The Alves Brothers: this title would perfectly fit a cinematographic work! Coming from a family with a solid football tradition, with three generations of players, Bruno, Geraldo, and Júlio Alves have participated, combined, in more than a thousand matches throughout their careers. Curiously, each has represented at least one of the three biggest Portuguese clubs: FC Porto, SL Benfica, and Sporting CP. Their initial steps, the point when they realized they could turn professional, and some peculiar incidents were shared in an informal chat moderated by Nuno Milheiro.
Their process of becoming footballers was entirely natural, however, speeded up by financial issues.
“There was a lot of football DNA inside of us already, but it was a question of need too. We started to dedicate ourselves more to being professional and having a contract that could support our family. When our father [Washington Alves] left football, we had some difficulties surviving”, Bruno assumed.
There is only a one-year difference between Bruno and Geraldo. In similar periods of their formative process, they promptly understood they could perform at a professional level. “Varzim was interested in signing a professional contract with me, but we could not reach an agreement. I thought about stopping playing, but our father did not let me. Nowadays, parents would say «you have to continue school and football will be secondary». At that time, our father was decisive and said «no, you will try playing football, at least for three or four years, and then you will see», told Geraldo. “Today is different, but at that time, it was difficult to make a professional contract with 17 or 18 years old. You needed to go through a lot to play for a team and sign a professional contract. When I signed my first contract, I felt that I would achieve what we – me and my family, all together – have always dreamed about. It was important to give back what I have received from my father, and there was no better way to do it: taking care of people that took care of us before”, Bruno added.
The younger brother, Júlio, has not accused the pressure of converting himself into a center-back and acted as a defensive midfielder. “I just played as a midfielder because when I was 10, a coach decided to put me in midfield, and I liked to play there. I never played as a center-back during my formation process, but I have always seen my brothers playing in central defense positions and liked to get more information about it”.
Many prophesied a rosy future for Júlio that has not been accomplished. In the summer of 2011, the central midfielder was transferred from Rio Ave to Atlético Madrid and, after some fruitless adventures at Besiktas, Sporting CP B, and CD Cerveira, he decided to hang up his boots in the 2019-20 season.
“I was too young. Maybe I was not prepared for the transfer. The world of professional football is so hard! I lost my motivation and did not achieve the maximum of my potential”, he confessed.
The competitive mentality and aggressiveness were non-negotiable attributes Bruno and Geraldo have inherited from their father. This common approach was put into practice even when they faced each other inside the pitch and led them to success. “We defended our colors, but we were never rivals. Football is not a war. My brother and I have boundaries that should never be broken”, Bruno concluded.
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