Tiago — Atletico Madrid midfielder Tiago is an experienced campaigner whose career has taken him across Europe. In a fine top-flight career, the 29 year-old has tasted domestic success in some of the continent’s most competitive leagues and this summer will be hoping to add international success with Portugal to that glittering tally.
Tiago made his top-flight debut for Braga as an 18 year-old, but it was clear from early in his career that he possessed a maturity and calmness not often found in players of that age. Although he started out as a striker, he soon moved back to the midfield and won a reputation for his range of passing. In January 2002, he signed for Benfica, where he stayed for two-and-a-half seasons, winning the Taca de Portugal in the process.
In the same year, he won his first international call-up, and was part of Luiz Felipe Scolari’s squad for UEFA EURO 2004, although he did not make an appearance in the tournament.
The midfielder’s rise to prominence had not gone unnoticed abroad, and on the back of his involvement with the equipa das Quinas he sealed a move to English club Chelsea. Under the guidance of Portuguese coach Jose Mourinho, the London club won the English Premier League, the League Cup and the Community Shield, before Tiago moved across the Channel to French champions Lyon. In two seasons in France, the Portuguese star helped Les Gones claim two more domestic league titles, before deciding to move to Italian giants Juventus.
It was at Germany 2006 that Tiago enjoyed his most successful spell in the national team, playing in five of Portugal’s seven matches on their way to fourth place in the tournament. Now settled in the Spanish capital, where he moved this January, the midfielder will be hoping to make an even better impression this summer in South Africa.
Tiago’s performances in Portugal’s youth teams eventually earned him his senior debut against Scotland, in a November 2002 friendly. He went on to seal a regular berth in the squad and was included in the 23-man squad for UEFA Euro 2004, although he did not play for Portugal in the final of the tournament.
Moving to France proved crucial in international selection as Tiago’s strong form at Lyon afforded him a place in Portugal’s well-established midfield. His contributions to the team aided the national team in its quest for qualification for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, and he played five matches in the tournament held in Germany. Portugal reached the semi-finals, losing to France.
Tiago scored his first goal for the national team in March 2007, in a Man of the match display away to Serbia (1–1). He was, however, overlooked, for Euro 2008’s final squad.
Tiago was selected for the squad at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, replacing Deco in the first match, a 0–0 against Ivory Coast. He took the naturalized Brazilian’s place for the following game, against North Korea in Cape Town, on June 21, 2010, and scored twice (once with his head) in a 7–0 rout.