Recently, rumors have surfaced linking Braga’s Pedro Tiba to a transfer to French side Marsielle. For those who have followed the Primeira Liga since last season, this rumor comes as little surprise. Pedro Tiba has been immense since his debut in the league last season, and his move to Braga this summer and subsequent National Team selection highlight how impressive his performances have been. But just two seasons ago, Tiba was playing in the Portuguese Second Division, which is the country’s third division. Now, he’s a starter for a Primeira Liga team and is being linked to the current Ligue 1 leaders. Let’s take a closer look at his meteoric rise.
Most successful Portuguese players come through the youth academies of a Primeira Liga team. Benfica, Sporting, Boavista, and Porto are have long been the most prolific in terms of talent produced and nurtured, but more recently, teams like Varzim, Braga, Vitoria Setubal, and Belenenses have produced some quality players. So for a player to start his career at a lowly, bottom-division team and work his way to the top is something that has become increasingly rare. Of the 24 players Fernando Santos chose yesterday for Portugal’s upcoming matches against Armenia and Argentina, 20 of them were developed by Portuguese teams. And 19 of those 20 were trained by top-division Portuguese side (the one being Luis Neto, who graduated from Varzim’s successful academy). This statistic serves to show complete the trend is nowadays, and how unheard of Pedro Tiba’s career has been.
Pedro Tiba began his career at Portuguese Second Division side Valdevez during the 2007/2008 season. After a brief stint abroad in Greece, Tiba returned to Valdevez, but moved midway through the 2009/2010 season down a division to Valenciano, who competed in the Portuguese third division (the country’s fourth division). From there, he moved to fellow Third Division side Limianos, where he helped the club to a promotion to the Portuguese Second Division for the 2011/2012 season. After one season with Limianos back in the Second Division, Tiba made the switch to yet another Second Division side Tirsense. And that’s where his career took off. In his first and only season at Tirsense, Tiba scored 12 goals from midfield, helping the team to a 6th place finish. His performances were enough for top-division side Vitoria Setubal to take a gamble on him before the 2013/2014 season. Despite being largely an unknown entity going into the season for Vitoria Setubal, Tiba established himself as one of the team’s(and the league’s) top performers. Though he was not as prolific (he scored only one goal, against his future team, Braga, incidentally), Tiba’s dynamism suited Setubal’s style well. Unsurprisingly, there were a number of teams who were following the midfielder by the end of the season. He opted to move to SC Braga, a team known for being forward-thinking and developing talent. Since then, Tiba hasn’t looked back, consistently performing well.
Pedro Tiba’s rise to success has been completely unheard-of. To work your way from the bottom to a top division club is a difficult thing to do. Now at Braga, Tiba’s performances continue to improve. While at Vitoria Setubal, Tiba became one of the club’s most important players. The same has happened at Braga, where he hasn’t missed a league game yet this season. Should Tiba continue to develop as quickly as he has over the past two seasons, a national team spot might not be far off.