ricardo rocha - fact file

2005 - 2009        defender

Born on 3rd October 1978 in Santo Tirso, Braga, Portugal.

Height : - 1.83 m

Weight : -  80 kgs

Not the tallest centre-half in the world, Ricardo Rocha is a determined player and a good header of the ball, who was brought in to cover for injuries in the Spurs defence in 2006.

With injuries hitting Ledley King regularly, Spurs sought to buy an experienced central defender, but when some of their targets were snapped up by other clubs, they turned to Portugal, where Ricardo Rocha had been playing at Champions League level with Benfica.  Some regarded it as a panic buy, as the player was not well known and was not a regular international.

His career started playing for a local club Famalicano, who spotted him as a youngster, before the bigger side in the area - SC Braga - bought him.  His rise was fairly rapid, as he was only there for two years before his reputation as a good man-marker was noted by top side Benfica, who took him to the Stadium of Light.

Ricardo spent four and a half years at Benfica, playing over 150 games for the club including over 30 in European competitions, but the bid of £3.3 million from Spurs, plus the promise of the takings from two friendlies between the two clubs tempted them to part with the man who has represented his country on a number of occasions.

Coming into the Tottenham side, Rocha was required to play straight away and he showed good commitment and effort, while adjusting to the pace of the Premiership.  He has a good jump and can shadow players well, but sometimes, he make makes errors, such as the one where he slipped when clearing the ball in the League Cup semi-final against Arsenal and presented them with a goal.

Injuries have struck the Portuguese defender and restricted him having a run in the side, but his patience is important as Spurs suffer a number of injuries in that department of the squad.  With a change of manager, Rocha dropped out of the Tottenham defence, but showed true professionalism by not complaining about not getting a game and bringing on the defensive players in the Reserves where he played the most games of all the player sin 2008-09.

Was released at the end of his contract at the start of June 2009 to find a new club, finding a new place to play at the end of the summer transfer window by signing for Belgian champions Standard Liege.  Not settling in Belgium, Rocha was given a free transfer at the end of 2009 and moved back to the Premier League with cash-strapped Portsmouth, who were happy to sign him for free.  Had a nightmare first game, getting sent off in the first half against Sunderland, as he conceded a penalty and his part in the game was ended after just nine minutes.  Was named man of the match in the FA Cup semi-final win over Spurs, but was part of the side that lost 0-1 to Chelsea in the final.


FULL NAME :  Ricardo Sérgio Rocha Azevedo

Career Record
Club Signed Fee Debut Apps Goals
FC Famalicano (Portugal) 1998 ?? ??  32 0
SC Braga (Portugal) 1999 ?? ??  85 2
Benfica (Portugal) December 2001 ?? ??  162 3
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 23rd January 2006 £3,300,000 27th January 2007  v  Southend United (Home) (FAC R4)  Won 3-1 ?? ??
Standard Liege (Belgium) 31st August 2009 Free ??  ?? ??
Standard Liege (Belgium) 31st January 2010 Free 9th February 2010  v Sunderland (Home) (Premier League)  Drew 1-1  [was sent off in the 9th minute] ?? ??
- ?? ?? ??  ?? ??


Portugal international
6 full caps;  0 goals
Debut :  2002 v Scotland (Friendly) (at Braga) won 2-0
Portuguese Championship winning medal 2004-05  (Benfica)
Portuguese Cup winners medal 2004-05  (Benfica)
Portuguese Super Cup winners medal 2005  (Benfica)
FA Cup runners-up medal 2009-2010 (Portsmouth)


First game seen : Local club Santo Tirso
Other Sports : Athletics - 400m, long jump, etc. when at school.  Plays tennis on holiday.
First foreign holiday : Majorca when 18
First team played for : School side at 10, when he was scouted.
Part-time job as a youngster : Helped father filming weddings and christenings at weekends.
First film seen : Crocodile Dundee
Job if not a footballer : PE teacher



Do you enjoy travelling ?  Yes.  Even when we travel as a team, it is nice to go to different places and although we don't get out, you get an idea of the place you're visiting.  I enjoy going on holiday and went to Switzerland with my family recently. 

Favourite country visited ?  Miami, where we went on holiday last year.  Everything was amazing – the beaches, the weather, the city; a great place to go.  I'd like to go to Mexcio one day and there are lots of other places I would like to visit.

Is there something you always bring home ?  My wife buys a fridge magnet from wherever we visit.  She asked Adel Taarabt to bring one back from a trip to Morocco recently, which he did.

Favourite journey ?  Going home to Portugal.  It's always great to be back home where we live in Santa Tirso, about 15 miles from Oporto.

Longest ever walk :  When my wife and I visit places like Rome, Milan, Venice, we always like to walk around the city because you see so much more than if you went by taxi.  Sometimes you don't realise how far you walked and when you get back to the hotel and crash out you know you've walked a long way !

Favourite car :  I have a Range Rover back in Portugal, but the BMW M5 I have here is my favourite.

Favourite magazine :  Don't have a favourite, but like to read car magazines.

Do you read on the move ?  Yes, I am reading two Portuguese books I got for Christmas – one from my mother-in-law and one from my wife. 

Do you play music or prefer TV/radio ?  I listen to all types of music and I enjoy new stuff that comes out.  My iPod is always on and I get most of the new music put on it.

Favourite all time track ? :  I have never been someone who has one favourite track and I like so many I could never choose one.

What was the last DVD you watched ? :  I have a big collection of films back in Portugal.  Maybe when I have finished my career I will sit and watch them all in peace and quiet.  The last one I watched was “The Dark Knight”.
Most interesting all-time flight companion ?  :  My first choice would be my wife, but if not her, then Valentino Rossi on one side and Roger Federer on the other – two great sportsmen and it would be fantastic to chat about their lives.

Whose dance moves did you copy as a child ? :  I was a bad dancer, so I didn't copy anyone.

Whose poster did you have on your bedroom wall ? :  I was always a Benfica fan and had their posters on my Wall.  I had the privilege of playing for them which was fantastic.

First footballing memory ? :  I was a goalkeeper when I was about 10 or 11, but wasn't doing very well at school, so he banned me from playing for a year and when my results were better I went back to playing, but as a central defender, although sometimes after training, I used to go in goal !

Who was the best player among your mates ? : My best friend in Portugal is a fantastic player with a lot of quality who never made it as a footballer.  He played in the lower divisions but didn't get a break and now just plays futsal.  His name is Elder, but we call him Capricio.  As a footballer you need a bit of luck and he didn't get that luck.

Favourite trick practised ? :  No just shooting, as when you are young all you want to do is score.

Other sports played at school ? :  I played everything – basketball, volleyball, handball – and played for a handball club outside of school.

Did you have a pet as a child ? :  Yes, we had a lot of dogs, but we lived next to a busy street and they kept getting knocked down by cars.  I have one dog – an albino boxer called Ruca, who is about nine now – back in Portugal.   

Had you ever been to White Hart Lane before you signed ?  No.  The first time I was there was when I was introduced to the crowd before the semi-final against Arsenal in January 2007.

Childhood ambition ? :  Like most players, it was to be a footballer.  I played for Arca, a village team and I never thought it would be possible to fulfil that dream.     But hard work and belief helped me make that come true.

What makes a house a home ?  :  Definitely family.  Sometimes my wife and children go back to Portugal and it is strange.  It's quiet and lonely, so it's better to have them around to make the place feel homely. 

If your house was on fire what would you save first ? : - As long as my family were OK, nothing else would matter.  Possessions and belongings can be replaced, but human life is most important.

Prize possession :  I have a few medals from my time at Benfica, but I have a bottle of wine that was given to me by the father of one of my Benfica team-mates. Miklos Feher, who died during a match, which means more to me than my medals. He died of a heart attack on the pitch and we won the league that year, so we went to visit his grave in Hungary and met his family, when his father presented me with the bottle of wine.

Do you refer living in the town or country ?  :  I always prefer living in the country.  I spent four years living in Lisbon when I was at Benfica and it was a fantastic city and it's nice to have everything close by, but it's much better to be in the open air of the country, where it's more relaxed and you can breathe in the fresh air.

What are you most proud of ?  :  When younger, I always promised my mother I would do everything I could to become a footballer and to achieve that has made me very proud.

Couldn't live without ? : -  My wife and children are the most important thing in my life.


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