Profiles - Luisinho

Squad Number 2015/16:   16
Date of Birth: May 05, 1985
Birthplace:  Porto (Portugal)
Nationality: Portuguese
Contract: 2013 – 2018
Transfer: Free transfer (SL Benfica keeps the 50% of the rights, 2013)
Career: Deportivo (2013-now), SL Benfica (2012-2013), Paços de Ferreira (2011-2012), Aves (2009-2011), Moirerense FC (2007-2009), Rio Ave (2007), Braga B (2005-2006), Vila Real (2004-2006)  
Release Clause: 6 million Euros
Height: 171 cm
Weight: 65 kg
Position: defender (left)

LUISINHO was the fourth signing of Deportivo ahead of the Segunda season 2013/14. He’s a winger that prefers to perform as a left-back defender, but Fernando Vázquez used him in attack in the last part of the Segunda season. One of the best signings that helped to fix the mess after facing countless problems to cover the position with the exit of Filipe Luis on the season 2010/11. His indomitable character was a problem, but surely helped Deportivo to clinch the promotion and later the permanence at Primera División.

This Portuguese player began his professional career performing for Vila Real (third division in Portugal) and later for SC Braga B (Segunda B in Portugal), in this last team he disputed 26 matches during the season 2005/06. Then he moved to another club from the same league: Moirerense FC. At the time Luisinho was performing as a left winger and was described as a disciplined player, but that lacked talent in the tactical aspect and that also missed the faculty to score more goals; and it’s that throughout his career he never netted more than four goals in one single campaign.

His first season at the Green and White club was solid making 25 appearances (2,058 minutes) plus scoring two goals. His first official goal was vital for the team as it secured the three points in the 1-0 win over Famalicão (Oct 1, 2006). For the season 2007/08, at the age of 22, he moved on to Rio Ave and debuted at the Portuguese second division (Liga Vitalis), but it wasn’t a good choice as he only played 59 minutes in the first part of the league tournament. He also made an appearance at the Carlsberg Cup and the Taça de Portugal, what happened is that veteran Carlos Alberto Milhazes and Brazilian Henrique de Neris were the starters at the left side of the pitch. At that team he met André Vilas Boas, who was his team mate and that later became a well-known coach in Europe.

So, he had to return to Moirerense FC for the second part of the campaign 2007/08. The Portuguese player completed 10 league appearances at Segunda B, aka II Série A (900 minutes) and also scored two goals. One year later he completed a third season with the Green and White outfit, again presenting solid stats: 27 games (2,457 minutes) and two goals in favour. For the season 2009/10 he returned to the Portuguese second division, this time joining CD AS Aves and continued having respectful numbers: 26 matches (2,263 minutes) in the first year and 22 league appearances (1,981 minutes) in his second year at the club.

At this point Luisinho was already 25 and had never played at the elite of Portuguese football. It seemed he was going to be one of thousand players without the chance to perform at the top of the chart. But then a big opportunity knocked at his door, because the defender signed for Paços de Ferreira ahead of the season 2011/12, Los Castores were stabilizing their position at liga ZON Sagres and were ahead of living their seventh straight season at the elite. Sporting director, Carlos Carneiro, signed him and later coach Henrique Calisto reconverted him into a full back. And Luisinho was one of the best players at the team. In his only season at the club he played 28 league matches (2,399 minutes) and his lonely goal came in the opening matchday helping to secure a 2-1 win over Vitória Setúbal (Aug 14, 2011).

That was one of the few games in which he performed as a left winger, later he was the fixed left-back defender playing behind Paraguayan Lorenzo Melgarejo, who also had the skills to perform at both positions. He was compared to Fábio Coentrão and some journalists even considered that he should have a chance with the national squad coached by Paulo Bento. Luisinho was the third player with more minutes in league and suddenly was in the spotlight after a long career at lower leagues. Still, it was surprising when SL Benfica signed him paying one million Euros for his services. Melgarejo moved with him to Benfica and ended to be the starter at the left-back position. The true is that the season 2012/13 was miserable to Luisinho. He just made 10 appearances in the whole season, 5 in Copa and other 5 in Liga. He committed several errors at defense and ended to be a bench warmer. His lonely goal with the Eagles came in the 3-0 win over Gil Vicente (Oct 27, 2012).

Deportivo got interested in his signing ahead of the season 2012/13, this after witnessing hi performance at Paços de Ferreira, but in the end Luisinho went to SL Benfica and Deportivo ended signing Evaldo Fabiano, who never matched the expectations. Ahead of the campaign 2013/14, with Depor back at Segunda División, the Galician club attempted his signing for the second time and it wasn’t hard to convince SL Benfica after his past performance, after all the Eagles had already reinforced the position with Sílvio, who was coming after a great second half of season with Depor. So, the operation was announced on August 13, 2013. It was a zero-cost transfer, though SL Benfica kept the 50% of the players’ rights and he signed a three-year contract with Depor. On the same day the player made the medicals. But he couldn’t be inscribed ahead of the first liga meeting at UD Las Palmas due to the administration process of the club. It was until August 19 that his signing was accepted and one day he was presented together with keeper Fabricio.

During his presentation former president Lendoiro said that, ”We’ve reached an agreement with SL Benfica for his transfer, we tried to get him before, but it wasn’t possible. Our hope is to keep him with us for a long time, because we are aware he’s a great player. Besides, his advantage is that he can perfectly adapt to both positions on the left, the wing and the defense, so it’s important as we are lacking left-footed players. We thank him for joining the club.” Meanwhile, Luisinho said that, “I was happy to sign for Deportivo and hope to fulfill the three years and even to play more time on here. This is a big club, as anybody knows, and the references were always good. I was pleased when Deportivo presented an offer and I am willing to do a great job. Nélson [Oliveira] and Roderick talked to me and said that it’s fine to be here. I played for many years as a left winger, and later I began to perform as a defender. I expect the best of this deal. I am content for been here.”

 And it was a good move, because Depor finally found a left-back after the previous disastrous signing for this position. His performance was so solid that coach Fernando Vázquez ended using him as a winger, a position that he doesn’t like. He only performed as a left-back in 12 of his 30 league appearances; The Portuguese was moved forward after the exit of Argentine Culio. The true is that his stats demonstrate his importance. The Portuguese scored three goals and provided four assists. He was the player with more crosses into the area (143) and the fifth with more passing attempts (1,346), and had a decent passing ration (76.40%). His problem was his strong character, which cost him a four-match ban after been sent off against Hércules CF (matchday 28) or his fights with team mates like the ones had with Culio and Juan Carlos during the training sessions. However his skills converted the player into a great asset ahead of the return to Primera.

In June of 2014, after clinching the promotion, the Portuguese player was expressing his happiness for choosing Deportivo, ” I quite like this club for the way they treated me and my family. It’s a very important opportunity. I’m 29, I am not younger anymore and who knows. It’s a club for the future and where I can settle. Now, I expect a tough league at Primera, with very good teams that won’t allow too many things as it happened at Segunda. We know we will face difficulties, because this is a recently promoted club, which is slowly straightening, so you have to prepare well. The squad is mentalized in that regard."