Lisbon Players Feared For Their Lives During Mob Attack
“They thought it was the end of it for them,” Jaime Marta Soares, president of Sporting’s general assembly, told Portuguese media outlet Expresso. “It was inhumane.” No one was killed, but one player’s agent told Bleacher Report that his client was left “OK physically” but “psychologically destroyed.”
It was Tuesday, just before 6pm when a number of Lisbon fans forced their way into the club’s training ground. Reports claim that there were around 50 masked intruders which interrupted training at Alcochete.
It was more than an interruption, as the unwelcome visitors also took it upon themselves to assault members of the team. It begs the question, what drove fans to violence against their own team?
“Let’s go inside,” was heard outside the grounds just before the attack. The security guards were unable to stop the mob from launching a brutal attack on Lisbon’s players and coaching staff. Alarms blared throughout the training centre as they were beaten with belts, fists, and sticks.
“Vamos-vos matar [sic]! Voces estao fodidos!” the assailants screamed, according to a Public Prosecution Service document based on the players’ testimonials, revealed by Portuguese magazine Sabado. Or, “We’re going to kill you! You are f–ked!”
Lisbon’s Bas Dost posted an image of his injuries on Twitter showing the severity of the attack. The Dutch forward suffered injuries on his head and his legs.
It was a horrible act, and moreover, it was unprovoked, or so it seemed.
De Carvalho is suspected to be behind the attack
Since the attack, some details have come to light instigating that De Carvalho himself organised the attack. While De Carvalho has denied such claims, O Publico has reported that the Sporting coach Jorge Jesus has evidence to support the claim. The reality that De Carvalho was 30 minutes late to practice heavily aids such claims.
De Carvalho’s statement after the attack did nothing to calm the fervour. “It was annoying”, he said – “but tomorrow is a new day, and we have to realize that crime is part of everyday life and has to be punished in the right place.”
De Carvalho has been called the ‘Donald Trump of Portuguese football. He has earned himself many enemies over the years because of his ‘North Korean’ regime approach.
“He created an atmosphere of distrust inside and outside of his own club. He defends the idea that the president should also be a fan and that somehow, there’s a concordance to the violence used within it,” Eurosport analyst Luis Cristovao said.
During the press conference on Thursday. De Carvalho announced that he will not be resigning following the attack. So far, 23 people have been arrested and charged with terrorism, among other crimes.
“Unfortunately, I think this is one of the saddest moments of our history,” Sporting fan Goncalo Ferreira told B/R.
“Sportingly, this season has been below our expectations—despite still having the chance of winning a trophy [on Sunday]—and is ending in the worst possible way with this tragedy,” Ferreira said. “After everything that happened, the board, led by Bruno de Carvalho, has to seriously rethink their position inside the club since their prestige with the members is diminishing.”
The Lisbon team’s players have responded to the support received from fans on Twitter using the hashtag; #AoVossoLado or #ByYourSide on Twitter. The players issued a statement saying they “are not in a physical or psychological condition to resume normal training immediately” – but they have confirmed they will honour their status as professionals.
We hope the players can find some closure soon. As for the club and De Carvalho, this is just the beginning.