Julen Lopetegui thanked for leaving player on the bench at Porto

Portugal footballer Sergio Oliveira reveals being left on the bench by Wolves boss Julen Lopetegui at Porto was ‘the best thing ever’… because it led to him meeting his WIFE – as he jokes: ‘I was close to inviting him to be best man at the wedding!’

  • Sergio Oliveira only made three appearances for Porto under Julen Lopetegui
  • But a chance encounter at their home stadium led to him meeting his wife 
  • Lopetegui’s decisions around substitutions are ‘respected’, says Adama Traore 

Whilst most footballers would be aggrieved to be left on the bench by their manager, Sergio Oliveira looks back at a spell on the sidelines with happiness. 

The Portuguese international went so far as to thank his former manager Julen Lopetegui for keeping him out of the starting XI at Porto, as it led to the midfielder meeting his wife, Christiana Pereira. 

Oliveira revealed the interesting fact during a Q&A on Instagram, joking that he almost went as far as giving the now-Wolves manager a role in his wedding, which took place in June 2019. 

As per Record, Oliveira shared: ‘I met my wife at Estadio do Dragao.

‘Thanks to Lopetegui who always left me on the bench. Best thing ever. 

Sergio Oliveira (pictured in 2021) was grateful to be left on the bench by Julen Lopetegui

Oliveira met his now-wife Christiana Pereira during his time on the sidelines at Porto 

‘I was close to inviting him to be the best man at the wedding.’

Oliveira, 30, who now plays for Turkish Super Lig side Galatasaray, played only three times under the coach when at Porto, having arrived back at his boyhood club in 2015. 

The Spaniard managed the northern Portuguese side for over a year and a half, before being relieved of his duties in January 2016 after the club was knocked out of the Champions League, and faltering whilst on domestic duty. 

He went on to manage exclusively in his home country, starting first with the Spanish national team ahead of spells at Real Madrid and Sevilla, before joining Wolves in his Premier League managerial debut in November 2022. 

Regardless of whether his players use their time on the bench to meet their spouses, Lopetegui has shown he has his team behind him when making decisions around the starting line-up.  

Adama Traore (right) was vocal about how he respected the decision of his manager Lopetegui (left) when it came to making substitutions

Adama Traore, who came on as a substitute to score the only goal in Wolves’ win over Tottenham on Saturday, was adamant that his manager’s call on team selection is always respected. 

Traore said in an interview after the match that ‘if [he] is on the bench nor not, this is the decision of the gaffer’. 

‘What I can control is when I’m on the pitch, make an impact, and try and help the team. That’s what I do,’ Traore added. 

‘I respect the gaffer. He has tried to improve me as a player. Whatever minutes the team needs me to help, I will be there.’ 

Wolves are enjoying an improvement in their form under their new manager, having clambered out of the relegation zone to move up to 13th. 

Lopetegui’s men will travel to St James’s Park on Sunday to face Newcastle.  

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