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Paulo Almeida

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Full name
Paulo Almeida Santos

Paulo Almeida

Current team

1.82m (5ft 11½in)

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Date of birth
(1981-04-20) 20 April 1981 (age 34)

Place of birth
Itarantim, Bahia, Brazil

Playing position
Defensive Midfielder

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Paulo Almeida Santos (born 20 April 1981) is a Brazilian footballer who last played for Vitória da Conquista.


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A defensive midfielder known for his leadership, he was the captain of the Santos team, dubbed Meninos da Vila, that won the 2002 Brasileirão, their first since 1968. After representing Santos in their first Copa Libertadores Finals in forty years, Almeida had an unsuccessful spell at Benfica between 2004 and 2006. Afterwards, he represented a dozen others teams in Brazil.

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He was called up to represent Brazil U23 at the 2003 CONCACAF Gold Cup, amassing five caps as Brazil finished runners-up.

Club career

Born in Itarantim, Bahia, Almeida career started in the regional futsal leagues, eventually leading to a seven month spell at Cruzeiro in 1997. After being released by Cruzeiro, he returned to futsal and had an impressive performance in a regional tournament. Luciano Lacerda saw him and brought him to Santos. In 2000, the 19-year old made his professional debut in a match against Guarani, and went on establish himself in the first team, replacing Freddy Rincón in the starting eleven. He was described by Pelé as having the same spirit as Zito: "It's always war for him, it's a guy that does not miss a training session because he always wants to be the best. It is funny, how they are coinciding at Santos. He was proven to be a player with future, with lots of personality".

At age 20, he was named captain and in the following year, Almeida and others like Diego, Robinho, Renato and Elano, known as Meninos da Vila, helped Santos win their first Brasileirão since 1968. He remained a team regular in 2003, helping Santos reach their first Copa Libertadores Finals since 1963, losing it to Boca Juniors. In January 2004, Santos tried to renew his contract but Almeida refused. Three months later it was announced that he would move to Benfica on a free transfer when his contract expired. Although he still competed in the early stages of the Brasileirão, in early June, Vanderlei Luxemburgo officially released him.

He made his debut for Benfica in a UEFA Champions League qualifying match with Anderlecht. Despite his recognition in Brazil, Almeida struggled to adjust to the tempo of European football, and by November it was speculated that he would be loaned out. He was offered back to Santos in an unsuccessful bid from Benfica to Robinho, and as the season progressed, he slipped down the pecking order and was demoted to the reserve team. After not finding a team in the summer of 2005, Almeida remained with the B-team and competed in the third tier, until he opted to terminate his contract with Benfica in April 2006.

Almeida returned to Brazil and in June, he signed with Corinthians, reuniting with Émerson Leão. He debuted on 5 August against Clube Atlético Paranaense, and represented the team until July 2007, when he rescinded his contract. His next club was Náutico which he played for between December 2007 and August 2008. subsequently moving to ABC in the later part of 2008. Almeida then changed clubs almost every six months, passing through União Esporte Clube, Goianésia, Rio Branco, Itumbiara, among others.

International career

Almeida represented his national team five times, all of them in the 2003 CONCACAF Gold Cup, where Brazil sent their under-23 team, because their main team was competing in the 2003 FIFA Confederations Cup. Nevertheless, all the appearances and goals in this tournament were recognized by FIFA as full international caps. Almeida played with team mates, Robinho and Diego, plus others like Kaká and Nilmar, with Brazil reaching the final, where they lost one-nil with Mexico.


  • Copa Libertadores: Runner-up 2003
  • Brasileirão: 2002, 2004
  • Benfica
  • Primeira Liga: 2004–05
  • Supertaça Cândido de Oliveira: Runner-up 2004
  • International

  • CONCACAF Gold Cup: Runner-up 2003
  • References

    Paulo Almeida Wikipedia

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