Carlota Paixão Martins de Cristo is the third and newest signing of Sport Lisboa e Benfica women's football team. After Dani Neuhaus and Daiane Rodrigues, the 20-year-old Portuguese joins the group that will play the Promotion National Championship in 2018/19.
She began playing football at the age of 8, at Ginásio Clube de Tavira, where she remained until she was 12 years old. She was a star of the U-13 – the only girl in the group and the first girl to play with boys in Algarve – and, despite her passion for football and her recognized footballing value, Carlota Cristo had to abandon football. The regulations only allow mixed teams until the U-15, category she reached in the following year.
“I decided to dedicate myself to tennis, I played for years and a returned to football at the age of 14”, she said to BTV.
Then, without a club, she was called-up to represent the Algarve Football Association in the U-16 Women's football Inter-associations Tournament. She did not only win the competition but was also won the Best Player Award.
At the age of 16, she returned to Algarve where she was invited to integrate Guia Futebol Clube Women's football senior team, where she remained until the end of last season, when she signed for Verona, from Italy. Now, she arrives at Benfica with well-defined objectives and she is "looking forward to starting”.
“It is an explainable feeling, this is my favorite club. I am very happy to be here and ready to accomplish the goals, I think we are going to accomplish them all. The first objective is to meet all the expectations of the coach and the Club. We hope to win as many games as possible and we will always give our best”, promised the Portuguese forward.
At Estádio da Luz, the 20-year-old player did not miss the chance to address the supporters: “I ask the benfiquistas to follow us and give us strength because this is a new project and it will bring many people to the women's football. May they support and follow Benfica.”
Carlota Cristo is a U-19 Portuguese international and she has represented the National Team 17 times (U-16, U-17 and U-19), having scored 11 goals in total.
Text: Filipa Fernandes Garcia
Pics: Tânia Paulo / SL Benfica