Baía Vitor

Vítor Manuel Martins Baía, is a Portuguese retired footballer who played as a goalkeeper. One of the most decorated goalkeepers of all time, his career was intimately connected with FC Porto, which he started representing professionally still in his teens, helping it to 26 titles and eventually remaining with the club in an ambassadorial role. Born in Vila Nova de Gaia, Porto District, Baía joined FC Porto’s youth ranks at 13 from also northern club Leça FC.[3] In early 1989, he renounced to appear at the FIFA World Youth Championship, as he had relegated Pole Józef Młynarczyk to the bench and his club was still chasing the Primeira Liga title, which eventually eluded them (second place). Baía made his first-team debut in a game against Vítoria de Guimarães, and did not lose his starting place for the following seven seasons, winning five leagues and two Taça de Portugal and conceding only 116 goals (16,5 goals per year). Also having played for Barcelona, Baía appeared with the Portugal national team in two European Championships and the 2002 World Cup.



Match Worn Shirt

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Baía had his senior debut on 19 December 1990 in a 1–0 friendly win over the United States at the age of 21. He went on to make 80 appearances for the national team until 2002, playing in all the games in UEFA Euro 1996 and 2000 (except one in the latter, as Portugal was already qualified) and in the 2002 FIFA World Cup. In Euro 2000, he stopped Arif Erdem’s penalty in the 2–0 defeat of Turkey in the quarterfinals. After the failure in the 2002 World Cup, coach António Oliveira was sacked when he refused to quit. Luiz Felipe Scolari was hired as his replacement and Baía, a stalwart for the past ten years with a record of caps in his position, was ditched.

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It was between 1994 and 1996 that he made his name as a world-class goalkeeper, being voted for the “ESM Team of the Year” after the 1994–95 season and being named in the “IFFHS’ World’s Best Goalkeeper of the Year 1995” list, finishing sixth in the voting[7] and improving to fifth in the following year; consequently, he was named in the Portugal squad for Euro 1996, being transferred after this tournament to Spain’s FC Barcelona for the highest amount paid for a player in the position in the world. In 2004 Baía founded a charity with his wife, Alexandra Rodrigues de Almeida, which would bear his own name and would be dedicated to helping underprivileged children and troubled teens. Also that year, he would donate a pair of his autographed gloves to be included in the UEFA Jubilee time capsule, a collection of UEFA memorabilia that was sealed underground in September, only opened 50 years hence. Baía published his autobiography entitled 99 – Vítor Baía in 2005. On 10 June 2008 he was made an Officer of the Ordem do Infante Dom Henrique by the president of Portugal, Aníbal Cavaco Silva. In August, 2015, EA Sports announced Baía as part of their FIFA 16 Ultimate Team Legends, along with eight other former footballers.