Portugal is now one step away from qualifying for the Qatar World Cup after defeating Turkey 3-1 last night. If they win against North Macedonia next week, they will book their tickets to Qatar. One player stepped up yesterday when the team needed the most. He was Otavio, a Brazil-born Porto midfielder. He scored a goal and assisted one to make things east for Portugal in the do or die match.
Otavio represented his birth nation Brazil at the Under-20 level but, in March 2021, took up Portuguese citizenship in order to switch his international allegiance. His first cap came in September of the same year, and he marked it with a goal in a 3-1 friendly defeat of Qatar. Otavio was selected to the Brazil under-20 side by Alexandre Gallo.
Otavio became a Portuguese citizen in March 2021. On 26 August of that year, he was called up to the Portuguese national team by Fernando Santos for 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers against the Republic of Ireland and Azerbaijan and a friendly with Qatar. He made his debut against the latter, scoring in the 3–1 win at the Nagyerdei Stadion in Debrecen, Hungary.
While he has chosen to represent Portugal at the international level, Otavio is, in fact, Brazilian by birth, hailing from Joao Pessoa in the nation’s north-eastern region. The 27-year-old got his start in the game under ex-World Cup-winning Selecao captain Dunga at Internacional and lifted two Gaucho state championships before moving to Porto in 2014.
He has proved to be a solid performer for the Portuguese giants, with whom he has won two league titles and played over 200 appearances in all competitions.
On 1 September 2014, even though it was initially thought the transfer had cost 5 million euros, Otavio joined FC Porto as a free agent after Internacional ceded his federative rights and signed a five-year contract with a 50 million euros buyout clause. He was initially assigned to the reserve team, which competed in the Segunda Liga.
On the last day of the 2015 January transfer window, Otavio, Ivo Rodrigues and Leocísio Sami were loaned to Vitoria S.C. in the Primeira Liga. He made his debut in the competition on 8 February by playing 30 minutes in a 0–1 home loss against C.F. Os Belenenses and scored his first goal in the last matchday of the campaign to help the visitors beat Academica de Coimbra 4–2.
The deal was extended for the entire 2015–16, and his performances while on loan earned him a contract extension with Porto subsequently. He made his competitive debut for the latter on 12 August 2016, starting in the 3–1 away defeat of Rio Ave F.C.
Otavio won the Portuguese League at the end of his second season, contributing two goals from 15 appearances. He was sidelined for several weeks during the tournament due to injury problems.
During the 2019–20 campaign, Otavio featured in 48 games and scored two goals, helping the team conquer the double. As a result, he was included in the league’s Best XI.