Why storm opponents Sporting are on the first VHS from sports director Schicker

Why storm opponents Sporting are on the first VHS from sports director Schicker
Sturm Graz sports director Andreas Schicker
Image: Gepa

Only the Leões (Lions) from the Iberian Peninsula trained two world footballers, Luis Figo and Cristiano Ronaldo. As a member of the “Tres Grandes” – the “Big Three” in Portugal – the Lisbon top club has well over 100,000 members. Andreas Schicker has been a household name for Sporting for 27 years. “Sporting is on my first VHS cassette, which I watched over and over again as a ten-year-old,” Schicker told the APA. “1995, Rapid – Sporting, 4-2 in extra time with Stumpf and Jancker as goal scorers. That’s where I met Sporting,” said the future professional footballer before the start of the group phase of the Europa League.

Figo and Ronaldo are the two superplayers who were formed at Sporting and then delighted a world audience. With Nani, Ricardo Quaresma and Simão, numerous others matured into top players in the talent factory that is now called “Academia Cristiano Ronaldo”. Of the 14 players who won the European Championship final in France in 2016, ten came from the Sporting school. It was not for nothing that the former club president Bruno de Carvalho christened the Portuguese national team the “Aurelios”, named after Aurelio Pereira, known as Ronaldo’s supporter and founder of the first scouting system in Portugal over 30 years ago.

Since then, the club has acted as a supplier for the European A class. Sporting accepts the trough that the commitment to teaching results in. The winner of the 1964 cup winner’s competition has ten Champions League participations, the premier class millions usually go to city rivals Benfica (this year against Salzburg) or Porto. Internationally, Sporting does not always present itself as solid as can be, as LASK demonstrated in 2019 and 2020. Every now and then the big hit happens nationally. Like in 2021, when the green-whites became champions for the 19th time after 19 years of waiting. The result was two Champions League appearances in a row.

Schicker also finds the philosophy “exciting.” “If you see which players have been exported in recent years, it’s great. They always have very exciting talents in their ranks, which we then see relatively quickly in a top league with a top team.” Schicker and Christian Ilzer also took a similar path with Sturm. “Everything there is just a lot bigger than here.”

When Ronaldo returns: Coach threatened to quit

Sporting coach Ruben Amorim has been responsible for the personnel loss since 2020. According to reports, he threatened the bosses with dismissal a year ago if they seriously considered bringing back old star Ronaldo. Although the 38-year-old relies on an experienced defense, he values ​​significantly younger players offensively for his team in the 3-4-3.

The fact that the two tricky wingers Pedro Goncalves and Francisco Trincao could make the difference should be warning enough for the Graz team after their experience against Eindhoven. Technical fittings are produced on the Atlantic coast, and physical presence is sometimes purchased. With the Swedish team player Viktor Gyökeres, a classic center forward arrived in the summer for 20 million euros. Behind it, the Dane Morten Hjulmand, an ex-Admiran, is condensing the rooms. The fact that these are not always small is something that Sturm could taste in return.

Wins against Arsenal, Tottenham and Frankfurt in the previous season show what feats the Lions are capable of on good days. Or the fact that Sporting and Midtjylland eliminated the Danish club 5-1 in the Europa League intermediate round, against which Sturm had cut its teeth just weeks before in the decisive group game (0-2). “Sporting, together with Benfica and Porto, have dominated Portuguese football for decades. That speaks for the club, for the history,” emphasized Schicker. He doesn’t see his team without a chance. “If we bring our aggressive style of play onto the pitch, then it could also be difficult for Sporting in Graz.”

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