A day free of training but the soccer education continues!
The 7th day of the tour is a day of rest from the training grounds for the boys but packed with sights to see and information to gather.
The day began at 8:15am with breakfast in the lobby and the bus departing at 9:15am to visit Belem. Belem is a nice town close by Lisbon with many historic monuments and plenty of small shops and restaurants. Pasteis de Belem was the pastry shop to go to in Belem. Pasteis are a famous Portuguese dessert and know for being crated at this specific shop and in Belem. They were extremely tasty and the wait was well worth it!
Belem had some nice things to offer as far as picture taking and buildings to see but the final 45 minutes of the tour was spent playing pickup in the park. The game was 6 on 5 with one goal being a tree and the other a piece of wood on the ground. It was fun to play with the boys and watch their excitement playing.
After pickup lunch was in Belem followed by some more pickup and juggling competitions before heading out to the national training center for the Portugal National teams. This training facility isn’t opening until October for outsider visits but Benfica really push for us to get in to see it and it was an experience the boys won’t forget. Sitting in chairs of where Cristiano Ronaldo sits. Being in the locker room, the weight room, The hydrothermal training spa, The medical area, the cafeteria, media center and out next to the 3 full size fields was incredible. They welcomed us in and wanted our experience to be as good as possible. We got to see everything that is at the players and coaches accessibility while preparing for their upcoming friendly or qualifier. We even left with a picture of the entire European champions team with all of the players signature on it along with a European booklet outlining their memorable run to the finals and winning their first ever major tournament trophy. We left the facility feeling fortunate to have experienced a new project that was built in the timespan of 1 year and 6 months. Quite the impressive job that was done and will be utilized to its maximum for the best of the best that get selected to be a part of the national team.
Returning to the hotel early was a good plan as some of the boys needed some rest before dinner and final meeting before their 2nd game. The game is tomorrow against Port De Mos and the boys are looking forward to winning the scone game of the week and leaving Portugal on a high games wise but understanding they must improve technically if they’d like to be considers a baller around the world.
The days are winding down but they seem to be getting better and better. Today was a special day for any soccer fan to witness the professionalism and pride that Portugal have for their soccer.