Fernando Gomes, the golden bibota of FC Porto, passes away

Fernando Gomes, the golden bibota of FC Porto, passes away
Fernando Gomes, the golden bibota of FC Porto, passes away

Fernando Gomes, the ‘bibota’, eternal 9 of FC Porto, died this Saturday at the age of 66.

The former player of Futebol Clube do Porto was fighting pancreatic cancer and had suffered a stroke in October.

«It is with great sadness and consternation that Futebol Clube do Porto announces the disappearance of one of the unavoidable names in its history. Fernando Gomes, Bibota de Ouro and top scorer in the blue and white, died this Saturday at the age of 66 from a prolonged illness», writes FC Porto in a note of condolence.

“Born in Porto on November 22, 1956, Fernando Mendes Soares Gomes was 14 years old when, during the summer holidays, he went from Rio Tinto to Campo da Constitution on foot to participate in FC Porto’s fundraising campaigns. He didn’t need many minutes to impress António Feliciano – historic coach and trainer of blue and white champions – and secure a place in the youth squad from the age of 15. Just three years later, aged 17, on Matchday 1 of the 1974/75 season, he made his senior debut and scored both goals in the 2-1 victory over CUF.

Even though the start was dazzling, no one could have imagined that that teenager was destined to mark an era at FC Porto, which with him at the front of the attack would win over the next two decades much more than what he had achieved in all the story so far. Of course, the achievements weren’t just Gomes’s – they were collective –, but it’s impossible to deny the individual impact of a player who broke all records: when he last wore the club’s jersey, on January 22, 1989, it had already been a long time. who had surpassed the goalscoring records of mythical athletes such as Pinga, Araújo, Correia Dias, Hernâni and Teixeira.

Gomes scored 355 goals in 452 official games for FC Porto. And many of them were decisive: in 1977, he signed the only one in the Portuguese Cup final disputed with Braga – the first trophy won by the club since 1968; in 1985, he scored the winning goal in Luz, in front of around 30 thousand Porto fans, in a game that was an important step towards winning the title; in 1987, in the second leg of the European Cup semi-finals, he scored one of the goals against Dynamo Kyiv that qualified for the final in Vienna; and in December of the same year, in Tokyo, he and Madjer scored the goals that made FC Porto world champion against Peñarol. In addition, he scored the point in the games that confirmed the national titles of 1978, 1979, 1985, 1986 and 1988.

Gomes’ impressive offensive effectiveness earned him numerous individual awards. He was the top scorer in the Portuguese league six times – in 1977, 1978, 1979, 1983, 1984 and 1985 – and in two he even became the top scorer of all European championships. He therefore received the Golden Boot in 1983 and 1985, justifying the nickname that will be forever associated with him: Bibota. However, on a collective level, he collected five national championships, three cups and three super cups, as well as a European Cup, an Intercontinental Cup and a European Super Cup.

Gomes left FC Porto for the first time in 1980, to represent Sporting Gijón and scored 16 goals in Spain, during two seasons conditioned by physical problems. In April 1982, the return of jersey number nine to home was one of the banners of Jorge Nuno Pinto da Costa’s first presidential candidacy. Its realization – greatly affected by the poor state of the club’s finances – was not easy, but it happened. And Gomes continued to score goals and win blue and white titles for another seven years. In between, he succeeded Rodolfo as captain. He ended his career with two seasons and 38 goals for Sporting. For the Portugal national team, he participated in 47 games, scored 11 goals and was among the squad for the 1984 European Championship and the 1986 World Cup.

Fernando Gomes’ connection to FC Porto does not end as an athlete. A member of the club since the age of six, he served as a manager in recent decades, with responsibilities in areas such as scouting and youth football. The quality with which he carried out these functions earned him, in 2021, the Golden Dragon for manager of the year – in 1986, in the first edition of these awards, he had been awarded as footballer of the year. When he was awarded the last distinction, on November 29 last year, the eternal Bibota commented that, after having received so much from the club, he didn’t count on FC Porto still having something to give him. He had it and will always have it, because there is no way to pay back what Gomes gave to the cause.

At this moment, wherever there is a Porto player in Portugal and in the world, there is pain and mourning. Fernando Gomes died at the age of 66, after three years fighting cancer”, wrote the blue and white club.

The article is in Portuguese

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