Vítor Baptista

Vítor Manuel Ferreira Baptista (18 October 1948 – 1 January 1999) was a Portuguese footballer. Mainly a second striker, he could also operate as an attacking midfielder.

Vítor Baptista
Vítor Baptista (1972).jpg
Baptista in 1972
Personal information
Full name Vítor Manuel Ferreira Baptista
Date of birth (1948-10-18)18 October 1948
Place of birth Setúbal, Portugal
Date of death 1 January 1999(1999-01-01) (aged 50)
Place of death Setúbal, Portugal
Height 1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)
Position(s) Striker / Midfielder
Youth career
1962–1967 Vitória Setúbal
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1967–1971 Vitória Setúbal 76 (33)
1971–1978 Benfica 111 (50)
1978–1979 Vitória Setúbal 18 (7)
1979–1980 Boavista 15 (7)
1980 San Jose Earthquakes 1 (0)
1980–1981 Amora 4 (0)
1981–1982 Montijo (player-coach) 2 (0)
1982–1983 União Tomar
1983–1984 Monte Caparica
1984–1986 Estrelas Faralhão
Total 227 (97)
National team
1971–1976 Portugal 11 (2)
*Club domestic league appearances and goals

During a 15-year professional career, which was marred by several problems of indiscipline,[1] he played mostly for Vitória de Setúbal (two spells) and Benfica, gaining international recognition with the latter, for which he amassed official totals of 150 games and 62 goals (128 matches and 52 goals for Setúbal).

Club careerEdit

After working in his teens as an electrician, Baptista started playing organized football at the age of 13 in his hometown of Setúbal, with local Vitória FC. Four years later he received his first callup to the Portuguese national junior team, managed by José Maria Pedroto, and scored a combined 33 Primeira Liga goals in his last two seasons with the club, included a career-best 22 in only 26 games in the 1970–71 campaign, with the Sadinos eventually finishing in fourth position and subsequently qualifying to the UEFA Cup;[2] he also led the team to two consecutive domestic cup finals, winning the tournament in 1967.

In the summer of 1971, Baptista signed for S.L. Benfica for a national record 3.000.000 escudos, in a deal which also included three players including veteran José Torres.[3] He made his official debut on 26 September, and netted in a 3–0 away win against former team Vitória, going on to be part of the squad that won 54 league matches out of 60 over the course of two seasons to win back-to-back national championships, with the player contributing with 17 goals in only 31 appearances;[4][5] his teammates during that timeframe included Humberto Coelho, Eusébio, Rui Jordão, Nené and António Simões.

After helping Benfica win a further three leagues, amidst several bouts of erratic and unprofessional behaviour, Batista demanded a pay rise and a new Porsche in 1978, with the club's board of directors only accepting the latter. He then returned to Vitória de Setúbal, earning a monthly wage of only 100.000 escudos, six times less what he asked of his previous team.[6] He also played one season with Boavista FC (his 13th consecutive in the top division) before moving to the United States with the San Jose Earthquakes – upon invitation of former Benfica teammate Simões, who had previously played there – and notably partnering George Best at the California club.

Batista returned home after a couple of weeks, in spite of being handed a US$2.5 million contract and a Corvette.[7] He retired from football in 1986 at nearly 38, after several seasons in amateur football, his last stop being Estrelas do Faralhão Futebol Clube; his Portuguese top division totals consisted of 224 games and 97 goals.[8]

International careerEdit

During five years, Baptista earned 11 caps for Portugal. His debut came on 17 February 1971 in a 0–3 loss against Belgium in Brussels for the UEFA Euro 1972 qualifiers.

Also during that competition, Baptista scored his only two goals for the national team, in a 5–0 home win over Denmark in Porto. After insulting manager Juca – he clashed with several coaches during his career – and some teammates minutes into a training to which he arrived late in 1976, he was expelled and never represented the country again.[7]

Vítor Baptista: International goals
No. Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition[9]
1 12 May 1971 Estádio das Antas, Porto, Portugal   Denmark 3–0 5–0 Euro 1972 qualifying
2 12 May 1971 Estádio das Antas, Porto, Portugal   Denmark 4–0 5–0 Euro 1972 qualifying

The "earring incident"Edit

During a Lisbon Derby against Sporting CP, Baptista lost his left earring minutes after scoring. He started looking for the missing object after realizing it was missing, in a scene that lasted almost five minutes; he refused to celebrate the final win, claiming he had "lost money" that day – the players each received 8,000 escudos for the two points, the piece was valued at 10,000.[10] He subsequently added the moniker O Rapaz do Brinco (The Earring Boy) to the already existing O Maior (The Greatest), Gargantas (Loudmouth), O Rapaz dos Pés de Ouro (The Boy with the Golden Feet) and Meu Deus (My God).[11]


Baptista struggled heavily with alcoholism and drug abuse still as an active player. In his last seasons, spent in the regional leagues, he resorted to stealing to support his habit, dying on New Year's Day 1999 at the age of 50.[11]


Vitória de Setúbal



  1. ^ "Vítor Baptista. Não foi o maior mas podia muito bem ter sido" [Vítor Baptista. Not the greatest but he could have been]. i (in Portuguese). 19 July 2010. Retrieved 25 July 2011.
  2. ^ Época 1970/71: Primeira Divisão (1970/71 season: First Division); Arquivos da Bola, 9 May 2007 (in Portuguese)
  3. ^ "Trutas nas redes do Benfica: Vitor Baptista" [Benfica lands Vitor Baptista]. Diário de Lisboa (in Portuguese) (17444): 17. 16 July 1971. Retrieved 27 April 2017.
  4. ^ Época 1971/72: Primeira Divisão (1971/72 season: First Division); Arquivos da Bola, 4 May 2007 (in Portuguese)
  5. ^ Época 1972/73: Primeira Divisão (1972/73 season: First Division); Arquivos da Bola, 27 April 2007 (in Portuguese)
  6. ^ "Vítor Baptista" [Vítor Baptista]. Diário de Lisboa (in Portuguese) (19626): 16. 8 April 1978. Retrieved 7 April 2017.
  7. ^ a b Candeias, Pedro; Beleza, Joana (13 June 2016). "Maior do que a morte" [Bigger than death]. Expresso (in Portuguese). Retrieved 22 June 2018.
  8. ^ Malheiro, João (July 2006). Memorial Benfica 100 Glórias [Benfica Memorial, 100 glories] (in Portuguese) (Third ed.). QuidNovi. pp. 146–147. ISBN 978-972-8998-26-4.
  9. ^ "Vítor Baptista". European Football. Retrieved 15 June 2015.
  10. ^ Pereira, Luís Miguel (November 2009). Bíblia do Benfica [Benfica Bible] (in Portuguese) (7th ed.). Portugal: Prime Books. p. 205. ISBN 978-989-655-005-9.
  11. ^ a b Vitor Baptista; Arquivos do Vitória, 30 July 2009 (in Portuguese)
  12. ^ "Especial 'Tetra'" ['Tetra' special edition]. Mística (in Portuguese). No. 33. Portugal: Impresa Publishing. April–June 2017. p. 86. ISSN 3846-0823.

External linksEdit