Do you know much about him? Even if you do, Goal.com thought of introducing you to one of the youngest managers in world football, who has never played football professionally – Luís André de Pina Cabral e Villas-Boas.
In case you are wondering and find his name too long and hard to digest, we would suggest that you deal with it because it is a name that you may hear for years to come. The 34-year-old Portuguese was named as the successor to the former Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp at White Hart Lane on Tuesday.
Villas-Boas comes from a wealthy family background and is married with two children.
2. The British Connection:
He speaks perfect English, a language that he learned from his grandmother Margaret Kendall, whose mother was a British national and moved to Portugal to start a wine business in the early half of the 20th century.
3. Sports Journalism Dream:
Like most kids in Europe, Villas-Boas wanted to play football professionally but realizing through his early teens that he wasn’t good enough to play at the highest level, he planned a career in sports journalism before a meeting with the then-Porto manager Sir Bobby Robson made his future plans go right down the gutter.
4. Sir Bobby’s Influence:
During his mid-teens, Villas-Boas noticed that FC Porto’s manager Sir Bobby, who was also a friend of his granny, was living in the same building as him. Porto was a club that he supported. In fact it fascinated him so much that he went to the legendary manager’s flat to meet and explain him why his selections were wrong.
Sir Bobby has always been quick to spot talent and here was another example as the former English international offered the youngster a chance to the join his coaching set-up. As Villas-Boas says himself, “He liked my passion so he helped me to enroll at Lilleshall. I shouldn't really have been there, because the law doesn't allow a minor to take qualifications. I was the youngest coach there by a mile, but I was so determined to make it that it didn't bother me.”
5. UEFA 'C' Licence Holder (aged 17):
Villas-Boas achieved his UEFA 'C' coaching license at a tender footballing age of 17 in Scotland; probably the youngest in history to do so and probably the youngest who will ever be. After achieving such a feat, the young Portuguese was known as a ‘Coaching Prodigy’.
6. Technical Director aged 21:
Aged 21, Villas-Boas became the British Virgin Islands' technical director of football in year 2000. He was sensationally in charge of the country for two matches, one of them being a loss 14-1 to Bermuda during qualifying round for the 2002 World Cup.
7. Naughty (well…smart):
When he was handed the British Virgin Islands’ job, guess what! The country was unaware that the Portuguese was only 21. He didn’t help the cause either by keeping mum. He only broke the silence, letting the officials and the FA know, when they had removed him from the post. Anyone thinking of Frank Abagnale Jr, eh? Well, it was certainly not of the same extent of fraud, but in terms of smartness, yes.
8. Working Under Jose Mourinho:
Two years later, he returned to Porto as coach in 2002 under his once coaching senior Jose Mourinho, who was then the newly made FC Porto manager. Mourinho appreciated the youngster’s skills and efforts that he put into the job and made him the ‘head of opposition observation’. After having success under the self-proclaimed ‘Special One’ in two seasons, second of which was when the duo led the club to the Portuguese and the European title, Villas-Boas followed his ‘second mentor’ to Chelsea the following season.
9. Coaching/Scouting Formula:
Villas-Boas had a superb skill to study the opposition. He analyzed each opponent in detail and provided individual DVDs for each of the forthcoming game, detailing their rivals’ strengths and weaknesses. Mourinho felt so obliged that he once even called his assistant “my ears and eyes."
10. ‘Don’t Mess Around With Me’ Attitude:
After a fiery encounter against Barcelona, he got into a fight with Frank Rijkaard, the Barca manager then, after seeing the referee talk to the Dutchman on three occasions.
Also, going back to 1994, Villas-Boas approached Sir Bobby Robson because he thought that it was equivalent to a crime committed by the Englishman to keep his favorite striker Domingos Paciencia on the bench. To back his argument, Villas-Boas even supplied statistics! It was nothing but a mere coincidence that Robson offered him a trainee position with the youth team’s coaching staff.
Although you may argue that such an attitude spells arrogance, you can’t deny the fact that most managers in world football have had such an attitude, and have used it to their advantage, leading them to greatness. Similar is the case with Villas-Boas.
11. Mourinho Conflict:
The pair, who achieved so much together, are currently thought to not to be speaking to each other. The reasons remain undisclosed by Villas-Boas. First at Porto and then at Chelsea, obvious comparisons were drawn between the two managers but whatever the reasons might be, they certainly don’t seem to go down well with Villas-Boas. This was clear with the treble winner who was once quoted saying that he doesn’t want to be a "Mourinho clone."
12. First Major Role As A Manager (Academica):
Villas-Boas quit Inter Milan's coaching staff to manage Portuguese top-flight club Académica de Coimbra. Académica was at the bottom of the league and winless, when his new introduced style of play changed the team's fortunes, leading it to safety in 11th place, 10 points clear of the relegation zone. In addition to that, Académica also reached the Portuguese League Cup semifinals. His contribution, achievement and game play were certainly spotted and Sporting Lisbon tried to poach him but he chose to return to his boyhood club Porto.
13. Perfect Porto Season:
After being greeted by the home fans who considered him as one of as their own, Villa-Boas’ repaid their faith and support by winning a treble in his first season itself in charge. The record-breaking season saw FC Porto become the first-ever European club to twice win a treble of domestic league, Cup and a European trophy. His victory in the Europa League made him the youngest ever coach to win a major European competition. And then, came another return, with Chelsea,
14. Chelsea Conundrum:
Villas-Boas' time at Chelsea won’t be remembered in the fondest of memories, unlike the man who he is replacing at White Hart Lane, Redknapp. Redknapp had successful three-and-a-half years with Spurs, making them finish in the top four two times during his reign. Villas-Boas kicked off his managerial career as the Tottenham manager in exquisite fashion by winning his first, and only, piece of silverware with Chelsea, the 2011 Barclays Asia Trophy. Under his management, Chelsea never really challenged for the premiership and his decisions were often questioned. Having left Frank Lampard, Michael Essien and Ashley Cole on the bench, not only the media, but once even the club's technical director asked him for an explanation of the team selection on behalf of the club owner Roman Abramovich. He was sacked as the Chelsea manager on March 4, 2011, following a 1-0 defeat to West Bromwich Albion.
15. Style Of Play:
Villas-Boas plays a similar 4-3-3 formation to Mourinho. However, it’s slightly more fluid and attacking where genuine pacey wingers and not playmakers are played on the flanks, who are thereby, encouraged to get forward and support the strikers. Also, he plays a formation wherein the fullbacks have a massive role to play in order to get the delivery from the wide. His play also allows the fullbacks to often burst into the box with the wingers occupying a position behind them. This was often seen last season with both, Jose Bosingwa and Ashley Cole making surging runs forward.
16. Pretty And Perfect For Tottenham:
First Martin Jol and then Harry Redknapp, whoever has been successful at Tottenham Hotspur past decade has made the men from North London play with a rigid – but fluid – formation, similar to the one that the Portuguese employs. Moreover, now that he has experience in English soccer from his time at Chelsea, Luís André de Pina Cabral e Villas-Boas certainly looks like a tailor-made choice for Tottenham, and a man possessed with the entire arsenal to prove all his critics wrong.