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- ''Goalkeeper Rui Patricio made a spectacular debut for Sporting on 19 November 2006, in the traditionally difficult away trip at Maritimo in the Portuguese Liga. Deputising for the injured Ricardo, Sporting were under pressure as they desperately defended a one-goal lead. With 15 minutes remaining Patricio produced a magnificent penalty save to guarantee all three points for his team.
After such an auspicious start to his professional career, and subsequently shining in the World Youth Cup held in Canada in the summer of 2007, Patricio could justifiably have expected a taste of first-team action the following season at Sporting.
But surely the young stopper, touted as Portugalâ€™s future custodian between the posts, could not have expected to become an automatic starter early in the 2007/08 season, lining up in the Champions League at venues such as Old Trafford.
After all, Sporting had recently spent two million euros to contract Serbian international goalkeeper Vladimir Stojkovic, but ongoing friction between the new recruit and head coach Paulo Bento soon consigned the Serb to a season of bench-warming.
Enter Patricio, who Sporting fans, further wooed by impressive displays in pre-season friendlies, were hoping would step seamlessly into the void left by departing Portugal number one, Ricardo.
It did not quite turn out that way. Patricio interspersed several excellent performances, most notably in the Uefa Cup run to the quarter-finals, with other distinctly average ones.
Nobody doubts that the big and brave lad hailing from the small town of Marrazes in the centre of Portugal is a fine shot-stopper. But his Achillesâ€™ heel has proved to be his uncertainty when coming for crosses, allied to a lack of concentration which cost several goals. Were it not for Bento and Stojkovic having fallen out irreparably he would surely have spent a spell on the sidelines.
Nevertheless, for one reason or another Bento stuck with Patricio, and credit has to be given to the youngster for withstanding heavy criticism and showing commendable fortitude to finish the season back on song.
A first full season in professional football at the highest level was capped when Luiz Felipe Scolari selected Patricio, still only 20 years old, in the Portugal squad for Euro 2008.
With invaluable experience learned from his rookie year, Sporting and Portugal fans will be hoping the promising player can iron out the rough edges to add to the impressive list of home-grown talent nurtured at the Lisbon club's famed academy. ''
Some of the saves of Rui Patrício
0:48 - 1:20 - 2:15 - 2:29