Let’s face it, who wouldn’t want to live in a city like Porto?
Portugal’s second largest city – behind Lisbon, the capital – not only boasts comfortable Mediterranean temperatures all year round, but it’s also a destination steeped in history and culture.
It’s little wonder that people from all over the world have flocked to the city over the years and now call it home, while many fortunate souls – including some rather well-known figures – cite Porto as their place of birth.
José Sócrates, Portugal’s former Prime Minister until last March, is one of the city’s natives. The 54-year-old resigned after six years in office following the Portuguese parliament’s decision to reject an austerity budget.
Political analyst José Pacheco Pereira no doubt had something to say about that at the time. He too was born in Porto, back in January 1949, and also works as a historian.
Miguel Andresen de Sousa Tavares is another influential individual born in Porto, working as a lawyer, journalist and writer. He is also a big fan of the city’s major football club, FC Porto, which has employed a whole host of world famous footballers and managers over the years.
It has also produced them , José Mourinho, although not from Porto, is synonymous with the city after guiding the club to Champions League glory in 2004. Now with Real Madrid, Mourinho is widely-recognised as one of the sport’s finest coaches and owes a great deal of gratitude to the club nicknamed the “Dragons”.
Jorge Nuno Pinto da Costa was – and still is – the FC Porto president at the time. He is officially the club’s longest-serving president after being appointed in May 1982, overseeing the most successful period in the Dragons’ history.
Last year – 2011 – was particularly special for the club. Under the management of André Villas-Boas, who would later endure an ill-fated spell with Chelsea, FC Porto won three major trophies including the Europa League.
Integral to his triumphant team were Colombia international Radamel Falcao and Brazil striker Hulk, both of whom remain firm favourites with the FC Porto faithful.
As for footballers who were actually born in Porto, midfielder Raul Meireles no longer plays for his local team – he did between 2004 and 2010– but still looks back fondly on his time at the inspiring Estádio do Dragão, which was opened in time for the 2004 European Championships.
He now lives in west London, where he plays for Chelsea, along with former Porto goalkeeper Hilario.
The likes of Deco, Ricardo Carvalho and Paulo Ferreira – all of whom played a key role in the 2004 Champions League success – also ended up at Chelsea having established themselves with FC Porto.
Arguably the most famous Porto-born FC Porto player is Fernando Gomes – the club’s all-time top scorer with over 300 goals scored in two separate spells during the seventies and eighties.
However, there’s more than one football club in Porto. Boavista FC are the less fashionable of the two teams, but former Portugal international Nuno Gomes and ex-Netherlands international Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink both played for the Second Division outfit, along with several other big names.
Away from football but sticking with sport, Thiago Monteiro – the racing driver who spent a season in Formula One – hails from Porto, as does Rose Mota, who won gold for marathon running at the 1988 Seoul Olympics.
Believe it or not, there are some people who were born in Porto but now live and work outside of the Portuguese city. Artist Artur Barrio is one of those people – he now lives in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
But it can also work the other way. Richard Zimler is a best-selling author of fiction, born in New York, but now resides in Porto and even became a naturalised Portuguese citizen in 2002.
Other citizens of Porto itself include the incredible Monoel de Oliveira, who continues to make an average of one film per year despite being 103-years-old. He started making films in 1927, and is the only filmmaker whose active career has spanned from the silent era to the digital age.
Ruth Escobar, a Porto-born actress born in 1935, must feel like a baby of the film-world compared to the legendary Oliveira.
Eduardo Souto de Moura and Álvaro Siza Vieira are two well-known architects, with the latter considered by some to be Portugal’s greatest living architect.
Elsewhere, 74-year-old entrepreneur Belmiro de Azevedo is worth an estimated $1.5 billion, making him the second richest man in Portugal. Although he wasn’t born in Porto, he attended the university and now lives in the city with his family.
Armindo Freitas-Magalhães is a famous psychologist, who has conducted various studies on the human smile. While composerAntónio Pinho Vargas and scientist Alexandre Quintanilhaalso live in the cosmopolitan Portuguese city.
It might not be the biggest city in Portugal, but residents of Porto would probably say it’s the most significant. And you contact any of the above mentioned personalities on a personal level. How? Visit Directly.me to find out!
By Robert Swan