Where Are They Now? Ricardo Vaz Te

Portuguese youth International winger Ricardo Vaz Te was one of are few from his nation to wear the colours of Claret & Blue, doing so between winter of 2012 and the winter of 2015.

But, why will the speedy wide-man always have a special place in the hearts of West Ham United fans? Why did his love affair with the supporters come to an end just under three years ago? And, more importantly, where is he now?

Ricardo Vaz Te

Born in the Capital of his homeland, Lisbon in the year of 1986, the future International star always wanted to be a professional Footballer growing up and his talent was spotted at a very young age.

First, this was in Africa, where he moved in his infant years, before returning to Portugal at the age of 11, representing local club SC Farense and Real Massama, alongside soon to be Manchester United man Nani.

He was soon floating into the radar view of Bolton Wanderers in England, who signed the charge up on a youth contract in 2003, though his time on Lancashire would be ruined by injuries.

Vaz Te soon graduated into the first-team under Gary Megson, getting the chance to play in the UEFA Cup with Wanderers, though never quite managing to put a run of first-team appearances together and being loaned out to Hull City in 2008.

Amid yet more fitness worries and after a spell of seven years, the club lost patience with Vaz Te in 2010, terminating his contract and rendering him a free agent.

The attacker’s career looked to be heading the wrong way, now several years since he had represented his Nation at youth level and been on the brink of senior team selection.

In the couple of years that followed, he bounced around the Leagues, enduring spells with Greek Super League side Panionios and Scottish outfit Hibernian, finding himself with Championship club Barnsley for the start of the 2011/2012 campaign.

Vaz Te finally had a chance to impress back in England, whilst reaching the pinnacle of his playing years and he grabbed it with both hands, managing to net 12 times in all Competitions in the first half of the season.

This was when he caught the attention of former Wanderers Boss and the man in charge of a Championship West Ham at the time, Sam Allardyce, who signed him up in the very last knockings of the January 2012 Transfer Window for an undisclosed fee.

In East London, the Portuguese proved the missing piece in the Promotion jigsaw for the Hammers after they had tasted a rare Relegation from the Premier League the previous May.

His first strike for the cub came in the same month against Blackpool, 11 more would follow, including a run of nine in seven League matches and a memorable hat-trick in a 6-0 Upton Park thrashing of fellow hopefuls Brighton & Hove Albion.

However, surely the highlight of his time as an Iron came in May 2012 at Wembley Stadium after the East Londoners had finished third and made it to the Play-Off Final with a win over Cardiff City over two legs, he had also netted in the second leg.

The opposition were Blackpool, and the score was 1-1 with extra-time at the end of the second period looming, this was when Vaz Te stepped up to smash the ball home from close-range and fire his team back into the big time.

The pacey star’s career had been given an entirely new breath of life and once more he was heading for the English Top-Flight, narrowly missing out on the Hammer of the Year award for that season.

Although, injuries were bound to catch back up with him at some point and the next two and a half seasons were not very much fun for him at all, struggling for game time and form.

Vaz Te only netted a further seven goals in all Competitions in Claret & Blue, an injury-blighted period that finally drew to a close in Allardyce’s final season when he moved on to Akhisar Belediyespor in Turkey.

With his powers now fading, he moved back to England, and the Championship with Charlton Athletic, though his time there was not a success only lasting a few months in the campaign they were Relegated back to League One.

After leaving London once more, he returned to Turkey for another period of a few months and was released by the club in the summer of 2017 to seek a new adventure.

Nowadays, and at the not so old age of 31, Vaz Te is still enjoying the rich fruits of professional Football, representing Chinese Super League side Henan Jianye and living out his twilight Footballing days.

Ricardo Vaz Te may Have only really dazzled fans at the Boleyn Ground for a few special months in early 2012, but there is little doubting his role in where the club are today, even if he could never quite lived up to the standards he had set, in the Premier League.

About the Author

Luke Glanville
Lead Writer and Site Manager of MTJAC, Sub-Editor for the Falbros Media Group.