Hugo Miguel Ribeiro Leal (born 21 May 1980) is a Portuguese former footballer. A central midfielder, he was also a reliable set piece taker.

Hugo Leal
Personal information
Full name Hugo Miguel Ribeiro Leal
Date of birth (1980-05-21) 21 May 1980 (age 39)
Place of birth Cascais, Portugal
Height 1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)
Playing position Midfielder
Youth career
1989–1991 Alcabideche
1991–1992 Estoril
1992–1997 Benfica
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1997–1999 Benfica 33 (4)
1997–1998Alverca (loan) 20 (3)
1999–2001 Atlético Madrid 59 (5)
2001–2004 Paris Saint-Germain 53 (1)
2004–2005 Porto 7 (0)
2005Académica (loan) 12 (0)
2005–2007 Braga 17 (0)
2007–2008 Belenenses 8 (0)
2008–2009 Trofense 21 (3)
2009–2010 Salamanca 36 (1)
2010–2012 Vitória Setúbal 45 (2)
2012–2013 Estoril 5 (0)
Total 316 (19)
National team
1998–2001 Portugal U21 20 (4)
1999 Portugal 1 (0)
Teams managed
2015 Estoril
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

He amassed Primeira Liga totals of 148 matches and nine goals over 11 seasons, having started his career with Benfica. He also played professionally, albeit with little impact in the countries' top division, in Spain and France.

Club careerEdit

Born in the Lisbon outskirts of Cascais, Leal started his career with local S.L. Benfica and, not yet 17, made his Primeira Liga debut against S.C. Espinho, in a 2–0 home win on 20 April 1997.[1] He made his breakthrough in the 1998–99 season, playing 27 league games and scoring three goals; in between, he served a loan stint at Benfica's farm team F.C. Alverca, at the time also in the top level.

In the summer of 1999, Leal moved abroad to play for Spain's Atlético Madrid. In his first year the club was relegated to the second division, and in his only goal of the campaign he was also sent off, in a 13 May 2000 home draw against Sevilla FC;[2] he stayed for the following season but could not help the Colchoneros win promotion back into La Liga, although he had established in the starting XI (36 matches, four goals).[3]

Leal joined Paris Saint-Germain F.C. in 2001, helping the capital side to two French Cup finals in consecutive years.[4] However, on 8 March 2002, in a match against FC Lorient for that competition, he suffered a serious injury to his left knee, being sidelined for the rest of the campaign after undergoing surgery and also missing that year's UEFA European Under-21 Championship;[5] his playing time was gradually cut, and both the player and the team agreed on an early contract termination on 4 August 2004.[6]

In August 2004, Leal signed a four-year contract with FC Porto.[7] He played for six months with the team before moving to Académica de Coimbra on loan as he did not get enough playing time; at this point, he seriously consider ending his playing career.[8]

For 2005–06, Leal moved to S.C. Braga,[9] but left the club by mutual agreement in January 2007 after only managing 17 league appearances in nearly two seasons.[10][11] In August, he returned to Lisbon and joined C.F. Os Belenenses in a one-year deal, in another campaign severely cut short due to injuries.

In late October 2008, Leal signed a one-year contract with newly promoted C.D. Trofense.[12] After their top division relegation, he returned to Spain after eight years, joining UD Salamanca (also second tier) in a 1+1 deal – second year only if promotion was attained.[13]

During his only season with the Castile and León side, Leal was an undisputed starter, but not only did they not promote but almost suffered relegation. The 30-year-old returned to his country in late July 2010, signing for Vitória de Setúbal. In his third game, at former team Benfica, he missed a penalty kick to equalise the score after the opponents had just been reduced to ten men, and Vitória eventually lost 0–3.[14]

On 5 June 2012, 32-year-old Leal returned to G.D. Estoril Praia after 21 years, agreeing to a one-year deal.[15] In March 2015, following José Couceiro's departure, both he – who worked for his former youth club in the board of directors[16]– and former assistant Fabiano took the reins until the end of the season,[17] eventually leading the team to the 12th position in the top flight; in July, the former was appointed the sole head coach.[18]

International careerEdit

Leal won one cap for Portugal, aged 18, a 0–0 draw with the Netherlands in Paris on 19 February 1999.[19] Additionally, he participated with the under-20 team in the 1999 FIFA World Youth Championship held in Nigeria, exiting in the round of 16 following a penalty shootout loss to Japan (1–1 after 120 minutes).[20]


Paris SG



  1. ^ "Rúben Neves. Finalmente, um adulto (no papel)" [Rúben Neves. Finally, a grown up (on paper)]. i (in Portuguese). 13 March 2015. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  2. ^ "Un triste espectáculo de segunda" [A sad segunda show]. El Mundo (in Spanish). 13 May 2000. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  3. ^ "Qué fue de… Hugo Leal: talento luso en la etapa más negra del Atleti" [What happened to… Hugo Leal: Lusitanian talent in Atleti's darkest hour]. 20 minutos (in Spanish). 6 October 2016. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  4. ^ Crépin, Timothé (26 January 2017). "Mercato, Ligue 1: Ces Portugais passés par le PSG" [Market, League 1: Portuguese men with spells at PSG] (in French). France Football. Retrieved 12 December 2018.
  5. ^ "Hugo Leal falha Europeu" [Hugo Leal to miss European Championship] (in Portuguese). TSF. 19 March 2002. Archived from the original on 25 December 2014. Retrieved 29 February 2012.
  6. ^ "Hugo Leal rescinde com Paris St-Germain" [Hugo Leal cuts ties with Paris St-Germain] (in Portuguese). TSF. 4 August 2004. Archived from the original on 25 December 2014. Retrieved 29 February 2012.
  7. ^ "Hugo Leal picked by Porto". UEFA. 8 August 2004. Retrieved 3 May 2008.
  8. ^ "Hugo Leal: Pensava um dia regressar ao Benfica, hoje já não" [Hugo Leal: "Once i thought about returning to Benfica, not anymore"]. i (in Portuguese). 10 March 2011. Archived from the original on 10 December 2011. Retrieved 29 February 2012.
  9. ^ "Hugo Leal bound for Braga". UEFA. 11 July 2005. Retrieved 3 August 2008.
  10. ^ "Hugo Leal tramado por lesão no joelho" [Hugo Leal done in by knee injury]. Record (in Portuguese). 14 September 2005. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  11. ^ "Hugo Leal vê reeditado o calvário das lesões" [Hugo Leal goes through new injury ordeal]. Record (in Portuguese). 22 October 2006. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  12. ^ "Hugo Leal assina pelo Trofense" [Hugo Leal signs for Trofense] (in Portuguese). Rádio e Televisão de Portugal. 29 October 2008. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  13. ^ "El Salamanca ficha a Hugo Leal, ex del Atlético de Madrid" [Salamanca sign Hugo Leal, formerly of Atlético de Madrid]. Diario AS (in Spanish). 18 July 2009. Retrieved 2 April 2012.
  14. ^ "Ten-man Benfica bounce back – Roberto redeemed?". PortuGOAL. 28 August 2010. Archived from the original on 18 March 2012. Retrieved 25 March 2011.
  15. ^ "Estoril: Hugo Leal e Mano são reforços" [Estoril: Hugo Leal and Mano are additions] (in Portuguese). Mais Futebol. 5 June 2012. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  16. ^ "Estoril: Alexandre Faria eleito presidente, Hugo Leal será vogal" [Estoril: Alexandre Faria elected president, Hugo Leal will be vowel] (in Portuguese). Mais Futebol. 4 April 2014. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  17. ^ "Mais Fabiano do que Hugo" [More Fabiano than Hugo]. Record (in Portuguese). 9 March 2015. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  18. ^ "SAD escolhe Fabiano para treinador principal" [PLSC chooses Fabiano for head coach]. Record (in Portuguese). 3 July 2015. Archived from the original on 6 March 2016. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  19. ^ "Hugo Leal chamado à Selecção A" [Hugo Leal called to A national team] (in Portuguese). Mais Futebol. 23 April 2001. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  20. ^ "Sub-20: Guardião imprevisto no adeus aos Mundiais" [Under-20: Unexpected goalie in goodbye to World Championships]. Record (in Portuguese). 27 June 2007. Retrieved 30 January 2018.

External linksEdit