Dragão Caixa dressed up again to distinguish the most notable athletes, coaches, managers, partners and other blue and white individualities in 2016/17. At the 30th Gala of the Golden Dragons, the dedication to the blue and white cause was the order of the day, visible in exciting moments like the delivery of the Career award to former goalkeeper Américo, who didn’t hide his emotion, with Jorge Nuno Pinto da Costa making a point of greeting him as he walked out of the stage. But all 17 awards passed a message of dedication, flame and passion.
“I’m very nervous as you don’t receive a trophy like this every day, and this is one of those that I was waiting for, for a long time. May we meet again next year, with great achievements”, Américo stated. Before that, other Golden Dragons had already been awarded: the national and international houses, the Project of the Year and to José Mário, for his career. Others followed, such as the ones given to Raúl Alarcón, Athlete of the Year, and to footballers much younger than Américo, who represent the present and future of FC Porto: Diogo Dalot, Galeno and Brahimi.
“Without my companions, I wouldn’t have received this award”, said Brahimi, who dedicated the Golden Dragon he received, from the hands of Rabah Madjer, to his mother. And the scorer of the most famous heel in the blue and white history brought a special gift from his country's federation, of which he is now the national coach, asking the chairman of FC Porto to go on stage and receive a plaque and a jersey.
Francisco J. Marques, communication and information director of FC Porto, stated: “I am grateful to the Chairman, to our board and to the general director Manuel Tavares for believing this battle was worth fighting, and I hope it will help make Portuguese football healthier. Being a blue and white fan isn’t just liking a club, as we know that things are always more difficult for us, we know the envy we cause”. And, in the end, there was a special request to the football team to allow the fans to celebrate another national title in May.
Eurico Pinto - who remembered his father, Ilídio Pinto, a historic roller hockey player -, Alípio Jorge - who stated it was “impossible” not to share the Golden Dragon with his chairman - and Artur Santos Silva, member of the year, closed the parade. The chairman of BPI's Board of Directors stressed how the club “contributes to the identity” of the city and congratulated Chairman Pinto da Costa for leading FC Porto, for the last 40 years, to “national and international success like never achieved before”.
There was also room for humour, played by João Pinto Costa, Tito Pinto, Óscar Branco and Joana Marques, and for music, a lot of music, with the vocal group Popup - Vozes Portáteis, Azeitonas, Berg, Mundo Segundo, and, closing the gala, GNR. Rui Reininho's band played three songs, Efetivamente [Effectively] (which had the refrain changed to Allegedly), Pronúncia do Norte, of course, and Dunas. The gala, which lasted about two and a half hours, was presented by many well-known faces of Porto Canal, among which the general director, Júlio Magalhães, and counted on several well-known guests of public domain.