Who is Ruben Amorim? The Sporting CP manager rumoured to be frontrunner for Liverpool job

Ruben Amorim has emerged as the leading candidate for a host of Europe’s top clubs this summer – with Liverpool reportedly verbally agreeing a deal in principle for the highly-rated Sporting CP manager.

Amorim, 39, is the frontrunner to succeed Jurgen Klopp at Anfield, with the German stepping down at the end of the season following eight-and-a-half years at the club.

The Portuguese coach, who has managed Sporting Lisbon since 2020, is also on the radar of Bayern Munich, as they look to replace Thomas Tuchel, and Barcelona with club legend Xavi Hernandez also departing at the end of the season.

Amorim’s stock has risen considerably throughout his four-year tenure at Sporting, in which he broke the club’s 19-year title drought with a memorable Primeira Liga triumph in 2021, alongside a League Cup victory.

Yet all his rapid success as a coach follows a successful 14-year career as a player, too, in which he won 14 caps for his native Portugal.

Amorim, who hails from Lisbon, made his senior first-team debut in 2003 for Belenenses in the Portuguese first division before signing for Benfica in the summer of 2008.

It was at the Estadio da Luz where he spent the majority of his playing days, making 154 appearances across six seasons in which he fell in and out of favour with long-term boss Jorge Jesus, playing mainly in central midfield but also utilised at right-back.

One such incident saw Amorim criticise Jesus’ player selections and he refused to train with the substitutes following one match. As a result, he spent 18 months on loan at rivals Braga from January 2012 to the summer of 2013.

Yet he returned to Benfica the following year and enjoyed his most trophy-laden season as a player, winning a domestic treble. However, he soon did his anterior cruciate ligament and though he spent one season on loan at Al-Wakrah in Qatar, he retired at the age of 32 in 2017 having not played in over a year.

Ruben Amorim (right) won 14 caps for his native Portugal (Getty Images)
Ruben Amorim (right) won 14 caps for his native Portugal (Getty Images)

With the national team, Amorim made his debut at the 2010 World Cup and was also used at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Following the end of his playing career, he aimed to complete his coaching qualifications and his first job as a manager was with third division team Casa Pia, though he was given a suspended one-year ban for delivering instructions during the match without the required completion of his coaching badges.

Nevertheless, having been appointed coach of Braga reserves in September 2019, he became head coach of the first-team by December.

Amorim won the Portuguese League Cup in his short two-month tenure at Braga, before Sporting poached the young manager for €10m and gambled on the young managerial protege.

Amorim, 39, is on the cusp of winning a second Portuguese league with Sporting Lisbon this season (Getty Images)
Amorim, 39, is on the cusp of winning a second Portuguese league with Sporting Lisbon this season (Getty Images)

It has proved to be an inspired appointment.

At Sporting, he has won the Portuguese League Cup twice and is on course to win a second title this season. At the time of writing (9 April 2024), Sporting are four points clear of Benfica at the top of the table, following a dramatic injury-time winner against their city rivals.

They did, however, get knocked out of the Europa League at the last-16 stage by Atalanta, who face Liverpool in the quarter-finals.

Amorim, who speaks fluent English having completed some of his UEFA coaching qualifications in Belfast, is known for his powerful personality, tactical knowledge and laid-back demeanour.

He has usually deployed a 3-4-3 high-intensity formation for Sporting and has taken a chance on hidden gems, such as English winger Marcus Edwards and ex-Coventry striker Viktor Gyokeres.

Other players who have played under his successful beat of management include Fulham’s Joao Palhinha, Manchester City’s Matheus Nunes and Tottenham’s Pedro Porro.

With Xabi Alonso out of the running, Amorim is now the hot favourite to take over the reigns at Anfield, with reports coming out of Germany suggesting a three-year deal has been verbally agreed, though Liverpool state nothing has yet been agreed.