Pauleta celebrates a goal with Paris Saint-Germain

Euro Stars: Pauleta (Portugal)

Euro Stars: Pauleta (Portugal)

Publish on 06/05 at 01:30 - E. DEVIN


Paris Saint-Germain's leading scorer upon his departure, the "Eagle of the Azores" established himself as a legend in the capital and with Girondins de Bordeaux

Paris Saint-Germain is no stranger to legendary forwards. Besides the just-departed Kylian Mbappé, the capital side has also seen the likes of Edinson Cavani, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Neymar grace the Parc des Princes pitch — each scored more than 100 goals in their time with the club. But before that trio helped PSG to a record haul of trophies, there was a Portuguese attacker who paved the way for their success as well as making his mark with another giant of the French game, Girondins de Bordeaux.

Born in the city of Ponta Delgada, the “Eagle of the Azores” was a retiring personality off the pitch, and there were doubts as to whether the obviously talented youngster could succeed at the game’s top level, as spell at Porto in his teens was curtailed owing to homesickness. He slowly shook off his early wobbles, though, and eventually impressed enough at Portuguese second division side Estoril to be snapped up by Spain’s Deportivo La Coruña, following a spell at Salamanca.

Soon to be known as “Super Depor,” Pauleta and Dutch forward Roy Makaay formed a formidable duo, helping the Galician side to the La Liga title in 1999/2000. He further proved his mettle with strong play in Europe, and became a sought-after player, a late bloomer at 27. Despite interest from the likes of Newcastle and Aston Villa in England, he plumped for a move just up the Bay of Biscay, to Bordeaux. His time there was an unqualified success, as he scored 65 league goals in just 98 matches, and helped Bordeaux to the Coupe de la Ligue in his second season. In addition to finishing top scorer that same year, he as also named the Ligue 1 Player of the Year, as well as in the following campaign.

At that point, in the summer of 2003, Paris Saint-Germain came calling, and he the ground running in the French capital as well, helping Vahid Halihodzic's team secure the Coupe de France and run Olympique Lyonnais close for the title, eventually finishing just three points behind Les Gones. While another Coupe de France win would follow in 2005/06, as well as a Coupe de la Ligue and two more Ligue 1 golden boots, the team's performances were far more uneven overall. Indeed, in Pauleta's final season, relegation was only avoided on the final day of the season. He retired having scored 109 goals for PSG, and was their all-time leading scorer.

For his country, Pauleta was also surpassed by an all-time great in the form of Cristiano Ronaldo, but not before he helped Portugal to the final of the 2004 Euros. Captaining the side on occasion, he finished his career with Portugal with 47 goals in 88 appearances, the former a record and the latter ranking fourth all-time. Now involved with his country's FA and an ambassador for PSG, he remembered his time there fondly in speaking to the club's website, "Paris will always be in my heart. I spent five great seasons there. There were really great years, full of fantastic moments."

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