For a former Porto player and lifelong Liverpool supporter, ex-A-League midfielder Cameron Watson has a foot in both camps ahead of their UEFA Champions League second-leg tie in Portugal.
Watson signed with Porto in 2005.
As a rising star in Australia’s development system, he’d already caught the eye of Werder Bremen as a 14-year-old.
But after just a few days at Porto’s training base, the Portuguese powerhouse saw enough and inked a deal with the 17-year-old Aussie to their reserve and U19 sides.
A year earlier, Porto had won the UEFA Champions League and had a brand new stadium built for EURO 2004.
For Watson, he’d hit the big time.
Could he crack the star-studded first team?
The first step was to impress their youth and reserve side coaches.
“My first day at the club was a Friday the day before a game, and everyone was kinda staring and wondering who this guy is and where is he from?” the 31-year-old former Adelaide United and Newcastle Jets midfielder told FTBL.
“Once they were told I was from Australia you could see the looks on their faces.
“They probably wondered why I was over there and why I'd come so far. And could I even play?
“Luckily it was a lighter session before game day and it went well for me. And I’m thinking, ‘this isn’t that hard!’
“That was a bad thing because after the weekend game on Monday training was 100mp/h.
“Maybe I touched the ball four or five times in total! And I thought, ‘Oh shit, here we go’,” he recalled, laughing.
With the help of another Aussie, who’d later sign for Melbourne Victory, he began to find his feet.
“Diogo Ferreira was at Porto in a younger youth side.
“Having another Aussie there really helped me, we hung out a lot. And he could speak fluent Portuguese."
A few days later an intra-club game at Porto’s training base gave Watson his chance to step up and show why he was invited.
The game was a dream, with Watson bossing the midfield and showing an impressive technique against some of the best Portuguese talent.
Watson stole the show and Porto immediately knew they had to sign the Aussie unknown.