored 9 goals and was crowned champion in his first season. After a relatively successful 1998/99 season he was sold to Spanish side Celta Vigo for a sum reported to be over €6M, at the time the most expensive transfer for a South African player.

Although regarded as one of the best African players at the time, McCarthy never established himself as a regular choice for Celta Vigo's manager, Víctor Fernández. After two poor seasons at the Galician club, he was loaned to struggling FC Porto in the 2001-02season where he soon rediscovered the form that took him to Europe. At Porto he played under the then newly-appointed coach José Mourinho, and an underperforming team that was who were never quite good enough to challenge for the top honours in Europe. That would soon change. Before he became a regular in the team he had to represent Bafana Bafana in the 2002 African Nations Cup. After returning from the national duty where his side were knocked out in the semi finals he returned to Porto. There he was the main force behind the team's recovery which got them to third place in the league and automatic qualification for the UEFA Cup, scoring an impressive 12 goals in only 10 matches, but Porto's finances did not allow them to keep the player, despite the desire of both sides to continue.

In 2002-03 he returned to Celta Vigo but spent a lot of time on the bench where he was seen more as squad player. At the same time Porto captured the League Cup in Portugal and the UEFA Cup. When former teammate Hélder Postiga was sold to English side Tottenham Hotspur in the 2003-2004 season, Porto acquired the funds to buy McCarthy for a sum of €3.5 M.

At his return, he not only found club morale at its highest for years, but also a highly organized team with some of the best Portuguese players. He managed to grab the golden boot award (with 20 goals in 23 games) at the final day with a terrific hat-trick, and was instrumental in Porto's superb run in the 2004 UEFA Champions League, which they won. Notably, he was responsible for scoring two goals against Manchester United to defeat them in the second round.
As Mourinho left and was (shortly) replaced by Italian coach Luigi Del Neri, McCarthy thought of leaving for the Premier League, but the two years left in his contract remained a problem. When the Italian was fired and replaced by his former Celta coach Fernandez (who he said he'd rather quit playing than be coached again) he tried to pressure Porto to sell him to Everton F.C., who had sold Wayne Rooney to Manchester United and needed a replacement. Porto refused, and the tension between both seemingly vanished as Fernandez praised McCarthy as a world class striker. Despite this thawing of relations, rumours continue to abound as to which Premiership club McCarthy will find himself at eventually, with West Ham United and Blackburn Rovers being mooted as possible destinations.

The 1998 Football World Cup in France was the debut of South Africa's national football team, and McCarthy (then on Ajax) was presented as one of the key players. After a no-chance 3-0 loss against future World Champions France, South Africa played their second game against Denmark. Trailing since the 13th minute, McCarthy tied the game 1-1 at the passage of the 52nd minute, scoring the first goal of the South African national team on a final stage and giving a chance for qualification. However, the third game also resulted on a draw (against Saudi Arabia), which left the South Africans in third place and outside the competition.

In the Korea/Japan World Cup he saw history repeating. After a 2-goal draw against Paraguay, followed by a 1-0 win over the Slovenians, in the last game against Spain his 30th minute equalizer was not enough, and the 2-3 defeat meant another third place in the group stage.

Although there was much conflict over his participation in national team matches (whose interests often collide with the clubs'), and actually left after the 2002 World Cup, he returned to the national team in 2004. As of October 2005, he and Shaun Bartlett are joint leading goalscorers for the national team with 28 each. (Since both are still active, the lead may yet change several times.)
 

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