10 NUNO FACTS

10 NUNO FACTS

It's fair to say Nuno Espirito Santo’s first test as a manager at Tottenham Hotspur went pretty damn well.

His well organised and spirited Tottenham side weathered an early storm against reigning champions Manchester City and secured an ultimately comfortable win. In fact, if  you completely ignore the midweek loss to Paços de Ferreira in the Europa Conference League, it's been a fantastic week for Nuno and he’ll be looking to build on that momentum as he travels back to Molyneux to meet his old Wolves side for the first time on Sunday.

Since he entered English football back in 2017, Nuno has developed a reputation as a funny, affable and basically nice man. He is a manager who refuses to chastise or publicly shame his players, and who has repeatedly stated that he would never issue fines. His methods, it would seem, get results, though his close connection with one of football's most powerful men (more on that later) certainly doesn't hurt. 

From the beaches of a tiny island off Africa to the touchline of the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Nuno is a fascinating man who has led a fascinating life so we’ve gathered together ten fascinating things about him. 

Enjoy.

 

Nuno Herlander Simões Espírito Santo

 

 

Born and raised on the tiny island of Sao Tome until the age of 7, Nuno Herlander Simões Espírito Santo is one of only two african born managers to currently be managing in Europe's top 5 leagues, with the other being fellow premier league manager Patrik Vieira.

 

Nuno got his big break in football at 18

 

 

At 7 his family moved from their island home to Portugal where his family settled in LIsbon. The young Nuno bounced around youth clubs in the city for a number of years before getting his big break in football at 18. He moved some 400km to the north to join up with Vitória de Guimarães to fight for a spot with the experienced Neno.

 

A chance meeting with a nightclub owner

 

 

After four years of struggling for playtime with Guimarães, a chance 1996 meeting with a Porto based nightclub owner changed the course of his life once again. The man was Jorge Mendes, future 10 time on the bounce recipient of agent of The year (which apparently exists) and effectively the most powerful man in football. After being put in touch by a mutual acquaintance, Nuno became his very first client.

 

A one million euro transfer

 

 

Somehow, despite his struggles with Guimarães, Mendes quickly orchestrated a one million euro transfer for Nuno who would be heading to soon to be Spanish champions, Deportivo La Coruna. His time in Spain, however, was ultimately spent mostly out on loan in the second division and he returned to Portugal in 2002 as one of Jose Mourinho’s first signings as Porto boss.

 

International career

 

 

Nuno represented Portugal at the 1996 Summer Olympics and twelve years later was part of the squad that travelled to 2008 European Championships. Being selected as a late injury replacement despite having played fewer than 40 competitive games in the preceding five years. He did not feature at the tournament.

 

His break into management

 

 

Nuno was given his big break in management in 2012. Having spent the two years since his retirement working as a goalkeeping coach at Malaga and Panathinaikos, Rio Ave appointed him as their manager, replacing the sacked Carlos Brito. In just his second season at the club he led them to both Portuguese domestic cup finals and the side qualified for the Europa League, the first time they had ever qualified for European football. 

 

Goalkeepers of the future

 

 

He had an undoubtedly impressive Rio Ave side but remarkably for the former keeper, his two young goalkeeping options for his first season in management were Jan Oblak and Ederson - They also had Fabinho in midfield.

 

Managerial stats

 

 

He has the second best win percentage of any manager in Wolves history. Despite his Wolves side falling away in his final season, Nuno’s 47.7% sits behind only Ted Vizard and puts him ahead of legendary manager Stan Cullis, who led Wolves to three first division titles in the 50’s.

 

The master of languages

 

 

He speaks five languages. Nuno is fluent in Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, French and English and freely switches between when speaking to different players on the training pitch. 

 

Viral doppelgänger

 

 

Finally, and most importantly, he went viral in 2019 when it was discovered that he and Nathan Redmond look like the same person put through some sort of ageing software.

 


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Words by Andy Gallagher

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