AGONA Profile: David Simao, the Portuguese journeyman aiming to settle in Athens
Recently, AEK acquired the services of two Portuguese midfielders, with the first being David Simao from Royal Antwerp. The AGONA Profile analyses his career to date.
Simao, 29, has been around the block a few times. Previously, the midfielder has represented nine clubs, with AEK becoming the 10th. Nevertheless, despite his reputation of a journeyman, he has performed well for plenty of teams and the fact he emerged from the Benfica academy certainly suggests he has competent technical ability. Simao has also played for various youth Portuguese national teams up to U21 level.
PROGRESSION THROUGH BENFICA ACADEMY
Interestingly, Simao was actually born in the French city of Versailles, but he moved to Portugal at a young age and initially joined the GIMD Aboboda youth set-up when eight years of age.
After spending two years with Aboboda, Lisbon giants Benfica came calling, snapping Simao up in 2000. A move which gave Simao the perfect platform on which to develop into an able, strong footballer.
In 2009, nine years after transferring to Benfica and having steadily progressed through the academy, Simao was promoted to the first team. However, before he had a chance to make his debut for the seniors, the midfielder was sent on loan to second division side Fatima.
Simao’s maiden professional appearance arrived on August 16, 2009 in a 0:1 defeat to Santa Clara in the league for Fatima. He was given 64 minutes on the pitch in that particular game.
FOUR LOANS FROM BENFICA BEFORE EVENTUAL EXIT
In that season, Simao went on to play in 29 games in all competitions with Fatima, popping up with five goals from midfield. His first marker as a professional footballer arrived in 1:1 draw against Gil Vicente on September 26, 2009.
Over the course of the next three years, he remained under contract at Benfica as he played on loan at Pacos de Ferreira, Academica and Maritimo with relative success. Incidentally, Simao earned the sole trophy of his career so far with Academica, winning the 2011/2012 Taca de Portugal. He was included in the starting line-up for the 1:0 triumph over Sporting Lisbon in the final:
Eventually, in July 2013, Simao and Benfica parted ways for good as the player penned a deal with Arouca.
THREE SUCCESSFUL YEARS WITH AROUCA, TRANSFER TO BULGARIA
Simao would play his football with Arouca for three successive seasons. At Arouca, Simao continued to make attacking contributions on a regular basis from midfield, gaining four goals and two assists in the 2013/2014 Liga NOS while racking up 2,305 minutes worth of action on the pitch. He scored a grand total of seven goals in the domestic championship in the next two seasons.
The time had come for Simao to move abroad for the first time in his career. On July 5, 2016, Simao took the decision to transfer across to Bulgaria, agreeing to sign a contract with CSKA Sofia.
Playing in the role of a defensive midfielder, Simao was solid - if not spectacular - in Bulgaria. His finest hour was on the penultimate matchday of the Parva Liga. In the derby against city rivals Levski Sofia, Simao scored two free-kicks for CSKA, helping his team win 3:0:
MOVE BACK TO PORTUGAL, DISAPPOINTING BELGIAN SPELL
Simao opted to return to Portugal with Boavista ahead of the 2017/2018 season. 18 months later, he was on the move once again, this time travelling to Belgium with Royal Antwerp.
Unfortunately for Simao, it didn’t quite go to plan in the Jupiler League, as he was largely kept on the fringes of the Antwerp team.
Playing in the centre of midfield, Simao will likely battle with Konstantinos Galanopoulos and Nenad Krsticic for a spot in the AEK team next to fellow Portuguese player Andre Simoes, and newly installed boss Miguel Cardoso had personally singled him out as one of his main transfer targets. Boasting a good passing range, Simao is competent at spreading the ball wide, often breaking forward and contributing to the attack effectively.
Here is a breakdown of Simao’s 2018/2019 season: