March 28, 2023

Preud’homme, the man who shone in goal and never forgets Luz – Benfica

The Belgian regrets only one thing about the five seasons he spent with an eagle on his chest

• Photo: Marques Valentim

He left feeling that he only sinned… because he arrived late. Or at the end of your career. Michel Preud’homme donned his gloves again – 22 years after he first donned them professionally – in the service of Benfica, believing that, in that year 1999, the time was right as he was still almost at his peak. his abilities. So much so that shortly after he started his career as a coach. Now away from football, the Belgian started the Eagles’ meeting with a club he also knows well, Club Brugge, and showed that as the years go by… don’t forget Luz, where he arrived with the status of the best goalkeeper in the world . World’94.

“60 percent of the Portuguese population is from Benfica”

It is golf that is dedicated, for now, to the man who mesmerized Benfica fans with his goal-scoring talents. Tenerife-based Preud’homme, aged 64, was asked yesterday in an interview with TV channel Proximus about the Eagles’ ability to launch young talent. “We also do well with our young people,” he countered and emphasized: “You know that 60 percent of the Portuguese population is from Benfica. So if the club calls you when you’re still a kid… That’s a huge potential. In addition, Portugal is the ideal country for South American talent. The climate is similar and the mentality too. Belgium doesn’t have that advantage.”

Seeing what a club he managed from 2013 to 2017 is doing, Preud’homme took the opportunity, in the same interview, to ask Scott Parker for time “until the end of the season”. “He’s looking for defensive stability, which has been missing in recent years. The club won because he was very strong offensively, but he needs to find a balance. Parker is trying to solve that,” argued the former Belgium-listed keeper to take over as coach, but who preferred to remain in retirement after leaving St. Liege, in July 2021.

Get to know Club Brugge well

From wearing gloves… to a suit and tie

Michel let go of Luz slowly. From the nets, after announcing the end of his career, he took on the role of advisor for Benfica’s international affairs. In 2000 he would end up bidding farewell to Lisbon and after five seasons with an eagle on his chest, he was left with a bitter aftertaste for failing to lift a trophy. Summing up his time with the Reds, Preud’homme said goodbye to the fact that he was not a champion, but revealed that he did not suffer because of it. “I just won a Cup [1996]which was also marred by a serious incident [ndr: caso do “vary-light”]. But what remains is the commitment in difficult times. In good times, it’s easy to be professional.” Remember that the Belgian goalkeeper was, until recently, the most capped foreign goalkeeper (198) for Benfica, before Vlachodimos overtook him (today he plays 206).

Back in Belgium, he admitted he took Benfica and Portugal to heart. “My position was not necessary for the club and I earned good money. I had many invitations from Standard Liege and other clubs and I always said ‘no’ because I did not want to leave Benfica. But now I have spoken to the management of the club and “António Simões and I thought it was the right time. But nobody asked me to leave. We can’t just stay put,” explained the Belgian.

His banking career began at Standard Liège (2000/01 to 2007/08), continued at Gent (2008/09 and 2009/10), traveled to the Netherlands to coach Twente (in 2010/11), moved further afield, in Saudi Arabia, coach of Al-Shabaab (2011/12 to 2013/14), then returned to Belgium to take charge of Club Brugge (2013/14 to 2016/17) and finally back to Standard Liège (2018/19) and 2019/20). ). Many times he was considered the coach of the year in the country that saw him born.

He left feeling that he only sinned… because he arrived late. Or at the end of your career. Michel Preud’homme left his gloves – 22 years after he first wore them professionally – at…

By Rita Pedroso


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