What ever happened to? Isaías

Wow, look at that kit.
In the summer of 1995 Coventry City manager Ron Atkinson pulled off a real coup, he became the first manager to sign a Brazilian player for a Premier League club.

The player he signed was 31 year old midfielder Isaías (Isaías Marques Soares) from Portuguese club Benfica for a fee of £500,000, Coventry's other signings that summer were less the glamourous figures of Paul Telfer, John Williams and John Salako.

Isaías had been an iconic player for Benfica since he joined them in 1990 but he left the club as part of then manager Artur Jorge's disasterous clear out of established players called the "limpiezo de balneário" that left Benfica struggling to recover their dominance in the Portuguese league and cup for nearly a decade.

Isaís was already well known to the fans of Arsenal, who had watched him demolish their team at Highbury with 2 goals in a 1-3 win to eliminate Arsenal from the 1991-92 European Cup 4-2 on aggregate.

Isaías never really lived up to the expectations of the City fans, only making 12 league appearances over two seasons, scoring 2 goals.

In 1997 he left Coventry to return to Portugal joining Sporting Clube Campomaiorense . In 1999 he returned to Brazil where he played for lower league teams Cabofriense and then Friburguense until he was nearly 40 years old.

After retiring from 11 a-side professional football he took up beach soccer, finally getting the chance to wear the international colours of his adoptive country Portugal. He had been prevented from playing international football as the Portuguese didn't accept Brazilian born players in their national team back in the 1990s (this was long before the era of Deco, Pepe & Liedson).

Isaías currently works as a youth coach back in Cabo Frio in Brazil. His son Isaís Junior has expressed his desire to follow his father's footsteps and play professional football in Portugal.

Isaías may not be fondly remembered by the fans of Coventry City, but he will always have a special place in the hearts of Benfica fans.




See also

Part of the What ever happened to? series.

1 comment:

  1. Great article. It is true. I'm a 33 year old Benfica supporter and one of my favorite player of all time is Isaías. His goals, his skills and the times he got the ball and keep on going forward towards the opposite goal will be remembered for many years in Lisbon.

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