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Ball - He spent 11 years at Alvalade and returns on Tuesday (Do you remember him?) (UEFA Champions League)

Ball – He spent 11 years at Alvalade and returns on Tuesday (Do you remember him?) (UEFA Champions League)

Spurs’ visit to Sporting (Tuesday, 17.45) marks a private meeting for Eric Dier. One of the mainstays of the defense put in place by Antonio Conte, the 28-year-old England defender returns to Lisbon to face the club where he trained for the first time.

With an unusual path for an English international, Eric Dyer began his career in Lisbon and at Sporting, arriving in 2003 after his parents, Luiz and Jeremy, found a job on Portuguese soil. And it seems that a year was enough for the defender to join the Leonen team, as not even the family’s move to Valencia, after Euro 2004, did not convince him to leave the green and white team, with Dier coaching. He is with the local team in Spain and travels on weekends to play with the Lions.

Returning to the England where you were born – like the Everton juniors in 2010 and 2012 – to experience a different competitive environment remained the focus and Eric Dier ended up making his debut the following season with Sporting. First for team B (against Atlético, in the fourth round of La Liga 2) and then for the main team when Jesualdo Ferreira launched him into the starting line-up against SC Braga (9th round of 2012/13) and the Englishman responded with help. Wolfswinkel scores the winning goal (1-0). The next day, he was decisive again, when he scored the only goal in green and white, which secured the Leonian equaliser at Moreira de Conejos.

Another 30 matches (in the 2012/13 and 2013/14 seasons) followed in the Leonine team that did not pass the best stages, adding 16 victories, nine draws and six defeats.

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The departure occurred in 2014, and was shrouded in controversy. In July of that year, Tottenham paid €5 million to sign the centre-back, with the Lions claiming a controversial clause: they could not refuse a British emblem offer worth less than €5 million or the equivalent salary. The trend led by Bruno de Carvalho claimed that he tried to renew to remove this privilege, but the player always refused.

But this attitude did not invalidate the fans’ appreciation of the player and the athlete himself in relation to the club. Dyer has never hidden his support for Sporting and still speaks fluent Portuguese and interacts with his former teammates on social media.

In 2022, he returned to Alvalad with 243 Premier League games with Tottenham and 45 international matches with England, having participated in the 2016 European Championship and the 2018 World Cup.