FC Porto are one of the traditional big three in Portuguese football, alongside the Lisbon pair of SL Benfica and Sporting Clube de Portugal. As the main team of the northern city of Porto, they have been Portugal's most successful side of the last two decades.
Porto were formed in 1893. Named Futebol Clube do Porto, the new club was "dedicated to the practice of the eccentric English game of football" but it was more than a decade before they entered an official tournament in 1906.
Porto won the inaugural Campeonato de Portugal - the knockout predecessor to the Portuguese championship - and also lifted the first two Campeonato da Primeira Divisão titles in 1938/39 and 1939/40. However, they would not pick up any more silverware until the 1955/56 season under Brazilian coach Dorival Knippel.
Pedroto makes new start
The next two decades provided few thrills, even after Porto moved to the impressive Das Antas stadium. However, the arrival of José Maria Pedroto as coach prompted a change in fortunes. Porto claimed back-to-back titles in 1977/78 and 1978/79 and the team's standing grew.
Pinto da Costa takes helm
Jorge Nuno Pinto da Costa's election to the club presidency in 1982 raised Porto's profile even higher. Two years later, they reached their first European final, losing 2-1 to Juventus FC in the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup final in Basel.
They did not have to wait long for European success, though, as under coach Artur Jorge they lifted the 1987 European Champion Clubs' Cup after beating FC Bayern München 2-1 in Vienna. They lost the league title that season but under Jorge's successor, Tomislav Ivic, subsequent victories followed in the UEFA Super Cup and European/South American Cup.
Five consecutives titles
The 1990s brought further glory as Porto won a record five consecutive Portuguese titles from 1995-99. Bobby Robson led Porto to the first two, António Oliveira claimed numbers three and four, and Fernando Santos oversaw the fifth.
In the late 1990s Porto were among the first Portuguese clubs to become a plc and the new approach initially had a detrimental effect as they went three years without a league title. But gradually, the modernisation yielded its rewards. A new training ground opened in 2002/03 and a new stadium - Estádio do Dragão - was due to be opened in September 2003.
Season to remember
On the field, 2002/03 was a season to remember. José Mourinho inspired the team to a treble of league, cup and UEFA Cup. After securing the league championship, Porto defeated Celtic FC 3-2 in the UEFA Cup final in Seville. Derlei, the two-goal hero that night, then struck the only goal in the Portuguese Cup final against UD Leiria.
Porto are now the second most-titled club in Portugal behind Benfica, having won 18 league titles and 12 domestic cups - not to mention the European Cup and UEFA Cup. The 'Dragons' - the mythical creature appears on the club crest - have seldom been more menacing.
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