He is one of the famous goalkeepers in the second division of Saudi football. He arrived in the country long before Cristiano Ronaldo and other stars who made local football the cutting edge EldoradoBut that’s not all in his career Emmanuel Novo It was achieved by chance. He alternated in the formation between old rivals – Varzim and Rio Avi – and left the midfield behind, strapped on the gloves and never let go of them, even when his goal of becoming a professional was seriously threatened by the complicated rise to senior football.
He tried his luck in the former Second Division (B), in experiences that made him think about abandoning professionalism, as he devoted himself to his father’s company, with which he prepared “the nets and everything the boat needs,” at a time when the fields were bare. Subordinate BalasarAF Porto’s motto was a reality. He went up to Familialcompete for a goal JD Chavez in Firstly With Ricardo Nunes or Antonio Felipe, before venturing into the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, after periods in Penafiel, Romania that it filgueiras.
With a CV built on perseverance, Emmanuel Nouveau, 31, presents himself as a storied bastion of a career that reached its best peak on Saudi soil. I entered through the doors Jeddah Clubin 2021/22, and remains in the country, giving it legitimacy to challenge the idea proposed by Ronaldo, that local football will become a force on a global scale.
The first contact with the Saudi reality: “Jeddah did not have its own infrastructure.”
“I got a really big shock. I was part of one of the worst teams in League Two organizationally. Obviously the salary they offered me was attractive and I didn’t think twice. I came for the financial aspect and the experience… I arrived and the training conditions were very poor. Jeddah did not have its own infrastructure, training center, stadium or changing room. There was nothing. I simply got there and they said: “Emmanuel, this is your training equipment.” Zero zero.
He quickly became one of the symbols of the Jeddah Club @Arquivo Pessoal
Emmanuel was surprised by the reality, and found the trips to the “Municipal Training Center” to be truly epic: “We went there equipped and trained, got into the car all sweaty, and came home to shower and wash our clothes. It was very complicated at first. I thought: “How can a footballer put himself through these kinds of conditions?” It occurred to me that it must be so. Earning money in this country, with a good salary and a winning prize, about one or two thousand euros, was impossible in Portugal!
“People did not take the lectures seriously.”
Salary numbers are not in line with Portuguese reality, but the hostility towards that Middle Eastern country does not stop at the financial difference. The “joking in the middle of training” mentality of his Saudi teammates impressed Emmanuel, who was surprised by the “amateur style of football” that he did not encounter even when he was competing for the Portuguese club Porto.
“People did not take the coach’s words seriously. It confused me, but in my first year things went very well mathematically. I focused on the matches, and I knew that I would be an undisputed starter in the team, and one of the most important players. He also noted that it gave me extra motivation.
This motivation brought us laurels at the right time: “We achieved it maintenance. I gave very good performances and left my mark, and in the meantime, I started being talked about a lot. You were the fourth goalkeeper in the league with the most clean sheets. If I’m not mistaken, they were 13 [n.d.r 14] clean sheets, in a season consisting of 38 matches. It was a statistic that helped him the following year receive offers to play.
From competition to match preparation, the goalkeeper faced a different reality @Arquivo Pessoal
Despite the change of club, the tics inherent in Saudi sporting culture remained, even as the arrival of big names increased: “I still play with some players who do not make a living solely from football. Their focus is not just on football. We played in a professional league, and good names have arrived here, but not all Saudi contracts are the same. There are players who work in the police, in the country’s Ministry of Defense. For them it is the most important…”
“It’s a very relaxed mentality, and it’s difficult to compare it to the European level. The arrival of foreigners improved their mentality. Professionalism and seriousness in training and matches. When I arrived, there were only four [estrangeiros] In the team, he did not have the strength to put the Saudis in the right mindset. They have problems arriving on time, many of them miss training for simple things, they say they feel cold or tired… During the Jeddah season, I played with some who trained once a week and on Sunday they were starters. It was a daily struggle to keep the group together.
“The highest point in his career” and.. a new “shot in the dark.”
After a first year of adaptation, Emanuel Novo has reached the “highest point” of his career in the Middle East, in 2022/23, now in colours. Riyadh“In addition to individual exhibitions, we were able to do that Move. It happened in the end, a good group was formed, with a good coach, good players and good conditions of reality, in a well-organised club, where things could happen.
The owner of the Riyadh Club, Emanuel, achieved fourth place @Personal Archive
With the perfect season over, continuity did not occur at the club. With “some proposals continuing” in the country, Emmanuel Novo was not shy when describing the new challenge as a “shot in the dark,” and stressed: “The Taraji It ended up being my decision and my manager’s decision. This was the biggest offer I received after moving up the division. Although there are famous clubs with more ambitious projects, they have not done well financially.
In a team coming from the third division, whose goal is “to move in the middle of the table,” several problems have returned to the orbit of the main Portuguese goalkeeper since his arrival in Qatif: “The club is really very disorganized. There are no minimum training conditions…in fact, the results are much better compared to the conditions we have.”
Top of the Saudi League? “There is a lot to improve to be attractive.”
Speaking of the situation, it is known that Saudi football is going through a growth phase, as a result of a large capital injection. The offers are attractive for all clubs in the two professional divisions, but there is still inconsistency in several parameters. Challenged to comment on Formulations By Cristiano Ronaldo On the premise of the Saudi Premier League becoming one of the best leagues in the world, Emanuel Novo adopted a more skeptical stance, despite recognizing its upward curve.
The mission includes keeping Esperance in the second section @personal archive
“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, as a university and a state, has the two things linked to each other. Ronaldo said the league could become one of the five or six best leagues in the world… Well, there is money and they can bring in the players they want, we will increasingly get used to seeing big players arrive, but it happens. It confuses me to put the Saudi League at the level of the English Premier League, the Spanish League, or the Italian League.”
An opinion that does not prevent Goalie Villacondenso from imagining the growth of this great sport, amid the many gaps that exist: “With seven or eight great players in every “eleven”, the tournament will grow. Now, being in the top six or top seven… the mentality of the country is that, even with Ronaldo coming, there are still things that need to move forward. Even in the first category, there are clubs without training facilities, without academies or training levels. I remember seeing pictures of Ronaldo wearing his clothes, and I don’t know which team he was from, in the changing room where they had a rack to hang shirts and a chair in the middle of the room… There is a lot that needs to be improved to make the league attractive.”
“The Saudi mentality regarding sports is a little behind ours. They are very worried about show offWith the lives of stars outside the field, but I believe that stars will change the dynamic of the clubs. I know that Ronaldo has already succeeded in changing the routine inside Al-Nassr. Things like training schedule, arrival time, food… rules within the club which also means star power.”
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