Profiles - Postiga

Squad Number 2014/15: 9
Date of Birth: August 02, 1982
Birthplace: Vila do Conde (Portugal)
Nationality: Portuguese (International between 2003 & 2014)
Contract: 2014 – 2015
Transfer: Free transfer (Valencia CF)
Career: Deportivo (2014-now), Lazio (loan, 2014), Valencia CF (2013), Real Zaragoza (2011-2013), Sporting CP (2008-2011), Panathinaikos (loan, 2007-2008), Saint-Étienne (loan, 2006), FC Porto (2004-2008), Tottenham Hotspur (2003-2004), FC Porto (2001-2003), FC Porto B (1999-2001), FC Porto Cadete (1997-1999), FC Porto Infantil (1996-1997), Varzim SC (1992-1996).
Release Clause: ?
Height: 182 cm
Weight:  74 Kg
Position: Attacker (centre)

 Veteran striker HÉLDER POSTIGA was signed on deadline day 2014 as coach Víctor Fernández needed a centre forward to complete his squad. This product of FC Porto have played in three of the big European leagues: England, Italy and the same La Liga. After several ups and downs on his career, he finally succeeded at Real Zaragoza, but after two solid years in Aragon the problems appeared again after not been accepted at Valencia CF and after a groin injury that cut his short stage at SS Lazio. Now he lands in A Coruña hoping to demonstrate things in the last years of his career and, at the same time, to help Deportivo to clinch the permanence at the elite of Spanish football.

Postiga started to play football in 1992 at Varzim SC and later completed almost his entire youth career at FC Porto. In 1999 he was landing at the B squad of the Dragons. For the campaign 2000/01 he was already demonstrating his potential as a striker after netting 10 goals in 27 appearances at II División B. For the season 2001/02 coach Octávio Machado decided to alternate him between the first and the second team, and it was worthy as the 19-year-old attacker netted 9 goals in 27 matches at the Liga Sagres (1,177 minutes). He even had the chance to debut at the UEFA Champions League. The fans even started to see him as the replacement for Mário Jardel, who had left the club that summer.

He was described as a solid player in the aerial game that, beyond been a combinative player, is a forward that lives inside the area waiting to score the goals, though he never managed to score more than 14 goals in one single season.  That first campaign at FC Porto was just the starting point of a long and instable career in which he passed from been considered as part of the new generation of Portuguese football, together with players like Cristiano Ronaldo, to be called a “flop” just to go back to the same starting point after a couple of solid years at Real Zaragoza. His best year at FC Porto came ahead of the campaign 2002/03, time when he netted 13 goals in 31 appearances at the Liga Sagres (2,011 minutes) plus adding 6 more goals in 12 UEFA Cup matches. José Mourinho was now the coach of the team and they clinched the league title. Hélder was only 21 when Tottenham Hotspur put their eyes on him to end paying € 9 million for his transfer.  It turned to be the first failure in his career. He never adapted to the English style and only scored 2 goals in 23 official matches with the team, one in the Premier League against Liverpool FC and one in the League Cup against Manchester City FC. After this first disappointment his reputation as an upcoming star drastically decreased.

 But FC Porto saw it as a great opportunity to make business and after just one year the Dragons paid € 7.5 million to get the player back. But things didn’t work out this time; the blame wasn’t on player, but in the miserable season of the team in the era post-Mourinho. There were three coaches in only 12 months and the team had a poor record up front only netting 39 league goals, this despite having big names like Ricardo Quaresma, Luís Fabiano, and Diego. Postiga only scored 3 goals in 24 league games. That season Benni McCarthy ended as the top-scorer at the team (11). One year later he was no longer wanted at FC Porto, so he was loaned to Panathinaikos FC and two years later again went out to AS Saint-Étienne.

Both moves were new failures in the career of this Portuguese attacker. In France he only made sixteen Ligue 1 appearances (1,181 minutes) scoring only two goals, while in Greece he only played 11 times at the Alpha Ethniki only scoring twice. At least, in the middle of both loan spells, he completed a very respectful season (2006/07) with FC Porto, scoring 10 times in 24 Liga Sagres matches (1,790 minutes). He was the second best scorer in league and, together with Quaresma, Lisandro López and Brazilian Adriano, formed a lethal quartet that scored 35 goals, almost the half of a team that added a new league title.

Throughout this period of ups and downs, Hélder was a regular participant with the national team of Portugal, though there was criticism as it was considered by the media that he didn’t deserve the chance. He made his debut for the Portuguese national team on February 12, 2003 in a friendly match against Italy. One year later he was a substitute in the team that played the UEFA Euro 2004 hosted by Portugal. In the tournament he managed to save the Portuguese outfit against England during the quarter-finals, netting the 1-1 at the 83th minute. Portugal would prevail in the penalty shootout 6–5 with Postiga scoring a Panenka penalty. However, he wasn’t considered to play the final match that was lost against Greece (0-1). He was also picked for the FIFA World Cup 2006 in Germany. Portugal reached the semifinals, but the striker only played three times without scoring any goal.

 Back to FC Porto, on 1 June 2008 it was announced that Postiga was sold to rivals Sporting Clube de Portugal for a transfer fee of €2.5 million. It turned to be a new disaster on his career as the attacker, now at the age of 26, only scored 5 goals in 21 Liga Sagres matches (1,270 minutes). His second season at the club was worse, because he missed to score any goal in the first 26 matchdays in the league. It was until April 19, 2010 that he managed to score a goal in the 2-1 win over Vitoria Setúbal. He had signed a three-year deal, but on August 31, 2011 the player was transferred to Real Zaragoza for €1 million. It was the first opportunity in which he changed of club in a transfer deadline day.

And that turned to be a great decision, because Postiga’s career was reborn in Spain. In two years in la liga he managed to score 23 goals in 70 appearances. On November 10, 2012, Postiga scored a brace in the 5–3 win over Deportivo, team at the time coached by Oltra. He netted 14 goals on the Primera campaign 2012/13 (37 matches, 3,163 minutes), the best mark on his career, but it wasn’t enough to save Los Maños and, together with Depor, the Aragonian team suffered the relegation. Despite the setback, Postiga was still considered as a valid option for the national team. On 4 June 2011, Postiga scored the only goal in a Euro 2012 qualifier against Norway, which made him the tenth highest scorer in Portugal's history. Then he was picked by Paulo Bento for the Euro 2012 and this time he was the starting striker. He only scored once and didn’t end the tournament after sustaining a thigh injury in the quarter-final game against Czech Republic (1-0).

 With Real Zaragoza at Segunda, the player was transferred to Valencia CF for a transfer fee of €3 million. It was the fifth and last time that a football club was paying a transfer to get his services (accumulate amount of € 23 million).  Andrés Guardado was one of his partners. With Los Ches, Postiga lived the same anxiety of the second year at FC Porto, because ex-Depor Miroslav Djukić was always under a big pressure and the team didn’t fulfill the expectations of the always demanding fans. Still, Hélder had a strong start netting three goals in his first three matches, including a brace against FC Barcelona in a 2-3 loss at Mestalla. However, he didn’t score more goals in liga and his last goal with the team was the equalizer against Atlético Madrid playing for Copa Del Rey (Jan 14, 2014). On those days it was decided that he was going to be loaned to SS Lazio during the winter window. And it was a new disappointment for the player as he only made 5 appearances in Calcio (139 minutes). The problem was that he arrived dragging a groin injury that sidelined him for two months. SS Lazio had a purchase option, but it wasn’t executed, so the player returned to Valencia CF .Despite his physical problems, Postiga was picked for the FIFA World Cup 2014 held in Brazil, though he only managed to play for 16 minutes in the 2-2 draw with USA.

Postiga had two more years in his contract with the Valencians, but he was no longer wanted after the arrival of new owner Peter Lim. At the time Deportivo were returning to Primera and the team, now coached by Víctor Fernández, was looking for reinforcements in attack. While the Galician club was linked with more ambitious moves for strikers like Kostas Mitroglou and Bojan Krkić, the true is that it was already negotiating with Hélder. The move was kept in secret and was only revealed until the transfer deadline day (Sept 1, 2014). On that day the player rescinded his contract with Valencia CF and just minutes later his arrival to Depor was confirmed. Postiga was a previous target of former president Lendoiro and was now a reality for the Galicians signing a one-year contract.

 The player was presented on September 2 at the Riazor. He confessed that he was hoping to feel like a player again, “I am glad for the past interest of Depor. I land here now and am wishing to bring things. To the squad I want to feel like a player again. The last six months were complicated and I want to have a smile on my face once again.” He neither wanted to promise a number of goals for the season at Primera, “I cannot talk of a number of goals. I can only promise to work hard. The number of goals is marked in the end by how the team is performing.”