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‘I managed Chelsea and Tottenham before switching sports and crashing out of Dakar Rally’ | Football | Sport

Andre Villas-Boas led Porto to the Europa League title in 2011 before overseeing Chelsea and Tottenham in the Premier League. But the 46-year-old switched sports when he became a rally driver and went on to crash out of the Dakar Rally in 2018.

Villas-Boas worked as a scout at Chelsea during Jose Mourinho’s first spell as manager. He followed his compatriot to Inter Milan before taking his first managerial job with Portuguese side Coimbra in 2009.

Despite experiencing early success with Porto, where he also won the Primeira Liga and Portuguese Cup, Villas-Boas failed to make his mark in English football after taking over at Stamford Bridge in the summer of 2011 and was sacked by Chelsea just nine months after taking the top job. He was appointed as Tottenham manager in July 2012 but only lasted eight months in that role before being given his marching orders.

Villas-Boas went on to win the Russian title with Zenit Saint Petersburg but had already teased a move into rallying when he told Portuguese newspaper O Jogo: “For me there is a limit and, in the next five to 10 years, I will quit coaching.

“To compete in the Dakar Rally is a lifetime ambition for me and is something I know I have to do. It went from a passion to an obligation, a destination of life, but I can only do it when I leave football. I will do it.”

Villas-Boas did eventually get his wish when he entered the Dakar race. But he was taken to hospital after crashing into a sand dune during the fourth stage in Peru and was forced to pull out as he told fans on Instagram: “Just to tell everyone that both me and [co-driver] Ruben [Faria] are safe and well and back in the bivouac. We jumped off a dune and crashed the car nose first. The Dakar unfortunately is finished for us.”

Villas-Boas is currently out of work following an 18-month spell in charge of Marseille, which came to an end in February 2021. But either side of that role, he raced in the 2018 Baja TT do Pinhal and the 2022 in the WRC Vodafone Rally de Portugal.

And after the race in his homeland, the Portuguese told reporters: “It is one of those things you dream of as a boy. I have been watching rallies since I was a little boy, and Formula One as well. It is very special, it is a great opportunity as we do it for our causes for good. It is very stressful to tell you the truth. I wasn’t aware of how intense it was.”

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