Performance Spotlight - Jardel vs Milan 1996

Performance Spotlight - Jardel vs Milan 1996

Tonight sees Porto travelling to Italy in the hopes of making it two wins out of two against AC Milan in this years Champions League. The last time the Portuguese side won at the San Siro was 25 years ago next week and marked the announcing on the European stage of one of footballs greatest lost talents, Jardel.

Jardel was already a star in his homeland by the time he arrived in Europe in 1996. Strong performances for the junior sides of Vasco De Gama and the Brazilian national team caught the attention of many in his homeland and a move to Gremio followed. His success was immediate, starring in the sides run to Copa Libertadores triumph as he finished as the tournament top scorer.

Rangers were the first European side who tried to land his services, agreeing a $4.5 million deal. Issues around obtaining a European passport meant the deal fell through and instead it was with Porto that Jardel would attempt to make his mark in Europe.

And make his mark he did.



His first taste of continental European competition came with an away trip to one of its most hallowed venues, the San Siro.

He had to wait until the 62nd minute to get his chance. Within minutes of his introduction his side found were a goal down after Ballon D’or holder George Weah put Milan 2-1 up.

Slovenian playmaker Zlatko Zahovič was having a fantastic game and 12 minutes after Jardel’s introduction he found enough space down the left to float one towards the towering Jardel. A trademark bullet header gave the keeper no chance.

Eight minutes later and it was the same story. The ball was again at the feet of Zahovič who fired a low pass to Jardel’s feet. The big man showed his remarkable close control with a trademark trap of the speeding ball before utilising his strength to hold off Maldini, spinning away and finishing low and into the corner.

In his very first game in European competition he had turned the game on its head in just 20 minutes - all while up against a defence of Tassotti, Maldini, Galli and Panucci. It was a remarkable introduction and marked the start of an outrageous few years in which he scored 130 goals in 125 games, finishing with the most goals in Europe for three straight seasons.


Words by Andy Gallagher




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