Fans

“I Live Benfica”

Lifelong Benfica fan and restaurateur Barbas has been serving up seafood to the club’s stars for decades – when not travelling across Europe to watch them play. Here the 74-year-old talks Eusébio, fish stew and arguably Portugal’s most famous beard

Interview Carlos Machado | Photography Henrique Casinhas

I come from a small village and we used to listen to Benfica on the radio through the voice of the iconic commentator Artur Agostinho. Back then there were no TVs. I came to Lisbon aged 12 and the first thing I wanted to do was see Benfica play at the Estádio da Luz. I have been a Benfiquista ever since. I live Benfica. I remember the two European Cup wins in 1961 and 1962. After that, it was like an addiction. When Benfica play in Europe I’m there. I’ve made so many trips, but perhaps the most memorable ones were to the former USSR. It was so different. More recently, Astana in Kazakhstan was great – it was so beautiful.

I’ve had my beard for almost 50 years. Longhair and beards weren’t allowed in our country when I was growing up. After leaving the army I worked in a bank and let my moustache, beard and hair grow. My boss moaned about it so I left the bank. I told him he was more demanding than the army and the old regime. I haven’t cut my beard since. My two sons, who are over 40, and my wife have never seen me without it.

My restaurant was like a home for Eusébio. Sometimes he would arrive around noon and not leave before night. He was relaxed here, with friends
By

It was wonderful watching matches at the old Stadium of Light. There used to be so many kids around the stadium and over time I got to know the doormen. I spoke with them and they allowed the kids to go in for free as they didn’t have any money. We had picnics – gatherings – with food and drinks, saving places in the stand for our friends. There was a good spirit there and, of course, some great wins.

The ‘O Barbas’ signature dish is the Caldeirada de Peixe – a fish stew. Everything we serve is seafood, but the Caldeirada is the most famous. I don’t think there has been a single Benfica player that hasn’t come here to eat. Yesterday, one of our former players, João Cancelo, was here having lunch with his family. My restaurant was like a home for Eusébio. Sometimes he would arrive around noon and not leave before night. He was relaxed here, with friends, coming and going and chatting with them. Our former captain Mário Coluna came to Barbas straight from the airport when he arrived from Mozambique. They were great. All great. There’s a reason the players come here: they feel good here. They start coming when they’re playing for the youth teams in Seixal, Benfica’s nearby academy, and they all treat me well.

Fans

“I Live Benfica”

Lifelong Benfica fan and restaurateur Barbas has been serving up seafood to the club’s stars for decades – when not travelling across Europe to watch them play. Here the 74-year-old talks Eusébio, fish stew and arguably Portugal’s most famous beard

Interview Carlos Machado | Photography Henrique Casinhas

I come from a small village and we used to listen to Benfica on the radio through the voice of the iconic commentator Artur Agostinho. Back then there were no TVs. I came to Lisbon aged 12 and the first thing I wanted to do was see Benfica play at the Estádio da Luz. I have been a Benfiquista ever since. I live Benfica. I remember the two European Cup wins in 1961 and 1962. After that, it was like an addiction. When Benfica play in Europe I’m there. I’ve made so many trips, but perhaps the most memorable ones were to the former USSR. It was so different. More recently, Astana in Kazakhstan was great – it was so beautiful.

I’ve had my beard for almost 50 years. Longhair and beards weren’t allowed in our country when I was growing up. After leaving the army I worked in a bank and let my moustache, beard and hair grow. My boss moaned about it so I left the bank. I told him he was more demanding than the army and the old regime. I haven’t cut my beard since. My two sons, who are over 40, and my wife have never seen me without it.

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My restaurant was like a home for Eusébio. Sometimes he would arrive around noon and not leave before night. He was relaxed here, with friends
By

It was wonderful watching matches at the old Stadium of Light. There used to be so many kids around the stadium and over time I got to know the doormen. I spoke with them and they allowed the kids to go in for free as they didn’t have any money. We had picnics – gatherings – with food and drinks, saving places in the stand for our friends. There was a good spirit there and, of course, some great wins.

The ‘O Barbas’ signature dish is the Caldeirada de Peixe – a fish stew. Everything we serve is seafood, but the Caldeirada is the most famous. I don’t think there has been a single Benfica player that hasn’t come here to eat. Yesterday, one of our former players, João Cancelo, was here having lunch with his family. My restaurant was like a home for Eusébio. Sometimes he would arrive around noon and not leave before night. He was relaxed here, with friends, coming and going and chatting with them. Our former captain Mário Coluna came to Barbas straight from the airport when he arrived from Mozambique. They were great. All great. There’s a reason the players come here: they feel good here. They start coming when they’re playing for the youth teams in Seixal, Benfica’s nearby academy, and they all treat me well.

Fans

“I Live Benfica”

Lifelong Benfica fan and restaurateur Barbas has been serving up seafood to the club’s stars for decades – when not travelling across Europe to watch them play. Here the 74-year-old talks Eusébio, fish stew and arguably Portugal’s most famous beard

Interview Carlos Machado | Photography Henrique Casinhas

I come from a small village and we used to listen to Benfica on the radio through the voice of the iconic commentator Artur Agostinho. Back then there were no TVs. I came to Lisbon aged 12 and the first thing I wanted to do was see Benfica play at the Estádio da Luz. I have been a Benfiquista ever since. I live Benfica. I remember the two European Cup wins in 1961 and 1962. After that, it was like an addiction. When Benfica play in Europe I’m there. I’ve made so many trips, but perhaps the most memorable ones were to the former USSR. It was so different. More recently, Astana in Kazakhstan was great – it was so beautiful.

I’ve had my beard for almost 50 years. Longhair and beards weren’t allowed in our country when I was growing up. After leaving the army I worked in a bank and let my moustache, beard and hair grow. My boss moaned about it so I left the bank. I told him he was more demanding than the army and the old regime. I haven’t cut my beard since. My two sons, who are over 40, and my wife have never seen me without it.

My restaurant was like a home for Eusébio. Sometimes he would arrive around noon and not leave before night. He was relaxed here, with friends
By

It was wonderful watching matches at the old Stadium of Light. There used to be so many kids around the stadium and over time I got to know the doormen. I spoke with them and they allowed the kids to go in for free as they didn’t have any money. We had picnics – gatherings – with food and drinks, saving places in the stand for our friends. There was a good spirit there and, of course, some great wins.

The ‘O Barbas’ signature dish is the Caldeirada de Peixe – a fish stew. Everything we serve is seafood, but the Caldeirada is the most famous. I don’t think there has been a single Benfica player that hasn’t come here to eat. Yesterday, one of our former players, João Cancelo, was here having lunch with his family. My restaurant was like a home for Eusébio. Sometimes he would arrive around noon and not leave before night. He was relaxed here, with friends, coming and going and chatting with them. Our former captain Mário Coluna came to Barbas straight from the airport when he arrived from Mozambique. They were great. All great. There’s a reason the players come here: they feel good here. They start coming when they’re playing for the youth teams in Seixal, Benfica’s nearby academy, and they all treat me well.

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