A Football Dream Cut Short: My Portugal Debut With Ronaldo And Retirement at 25
Costinha and Cristiano Ronaldo: Two Portuguese Footballers on Different Paths
On February 24, 2001, two young footballers representing Portugal’s Under-15 team stopped at the same station. Costinha, a midfielder from Vitoria, was playing for his country for the first time. So was Madeira native Cristiano Ronaldo, who would go on to become Portugal’s greatest-ever player and one of the best in the history of football. Costinha, on the other hand, would go on to pursue a dream career in aviation after quitting football at the age of 25.
Costinha’s Football Career
Costinha failed to break into Vitoria’s first team, making only two senior appearances, although he was part of the squad that won the Portuguese Cup in 2005. He made 13 international appearances for Portugal’s various youth teams, working his way up to the Under-20s, but quickly fell into the country’s lower leagues at the club level. After stints at Rio Maior, Uniao Montemor, Juventude Evora, Operario Lagoa, and a season in the fourth division of Spain, Costinha retired from football in 2011.
Costinha‘s Aviation Career
After leaving football, Costinha began working for another insurance company, MAPFRE, in the field of travel assistance. Marco Lanca, a former player, then challenged him to pursue a career in aviation, which had always piqued Costinha’s interest. He loves to travel and discover contrasting realities, such as Sao Tome and Principe or New York, which he recently visited. Although he left the company for two years, Costinha returned permanently, as aviation remains a career that excites him.
Costinha’s Real Estate Career
Costinha is also a real estate enthusiast who briefly switched paths during the pandemic. He had occasional contracts that usually became permanent, but for the first time, at the height of COVID-19, that did not happen. His contract ended, and he left the company. Costinha discovered real estate, which was a breath of fresh air. He always enjoyed dealing with people and did it for two years, and he will continue to do it from time to time. However, he never stopped missing aviation, and when he was invited back to join the ranks, he immediately said yes.
Costinha’s Life as a Flight Attendant
Costinha is now a passionate flight attendant who brings a wealth of experience to his job. He loves travelling and discovering new things, which makes him perfect for his chosen profession. Costinha says he never tells passengers that he was a football player, and he’s okay with not being recognised as he was in the early years. However, he recently brought Mario Rui from Italy to Portugal when he was called up to the national team. He also brought Jose Mourinho before COVID, who is from the same area as Costinha.
Costinha’s Reflections on his Football Career
Despite not reaching the same heights as Cristiano Ronaldo, Costinha remains proud of his football career. He considers himself lucky to have had the opportunity to play football, as it’s not easy to make a career out of the sport. Costinha prefers to see the glass as half full, and he considers himself privileged to have another dream profession. He still remembers the fateful day he shared with Ronaldo in the Portugal Under-15 team, and he remains filled with pride over that moment. Even today, he gets goosebumps when he hears the anthem. Ronaldo was already on a much higher level than the others, and Costinha considers it an honour to have played alongside him.
Costinha and Cristiano Ronaldo took different paths after their encounter in 2001.