Meet Matheus Nunes, Another Brazilian Who Choose To Represent the Portuguese National Team
Although Matheus Nunes was born on the west side of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, he moved to Portugal with his stepfather and mother when he was only 12. Eventually, he started playing football when he was not working at his family’s bakery.
At age 20, Nunes was signed by Estoril. After playing a few matches for the team, he got a surprise offer to join Sporting Lisbon, one of the highly coveted clubs in Portugal.
After moving to Alvalade, Nunes started out playing in the second team. Within a few months, Nunes got the chance to play for the Sporting’s first team, and he’s not disappointed since. Indeed, he has managed to stamp his authority in the central midfield.
Since then, the player has shown impressive progression, becoming one of the integral pillars of coach Reuben Amorim’s team. Nunes has scored a goal and assisted in 11 games this season, which has made him attract attention even from the other side of the Atlantic.
In August 2021, Nunes was summoned by the Brazilian national team coach, Tite, to join the Brazil squad for the World Cup qualifiers. He was called to replace the athletes playing in the Premier league who were banned from leaving the country to represent their national team.
Eligible to play for both Brazil and Portugal, Nunes had a tough decision to make. But surprisingly, he declined Tite’s invitation. Later, secret sources found that a technician in the Portuguese National Team had contacted the central midfielder to join the Portuguese side. However, nothing was formal at the time he was being called to join the Brazil squad.
In a press conference, Portugal’s head coach Fernando Santos mentioned that Matheus Nunes was a vital player they were monitoring and planning to bring to the squad. Three days later, Nunes was named in the 24-man squad representing Portugal in the World Cup qualifiers.
“Nunes has been seeking an opportunity to play for the Portugal for some time, and now his chance to show that he deserved it,”
Interestingly, Nunes was called up to replace another Brazilian-born Midfielder, Otavio, who had an injury when Porto was playing against Liverpool in the Champions League. In a presser before Sporting’s game against Borussia Dortmund, he revealed how he decided to represent Portugal instead of Brazil.
“After a lengthy discourse and contemplation with my family, I’ve concluded that playing for Portugal is the best option; I think I will be happy here.” Nunes further said that he had already spoken with both coaches and explained his decision.
“After doing a lot of thinking, I believe that playing for Portugal is the best thing for my budding football career,” Nunes said.
He reiterated that this was the hardest decision he had to make in his career, revealing that being called up to the Brazilian National team was one of his proudest moments.
Having amassed over 1000 minutes of action for Sporting Lisbon in 23 appearances, we hope that playing for Portugal will add to this decent game time.