Tiago Mendes

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Tiago Mendes - 01.jpg
Tiago as an Atlético Madrid player in 2013
Personal information
Full name Tiago Cardoso Mendes
Date of birth (1981-05-02) 2 May 1981 (age 38)
Place of birth Viana do Castelo, Portugal
Height 1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)
Playing position Midfielder
Club information
Current team
Atlético Madrid
Number 5
Youth career
1995–1996 Vianense
1997–1998 Âncora Praia
1998–1999 Braga
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1999–2002 Braga 62 (4)
2002–2004 Benfica 75 (19)
2004–2005 Chelsea 34 (4)
2005–2007 Lyon 56 (10)
2007–2011 Juventus 42 (0)
2010–2011 Atlético Madrid (loan) 49 (6)
2011– Atlético Madrid 113 (10)
National team
2000–2002 Portugal U21 21 (3)
2002– Portugal 66 (3)

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 29 November 2015.
† Appearances (goals)

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 8 October 2015

Tiago Cardoso Mendes (born 2 May 1981), known simply as Tiago (Portuguese pronunciation: [tiˈaɣu kɐɾˈdozu ˈmẽdɨʃ]), is a Portuguese professional footballer who plays for Spanish club Atlético Madrid as a midfielder.

He played in four of Europe's major leagues: England, France, Italy and Spain. He notably spent six seasons with Atlético Madrid, winning five major titles including the 2014 national championship and the 2012 Europa League.

A Portuguese international on over 60 occasions, Tiago represented the nation in two World Cups and Euro 2004.

Club career


Born in Viana do Castelo, Tiago first came to prominence at S.C. Braga, being cast into the Minho side's starting XI at the age of just 19, and helping with 27 games as it finished in fourth place in 2001, thus qualifying for the UEFA Cup.

In late December 2001, solid displays earned Tiago – and Braga teammates Armando Sá and Ricardo Rocha – a move to giants S.L. Benfica; in his first full season he scored a career-best 13 goals, helping the Eagles finish second in the Primeira Liga and, the following year, won the Portuguese Cup against FC Porto.


Tiago signed for Chelsea on 20 July 2004 for a €15 million fee,[1] becoming José Mourinho's sixth signing that season (this included three other Portuguese players). Having missed the first game of the campaign he soon became an important member of his new team, scoring on his away debut against Crystal Palace on 24 August;[2] he also scored a long-range goal in a 3–1 win over Manchester United on 10 May 2005, after already having won the Premier League title.[3]

Tiago was a regular for Chelsea, having only missed four games in the league. He ended the season successfully as a firm fixture in the Blues' midfield three, making 51 appearances in all competitions and scoring four goals as the club also added the Football League Cup. However, despite his initial success, the following campaign saw the arrival of Michael Essien from Olympique Lyonnais, which limited his first-team chances; during his time at Stamford Bridge his loss percentage in the league was 2.94%, just once in 34 appearances (a 0–1 loss at Manchester City on 16 October 2004), which was the lowest in history for any player having appeared at least 20 times.[4]


Tiago playing for Lyon in 2007

In late August 2005 Tiago signed for Essien's former club on a four-year contract, for a €10.1 million transfer fee.[5][6] Mourinho later confessed in an interview that letting him go was "a big mistake."[7]

Usually playing in a defensive midfield role alongside Juninho Pernambucano, Mahamadou Diarra and Florent Malouda, Tiago excelled for Lyon, scoring seven goals in 37 appearances. The highlights of his first season in France were a pair of goals against PSV Eindhoven that took Lyon into the quarter-finals in the UEFA Champions League, and the winning goal against Troyes AC on 1 April 2006; the club finished top of Ligue 1, winning a fifth consecutive accolade.

After the departure of Diarra to Real Madrid the following season, Tiago began to play a more significant role in Lyon's midfield with Diarra's replacement, Jérémy Toulalan. He won his second league title and helped Lyon to the domestic league cup final, where it lost to FC Girondins de Bordeaux after a last-minute strike; overall he netted six goals in 40 appearances in his second year.


On 17 June 2007, Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas confirmed that Tiago's departure from Lyon was imminent with both Juventus F.C. and A.C. Milan reportedly after his signature. He officially signed for the former on 21 June 2007, for a €13 million fee.[8] His performance in the 2007–08 season was criticised, however, with Goal.com describing him as the third biggest flop of the season.[9]

The start of 2008–09 season gave Tiago an opportunity to return to the Premier League in the form of year-long loan offer from Everton. Juventus agreed to the deal but Tiago refused their terms, favouring to stay in Italy instead.[10] The negotiations between the player and the club had a violent end when Tiago forcibly locked Juventus president Giovanni Cobolli Gigli inside a toilet stall – the chairman was finally rescued by captain Alessandro Del Piero, more than an hour later;[11] after a difficult first season he eventually established himself in Claudio Ranieri's side but, in November 2008, against Inter Milan, he was stretchered off the pitch with a serious knee injury just several minutes into the match, and was sidelined for almost two months.

Tiago returned to the bench for the January match against S.S. Lazio, but found himself down the pecking order as Cristiano Zanetti, Mohamed Sissoko, and emerging youngster Claudio Marchisio were Ranieri's preferred centre midfield pairing. Following injuries to Sissoko and later Marchisio he was back in the starting XI, but his return was soured by a straight red card in the Derby d'Italia fixture in April (1–1 home draw).

The first half of the 2009–10 season was one to forget for Tiago. With the arrivals of midfielders Diego and Felipe Melo, coupled by his slight dip in form, his appearances were again limited; under Ciro Ferrara he was relegated to the bench once again, only making seven Serie A appearances.

Atlético Madrid

Tiago (right) in action against Real Madrid, in 2013

On 8 January 2010, Tiago joined Atlético Madrid on loan until the end of the season.[12] He scored his first league goal in nearly three years on 21 January, heading home against Celta de Vigo in a 1–1 home draw for the season's Copa del Rey (2–1 aggregate win);[13][14] gradually, he established himself in the starting lineup ahead of longtime incumbent Raúl García, also reuniting with former Benfica teammate Simão Sabrosa.

After helping the Colchoneros to the domestic cup final – he was cup-tied for the Europa League – a new loan deal was arranged with Juventus.[15] Again, he played in significantly more minutes than García as Atlético finally qualified to the Europa League, and added four goals in La Liga, including a brace against Málaga CF in a 3–0 away win, both goals coming from headers.[16]

On 20 July 2011, Tiago penned a two-year permanent contract with Atlético Madrid.[17] He was again an important part of the team that reached the Europa League final, usually playing as a starter under coach Diego Simeone, who replaced Gregorio Manzano midway through the season; he missed the decisive match in Bucharest however, being sent off in the semifinal's second leg against Valencia CF (1–0 away success, 5–2 on aggregate) after slapping Roberto Soldado.[18]

Tiago (bottom row, first left) before a Copa del Rey match

On 21 July 2014, aged 33, Tiago renewed his contract with Atlético for two seasons.[19] On 13 September he put the visiting team ahead at Real Madrid after heading home a corner kick from Koke, in an eventual 2–1 win. In the reverse fixture on 7 February 2015, he opened the scoring in a 4–0 success;[20] 18 days later, he received his marching orders in the 0–1 away loss to Bayer 04 Leverkusen in the first leg of the last-16 of the Champions League.[21]

On 28 November 2015, in the first half of the league fixture against RCD Espanyol, Tiago suffered an undisplaced fracture to his right tibia, going on to be sidelined for several months.[22]

International career

Tiago's performances in Portugal's youth teams eventually earned him his senior debut against Scotland in a November 2002 friendly. He went on to seal a regular berth in the squad and was included in the 23-man list for UEFA Euro 2004, although he did not play in the finals.

Moving to France proved crucial in international selection as Tiago's strong form at Lyon afforded him a place in Portugal's well-established midfield. His contributions aided the national team in its quest for qualification for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, and he appeared in five matches in the tournament held in Germany as Portugal reached the semi-finals, losing to France.

Tiago scored his first goal for the national team in March 2007, in a Man of the match display away to Serbia (1–1). He was, however, overlooked, for Euro 2008's final squad.

Tiago was selected for the squad at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, replacing Deco in the first game, a 0–0 against Côte d'Ivoire. He took the naturalized Brazilian's place for the following contest, against North Korea in Cape Town on 21 June 2010, and netted twice (including a header) in a 7–0 rout.[23]

After the World Cup, Tiago officially quit the national team citing personal reasons, and also to "make room for opportunities for younger players," ending his international career with 58 caps and three goals.[24] On 3 October 2014, however, after an absence of almost four years, he was called up by new manager Fernando Santos for a friendly with France and the Euro 2016 qualifier against Denmark.[25] He was sent off for two bookings on 13 June 2015, in a 3–2 win in Armenia in another qualifying match.[26]

International goals

Scores and results list Portugal's goal tally first[27]

# Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1. 28 March 2007 Red Star Stadium, Belgrade, Serbia  Serbia 1–0 1–1 Euro 2008 qualifying
2. 21 June 2010 Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town, South Africa  North Korea 4–0 7–0 2010 FIFA World Cup
3. 7–0

Style of play

A versatile defensive or central midfielder, with good vision and overall skills, Tiago was known mainly for his work-rate, tenacity and tackling ability, as well as his accurate distribution of the ball after winning back possession. These attributes earned him the nickname "the washing machine" during his time with Lyon.[28][29]

Club statistics

As of 22 March 2015
Club Season League Cup League Cup Continental Other Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Braga 1999–2000[30] Primeira Liga 18 1 1 0 19 1
2000–01[30] Primeira Liga 27 0 1 0 28 0
2001–02[30] Primeira Liga 17 3 3 0 20 3
Total 62 4 5 0 67 4
Benfica 2001–02[30] Primeira Liga 15 1 3 0 18 1
2002–03[30] Primeira Liga 31 13 0 0 31 13
2003–04[30] Primeira Liga 29 5 5 3 9[lower-alpha 1] 3 43 11
Total 75 19 8 3 9 3 92 25
Chelsea 2004–05[31] Premier League 34 4 2 0 4 0 11[lower-alpha 1] 0 51 4
Lyon 2005–06[30][32] Ligue 1 29 5 0 0 0 0 8[lower-alpha 1] 2 37 7
2006–07[30][32] Ligue 1 27 4 0 0 3 0 8[lower-alpha 1] 2 38 6
Total 56 9 0 0 3 0 16 4 75 13
Juventus 2007–08[33] Serie A 20 0 20 0
2008–09[33] Serie A 15 0 0 0 3[lower-alpha 1] 0 18 0
2009–10[33] Serie A 7 0 0 0 3[lower-alpha 1] 0 10 0
Total 42 0 0 0 6 0 48 0
Atlético Madrid (loan) 2009–10[34] La Liga 18 2 5 1 23 3
2010–11[35] La Liga 31 4 2 1 6[lower-alpha 2] 1 39 6
Atlético Madrid 2011–12[36] La Liga 24 0 0 0 8[lower-alpha 2] 0 32 0
2012–13[37] La Liga 22 2 3 0 5[lower-alpha 2] 0 30 2
2013–14[38] La Liga 23 2 3 0 7[lower-alpha 1] 0 0 0 33 2
2014–15[33] La Liga 22 4 1 0 3[lower-alpha 1] 0 1[lower-alpha 3] 0 27 4
Total 140 14 14 2 29 1 1 0 158 17
Career total 410 49 29 5 7 0 71 8 1 0 518 61
  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Appearances in UEFA Champions League
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Appearances in UEFA Europa League
  3. Appearance in Supercopa de España



Atlético Madrid[39]
Tiago (furthest right) on Atlético's victory parade after winning the league in 2014





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External links