Nuno Azevedo e Cardoso: More than skills – it’s about shaping lives

Eleanor Sa-Carneiro

Sporting’s former head of internationalization commends the Portuguese club for having the best academy which can be attributed to their holistic approach to the training and preparation of young football players. “They escort them through life”, Nuno told The Qonversation.

The success of the Sporting Academy has been visible over the decades, responsible for training Ronaldo, but also Nani, Dani, Figo, Quaresma, and many of Portugal’s biggest players and biggest exports. Sporting’s secret? According to Nuno, beyond the skills the youth may have, a good academy will focus on every aspect of the players’ lives, “they are concerned of all aspects of those young kids. All! They escort them through life. And so, everything is important; the nutrition, schools, sleep, everything and this is very important”.

When asked where he believed the future of football lies, Nuno was quick to answer, “I believe that talent is everywhere. But there’s a lot of talent in Africa!”. With regards to scouting in Africa and training, Nuno encourages clubs to “realize that they are working with people, with small people, that they are grooming into men”.

“That’s when you concentrate on the player” Nuno explains, and every aspect of their lives, referring back to his favourite school of thought which monitored every player’s family, school and every change. “The biggest clubs and the biggest academies like our club (Sporting), they worry about these things. These are not little things”.

Nuno Azevedo e Cardoso tells The Qonversation of his experience as the president of Vianense, a small football club in the north of Portugal taking it to the top of the third league from the bottom of the fourth in record time. Nuno tells us why he loves internationalisation, where the future of football lies, and reveals the key ingredients to a successful team.

Watch this exciting episode of The Qonversation hosted by Eleanor Sá-Carneiro.

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