Nuno Miguel Soares Pereira Ribeiro, known as Nuno Gomes, is a former Portuguese professional footballer who played as a striker. He was given the nickname Gomes during childhood after Fernando Gomes, and was one of the country’s most recognizable offensive players in the 1990s and 2000s; he consistently scored for both club and country, and was also capable of being a good link-up player, accumulating a number of assists throughout his career, which was spent mainly with Benfica, for which he netted 166 goals in 398 games over the course of 12 seasons. Gomes represented Portugal in two World Cups and three European Championships. He helped the national team finish second at Euro 2004 and third at Euro 2000, and won more than 100 caps all categories comprised (nearly 80 for the senior side alone).
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Nuno Gomes represented Portugal at every level, earning 143 caps all categories comprised and scoring at an excellent rate overall. He helped the under-20s finish third in the 1995 FIFA World Youth Championship by netting four goals in as many games, including two in the third-place game against Spain; the following year he appeared at the 1996 Summer Olympics, helping to an eventual fourth place. Gomes made his senior international debut at 19, in a 1996 friendly against France. He scored his first senior international goal in Portugal’s opening match at the UEFA Euro 2000, marking his fourth start with the winner as the side came from two goals down to beat England 3–2. He would finish the competition with four goals as the national team reached the last four, but earned a seven-month international ban after pushing referee Günter Benkö following the semi-final defeat by France, in which he had netted the opening goal; he was selected to the UEFA team of the tournament. With seven goals in only six matches, Gomes helped Portugal qualify for the 2002 FIFA World Cup – this included a four-goal performance in a 7–1 away win against Andorra. He would struggle to hold a starting place in the finals in South Korea and Japan, only appearing twice as a substitute; on 19 November 2003 he scored his second hat-trick, in only 21 minutes of play against Kuwait. Things went better for Gomes at Euro 2004, where he played each game and, after coming on as a half-time substitute, scored the winning goal against Spain to send the hosts through to the quarter-finals. He was often injured during the nation’s 2006 World Cup qualifying campaign, only managing to play four games, with one goal; he found limited time at the final stages and only made two appearances, but managed to find the back of the net with a header against hosts Germany in the third-place game, a 1–3 defeat. After the retirement of Pauleta, Gomes was expected to become his successor in the striker role. He played ten matches and scored three times in Euro 2008’s qualifying campaign, captained Portugal at the finals and scored against Germany in the quarter-finals, thus becoming the fourth player to score at three straight European Championships. After the appointment of Carlos Queiroz as coach, Gomes was constantly left out of the squad due to his lack of minutes at his club. During the 2010 World Cup qualification, he only took part in four out of twelve matches, all as a substitute, with Liédson and Hugo Almeida being preferred; he was later on left out of the 23-men squad for the final stages in South Africa, this being the first time the player was left out of a major tournament.On 7 October 2011, after more than two years out of international play, 35-year-old Gomes replaced Hélder Postiga in the last minute of a 5–3 home win against Iceland for the Euro 2012 qualifiers. Four days later, he played against Denmark in what was his 79th and last full international appearance; due to little playing time for his club in 2011–12, he was left out of Paulo Bento’s squad for the finals in Poland and Ukraine.
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After three seasons at Benfica, in which he scored over 60 goals in over 100 appearances, his Euro 2000 exploits earned Gomes a €17 million move to ACF Fiorentina in the season 2000-2001. He won the Coppa Italia over Parma F. C. in his first year, scoring in a 1–1 draw in the second leg of the final at home, which allowed his team to clinch the title 2–1 on aggregate; however, his second season was less successful, as financial collapse by the Viola and their subsequent relegation precipitated a 2002 return to his previous club.