Former national head coach and captain, Russell Latapy, has been described as the perfect number 10 player by former Portugal-born player Rui Capela Batista.
Both Latapy and Batista played against each other during Latapy’s days at Academica and FC Porto. Capella played for Farense and Esp Lagos.
On hearing Latapy being named as one of the top 50 sporting legends in T&T, Capella, now a coach in Paraguay, said the “Little Magician” made quite a name for himself at every club he played for in Portugal. He later played for Boavista before joining Hibernian in Scotland. “I remember him…very good player Russell Latapy.
He was the perfect number 10 to have in your team,” Capella said. “I think every time he was about to play for his team, the people would look forward to see what he was up to.”
Barry Anderson, a football correspondent with the Scotsman followed Latapy during his time in Scotland, adding that the player was still largely considered a legend at Hibernian and Falkirk. “He thrilled fans with his moves on the pitch. Latapy could easily have been Scottish.
He was almost tailor-made for this country,” Anderson said. “Bags of talent, loved scoring goals, celebrating and always played with a smile on his face. Away from football, he also liked to enjoy himself.
“Scottish people love genius players like him who also have character and like a laugh. That’s why Latapy felt so at home in Scotland. I interviewed him on several occasions while he was here with Hibernian, Rangers, Dundee United and Falkirk and he was always engaging company and very down to earth.”
Latapy returned to Portugal where he’s currently residing last Friday after receiving his award at the Sporting Legends Gala Dinner at the Hilton, the previous night.
“It’s a major honour to be recognised for my efforts. I think the country has done a fair amount over the 50 years and hopefully we can go on to doing just as good or maybe better now in what’s coming up for all of our athletes,” Latapy added.