Diogo Dalot during the launch of the 2019/20 United home kit.

My Home Country: What Portugal means to Dalot

The Manchester United squad comprises 13 different nationalities, but how much do you know about the places our overseas stars come from?

Diogo Dalot is the latest Red we spoke to for our 'My Home Country' series as the youngster explains why he's proud to be Portuguese and what it was like growing up in his homeland, as well as advising fans where the best places are to visit and describing local delicacies...

What's the best thing about Portugal?
“Food, I would say! The food is unbelievable. I could say a lot of things but I would say food.”

What types of food are you thinking of?
“We have some quite typical foods in Portugal. Some specific ones that involve cod fish. It’s unbelievable – you should try it.”

Man United defender Diogo Dalot during a recent interview with MUTV.
We sat down with Diogo, who expressed his passion for his native Portugal.

What would you cook for someone to introduce them to Portuguese cuisine?
“It depends what you like the most, I don’t know. We can pretty much do everything, when you have meat for example. I would say the names but you don’t know the meaning.”

Tell us the names – we want to learn…
“The names, so… when you have fish, we call it bacalhau, you should try it. We can do some good things with bacalhau – we can do like a mix with bacalhau and potatoes which is quite nice.”

What are you most proud of about being Portuguese?
“I would say some people don’t really know Portugal, they just think Portugal is like a small province of Spain and it’s just near Spain. We are small but we have some good things to show to the world and we have some very good history. I advise everyone to know the history of Portugal because it’s very nice and I would say we are small but we can conquer a lot of things.”

What was it like for you growing up in Portugal?
“It was everything. I think when you’re a Portuguese kid and you go to another country at 19 or 20 years old, I think you just need to stick with everything that you’ve learned about the culture and the Portuguese people. For me, I think I have some pretty good Portuguese things and, like I said, it’s an experience to come here and have all the cultures of the people and the mindset and then just learn and have that mix of cultures and be the best that I can be.”

How has being Portuguese shaped you as a person?
“When you have a job to do, the Portuguese people find different ways to go. For example, if you only see a way to go to get your goal, the Portuguese people can find some other ways to get the same goal. It doesn’t mean it’s good or bad but you always find a solution and, for me, it’s the mindset of the Portuguese people and it’s good.”

Where are the must-visit places in Portugal?
“I think when you think about Portugal, some English people like to go to the south, the Algarve, because of the weather and the sun. I advise to go there because it has nice beaches to go in the summer but, during the year, I also think we have some beautiful places to go. The north of Portugal is beautiful – Porto, Braga, Guimarães are all places to go and visit. It’s a must and, of course, the islands because some people forget that we have these little islands that belong to Portugal and they will love them because it’s a paradise.”

A general view of the city centre of Porto, northern Portugal.
The city centre of Porto - one of the places in northern Portugal which Dalot recommends to visit.

Where did you go on holiday when you were younger?
“When I was a kid, I loved to go to the south because you spend most of the time in the north and you want to go to other spots around other places. But, of course, when you’re Portuguese and you know the country very well, you want to go outside of Portugal to Spain, Italy and around Europe because you're pretty much every day in your country and you just want to look and search for other countries. But we have a lot of people who go to the south during the summer because, like I said, it has nice weather, the beaches are good and it has nice sun. Although the water is a little bit cold because it’s the Atlantic Ocean, so it’s a little bit cold but you stay in there for five minutes and you get used to it.”

It can’t be as cold as our water…
“No, no, for sure!”

Who is Portugal’s greatest footballer or athlete?
“I would say it’s one man. For me, Cristiano Ronaldo is the best sportsman and the best footballer in the country. We had some very good players – Eusebio, Luis Figo – that made history but I think, for the most time and with the most quality, Cristiano is the best.”

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