Ricardo Carvalho and his days at FC Porto
It’s always hard if you’re seen as the sidekick in a successful partnership. Ricardo Carvalho – who turns 38 today – has often had to play second fiddle to bigger names in the various teams he’s played for over the span of his career, but he’s come to be recognised as one of the best defenders to grace the football pitch over the past few years.
Carvalho first joined the club Amarante at a mere age of 11. He spent 6 years at Amarante before being brought to the FC Porto junior team in the 1996–97 season. He was promoted to the senior team in the upcoming seasons. However Carvalho made his professional debut when he was sent on loan to Leça, where he made 22 appearances. In the next season he was sent on loan to Vitória Setúbal. Even after making 25 appearances for them, he was sent on loan to Alverca.
He ultimately returned to FC Porto in the 2001-02 season but he was often left out of the starting eleven as he has the third choice behind Jorge Costa and Jorge Andrade. But his tough tackling, aerial ability, positioning and a will to get the ball helped him to break into the starting eleven and form an outstanding defensive partnership with Andrade. His induction into the starting eleven prompted club captain Jorge Costa to leave for Charlton Athletic on a five month loan spell to ensure he could get game time as he vied for a place in the international squad.
In the following year, J. Costa returned to Porto as Andrade made a move to Deportivo La Coruna in spain.