New Wolves goalkeeper Rui Patricio arrives with a strong pedigree from lengthy spells as Sporting CP and Portugal’s number one goalkeeper, but football expert Tom Kundert has given Wolves.co.uk a greater insight.
Kundert is a Portuguese journalist who watches Sporting CP regularly and believes Wolves have a strong goalkeeper on their hands – once he returns from the World Cup in Russia.
Tom, as a Portuguese football journalist, what do you make of Wolves’ signing of Rui Patricio?
I’ve seen him practically every other week for the last ten years as a Sporting CP fan as well as journalist. He’s a fantastic goalkeeper, there’s no doubt about it that Wolves have a brilliant player who should help them in their step up to the Premier League. I think he’ll be a big asset.
What have you made of his career to date, which has been spent entirely at Sporting CP?
He’s a Sporting icon, it’s a real shame the way his career has come to an end there. He’s been a fantastic servant, if he’d have stayed one more season he’d have broken the record for the most appearances. He’s been the one constant over the years and a fantastic performer. He saved a penalty on his debut against Maritimo 12 years ago and since then, he’s been Sporting number one. He rarely gets injured and is now an elite goalkeeper who has got better and better each year.
What would you describe at Patricio’s best attributes?
His biggest strength has always been his shot stopping. He’s got great reactions and is very brave. One vs one he’s one of the best goalkeepers in the world. He comes out on top so often. He really does command his box impressively. He knows when to punch and when to catch – he’s got it down to a tee.
What is the general opinion of Patricio in Portugal?
It’s quite surprising for most people in Portugal that he’s stayed in the country for so long. He’s obviously been a top-class goalkeeper for a long time. He’s got a nickname which commentators often call him, ‘Saint Patricio’ in English. Quite often he hasn’t had the greatest of defences in front of him but has been the savior for Sporting and Portugal.
How important has he been to the Portuguese national team, having been their number one for a number of years?
He’s been Portugal’s number one since 2010 in all the major tournaments. He put in a fantastic performance in the Euro 2016 final and his save from the Griezmann header is now iconic. It was heading for the top corner. There’s a statue of him making the save and he’s immortalised. It’s a nice touch to show how highly he’s thought of for Portugal.
How do you expect Patricio to adapt English football and life at Wolves?
I suppose the only worry would be that he’s always been in Portugal. He’s 100 percent Portuguese so it’ll be interesting how he copes with it. In a lot of respects, Wolves is the perfect place for him to be because he’ll have a lot of Portuguese players around him and the manager too. I’m sure everyone will make sure he settles quickly. Mentally he’s a very strong goalkeeper and that should stand him in good stead going into a new environment.
Finally, Patricio is currently at the World Cup in Russia, what are the hopes surrounding the national team in Portugal?
I think people are quietly confident, especially after the first game. People recognise as a team Portugal didn’t play very well but when you’ve got Ronaldo in your team anything is possible. They didn’t do themselves justice, although Patricio didn’t do anything wrong. Portugal are European champions so really could do quite well.
Tom Kundert is a journalist and author covering Portuguese football and Wolves supporters can see more of his work via @PortuGoal1 on Twitter.