Thousands of people said goodbye today, in Guimarães, to Neno, who died on Thursday night, with a huge display of affection for a “consensual” figure in Portuguese football, considered by many to be the “best” of all.
The president of Vitória SC Miguel Pinto Lisboa, stressed that it was “a day of pain for Vitória, for Guimarães and, in general, for the whole country”.
“The dimension of this tribute shows the strength of Neno, but also of Vitória and the city. We want this strength to come out even more and we want to follow what was Neno’s legacy, of strength, unity, genuineness and joy”, said the president of the Victorian before the beginning of the funeral march.
Miguel Pinto Lisboa noted that, “despite being born in Cape Verde, Neno was a Guimarães native and a Victorian at heart”.
Thousands of people wanted to pay tribute to the former Portuguese international from very early on Sunday, passing through the room at D. Afonso Henriques, where Neno’s body was kept in a burning chamber.
At 4:30 pm, when the urn left for the church and traveled through some streets in Guimarães, the ‘sea’ of people was impressive with lots of applause and shouts for Neno, many flags and torches along the way.
“It is an unusual scenario because we are talking about an unusual person, who was genuinely at ease with everyone, who built bridges, about a problem he saw as an opportunity, so this unanimity in the tribute to Neno”, he said.
The Victorian leader also said that Neno’s name will be immortalized at the club, but he did not reveal how.
“Neno is a unique figure that we will honor throughout this year because he deserves it and not because he passed away yesterday. He was intrinsically a good man, who gave everything to Vitória and the city”, he said.
Vítor Paneira, Neno’s former teammate at Benfica and Vitória SC, recalled the “extraordinary” friend he was with “last week”.
“There were so many incredible moments with Neno, an extraordinary person as is generally agreed. I was the player who played with him the most years, it was 10 years, and today I lost a friend”, he said.
The 55-year-old former Portuguese international highlighted the “affection” of all people for the former goalkeeper: “I don’t know anyone in football who has the human qualities he had.”
Coach Manuel Cajuda stated that, “of the group of very good people” he met in football, “Neno was clearly the best” and that he left him a legacy, that “problems must be resolved with intelligence and with a smile”.
Throughout the day, various figures passed through the venue from Guimarães, such as Benfica vice-president, Sílvio Cervan, former players such as Shéu, Valdo, Jorge Andrade, Oceano, Hélder Postiga, Dimas, Paulo Alves, Paulo Santos, and from the current squad Victorian, André André, Rochinha, André Almeida or Bruno Varela.
The Guimarães municipality decreed two days of municipal mourning and, like the club, is studying a posthumous tribute to the former goalkeeper.
Former Portuguese international Neno died on Thursday, aged 59, from a sudden illness.
Neno’s body arrived at 9:30 am today at the D. Afonso Henriques stadium, where hundreds of people were already waiting for a brief farewell.
The ill-fated guardian stayed there in a burning chamber until the funeral march began, at 16:45. After Mass at the Church of São Francisco, Neno’s body was sent to the municipal cemetery of Monchique, in Guimarães.
Next to the memorial created by the fans, next to the statue of D. Afonso Henriques, in the vicinity of the stadium, there are many objects left in honor of the former guardian: scarves from various clubs, flags, photographs, messages, flowers.
It was there that one of the most emotional moments of the afternoon took place when Paulo Futre, accompanied by the president of the League of Clubs, Pedro Proença, and Miguel Pinto Lisboa, remembered his former colleague without controlling his tears.
The former Portuguese international was given a lot of applause by the hundreds of people.
Adelino Augusto da Graça Barbosa Barros, born in Praia, Cape Verde, came to Portugal with his family to Barreiro and it was at that city’s club, Barreirense, that he started his career.
At 21 he jumped to Benfica, where he won three championships and three Portuguese Cups. He then played for Vitória de Setúbal and Vitória de Guimarães, where he won a Super Cup and ended his career in 1999, having settled in that Minho city.
He was goalkeeper coach of several Victorian technical teams and, in recent seasons, manager of the Guimarães club. In the service of the Portuguese national team, he played nine matches, between 1989 and 1996.