Gonçalo has become the last of the Guedes saga that is still active. His father retired a long time ago, but his brother left him later this year. After trying his luck in the lower categories of Belenenses, Amadora, Benfica and Leira, with which he went on to do the preseason with the first team in the First Division, Joao hung up his gloves a few months ago to dedicate himself to the family business, to the pharmacy that the Guedes have in Benavente. Joao was a goalkeeper and with only 26 years old he decided to leave after making his last stops in his town team. “I did it for fun and for sports, but I have a lot of work and I have had to leave“Joao says as he takes a gap in his pharmacy to answer the phone.” We have a lot of work because of the pandemic, it’s incredible. And that Portugal has not been much affected, “admits the oldest of the Guedes, trained with the degree of Pharmacy and Institutional Relations. East of Lisbon, about 50 kilometers away, is Benavente, the town of Los Guedes. There Gonçalo, the Valencia player, maintains all his roots. Benavente is the place where the winger is lost whenever he can, the Portuguese municipality where he gave his first kicks to a ball. It was not strange that Gonçalo learned to kick rather than to walk. His father, Rogerio, was also a soccer player. “Modest, but with talent and a lot of goals. He became a scorer of tournaments in the area,” says Joao Maria, Gonçalo’s older brother who kindly attends to AS. Rogerio did his part so that the two brothers could enjoy their passion. In fact, the father lived through some difficult years. While Gonçalo knocked down the door of Benfica, Joao Maria played in Belenenses. “My father went crazy from one place to another, from one sports city to another and, on top of that, he worked. My mother also worked to help out at home, “says Joao. Rogerio Guedes, Gonçalo’s father, top left, in his stage as a player.Image provided by Joao Maria Guedes. Joao Maria and Gonçalo Guedes, in the lower categories of Benfica.Image provided by Joao Maria Guedes. Gonçalo Guedes and Joao Maria Guedes, currently.INSTAGRAM GONCALOGUEDES15 Gonçalo was growing and leaving behind that “Boy especially good at math and mental computation”. “He was intelligent and a good student, but he was the terror of the teachers because he had a lot of energy. He never failed a course, although later he had to opt for football “, says Joao, who fondly remembers his brother’s character: “Gonçalo has practically the same friends that he had in the nursery. It is a very hard core that gets together whenever it can “.” It is usual to see him nowadays on the streets of Benavente with his longtime friends. He is a humble, affectionate, simple and accessible boy. Right now all the boys in our school are looking at him. Everyone wants to be Gonçalo Guedes in our town, he is the idol of the people “, says Joaquím Ganhao, the sports director who saw Gonçalo born and who has some 200 children under his tutelage.The Guedes brothers lived many experiences together, but they will be left with the thorn of never having been able to share costumes, nor have they faced each other on a professional level. “It is clear that I would have loved it, but I am very happy for my brother’s career. He has fulfilled his dream and we are very proud, “says Joao Maria as he remembers” the afternoons and afternoons “that were spent in the home garden playing on the lawn: “In the beginning, we played on the street. Then we moved and went to a bigger house with grass and we played a lot against each other. I was a goalkeeper and he was a forward, so we could use those training sessions. Gonçalo never had an idol in his childhood, he only thought about enjoying himself. “ Gonçalo knocked down the door very soon and Benavente was too small for him. Joaquím Ganhao, sports director of the modest Portuguese club, says that the Valencia winger never got to play any official match with Benavente as they did not have teams for such young children. “Gonçalo always had to play with older kids and he could only play friendlies with our jersey. It was in an Easter tournament when Benavante invited Benfica. We confronted them and from there he got attention and they signed him. At just six years old! “Says Ganhao.”His signing for Benfica was great news at homeBut at the time we didn’t think it could go that far. My parents only wanted their children to play sports. In fact, we also did horseback riding and swimming, in addition to playing soccer. “, says Joao Maria. But soccer and ball were always present in the Guedes’ home. “My father was also a delegate for Benavente and we lived in a house next to the soccer field. We spent all day playing. Gonçalo attracted attention because he was very thin, but very fast and competitive. He highlighted his creativity to overcome rivals in one on one, “recalls Gonçalo’s brother, only a year and a half older than Guedes. Joao and Gonçalo are currently separated by distance, but their treatment is daily. Joao does not miss a game of Valencia and closely follows his brother. The eldest of the Guedes admires the little’s capacity for sacrifice. “He is very strong mentally. He has shown it with the injuries he has suffered because he has always turned the situation around. He does not give in to external pressure and only thinks about getting up again and again. He is a true survivor and how he has been recovered from injuries attests to this. He is very happy at Valencia because he is in a large and historic club. Also, the city is fabulous and I am very happy, “says Joao.
Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram A day after the European Union (EU) provided Greece with political support in its bid to rescue its public finances, George Papandreou accused Brussels of being “timid,” lacking coordination and of using Greece as a scapegoat to hide the 27-nation bloc’s own failings.Speaking to his Cabinet on Friday after returning from an EU leaders’ summit with plenty of encouraging words but no specific financial commitment from the other members, Papandreou suggested that Brussels should also share some responsibility for Greece’s perilous predicament.“Greece has no political or economic superpower to fight this battle alone,” he said. “In the last few months of this crisis, the EU gave its political support but in the battle against the impressions and the psychology of the market, it was at the very least timid.”He said that speculation about the country had “created a psychology of imminent collapse”.The prime minister then turned on the previous New Democracy government, accusing it of covering up the true state of the Greek economy. The conservatives had projected a 3.7 percent deficit for 2009 last spring, several months before PASOK came to power.But Papandreou said it had been remiss of Brussels not to double-check the figures and now put all the blame on Greece.“There was quite a big effort in the European Union to hide their responsibilities behind Greece,” he said. “The Union, the Commission, even Eurostat had the responsibility to be vigilant and to point out to the previous government the slippery slope it was on.”The premier said that the lack of a coordinated response by the EU to Greece’s problem had led to Greek bond spreads reaching a 10-year high and the euro coming under pressure from speculators.“There was a lack of coordination between the various bodies of the Union, the Commission, the member states and the European Central Bank. There were even differing opinions within those bodies.”Mr Papandreous comments followed the European Union offer to back Greece through its debt crisis after the European Leaders summit in Brussels.Despite the EU offer to back Greece it gave no details of any plans to help. European Council president Herman Van Rompuy told reporters after a summit of European Union leaders that assisting Greece was “not necessary today”.The leaders’ broad political commitment came as Greece struggled to tame a towering budget deficit seen endangering other markets in the 16-country eurozone. Among these are other highly-leveraged members such as Portugal and Spain.“Euro-area member states will take determined and co-ordinated action if needed to safeguard financial stability in the euro area as a whole,” Mr Van Rompuy said.“Greece did not ask for any financial support,” he added.Mr Papandreou also reinforced this message after the Leaders summit, insisting that EU leaders didn’t discuss specific plans because Greece didn’t need financial help.He described the leaders’ political agreement as a sign that they would support Greece as it corrects past mistakes and returns its economy to stable footing, dismissing recent market moves as pure speculation.“It’s a crystal clear message for the Greek economy and also for the eurozone,” Mr Papandreou said.European stock markets and the euro fell sharply as it became clear the EU leaders made only a political commitment to help the country.