Of course, it was Portugal. In a recent interview, when Diogo Jota was asked about his first football memory, one immediately jumped out. It was the 2004 Euro Final, Portugal against Greece, when Portugal was stunned with a 2-1 loss.
“Portugal reached the final and even today I clearly remember me being with my father in the living room, especially the time when we beat England on penalties – we lived those penalties and we celebrated in the end.
“I think that is probably my oldest memory as well and it’s related to football, so that shows how important it always has been in my life.”
After that event was when the 7-year-old Jota became irrevocably in love with football. Seeing the fervor of the Euros up close was a defining moment in his life, and one that has paved the way for what came after.
“I think the good thing about me back then was that I never really thought about ‘making it’, to be honest. I was just enjoying my time, I had a lovely team. It’s not easy to get a proper team like I was lucky enough to get,” he notes.
“I was just enjoying playing football and enjoying being with my friends that are still my friends nowadays. And then when I got transferred, that’s when I realised that I could maybe do something.”
The whole interview on the official site is a journey from that 2004 European Championship that baby Diogo watched with awe to where Jota is today. It’s worth a read through if you’re interested in what shaped the 26-year-old striker to be the player representing his country and pushing his way up the Liverpool pecking order.