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On the spot

On the Spot: Petit

He's may be only small, but he's a real handful out on the pitch. Armando Gonçalves Teixeira, or Petit, was born in France of Portuguese parents. He's earned 57 caps for Portugal and now he's at Cologne.

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Colognes Little Big Man, Petit.

DWTV:

Where does the name Petit come from?

Petit:

The name Petit comes from my childhood. Until the age of two I lived with my family in France. I was small and chubby, so my father called me Petit. When I arrived at Boavista Porto, they asked me whether I wanted to be called Armando or Petit. I said Petit. I felt more comfortable with that name, because everyone always called me that. So I stayed with it. My father started it all and I still think it suits me well.

You have a second nickname, Pitbull, which comes from the way you play. Which nickname describes you better?

I think the name Pitbull came originally from a joke. When I was first called into the Portuguese national team - I was with Boavista at that time - we went to a training camp on Madeira. At one stage Luis Figo turned around and said: "Did you see that? He looks like a pitbull when he runs." Since then they called me pitbull and they told the journalists too. The image just somehow stuck and these days I do identify with the name Petit, because that's how I play and compete.

Is he a little prince or a pitbull? He can certainly show his teeth when he has to, or celebrate like just recently when he scored his first Bundesliga goal.

As a kid did you dream of being a striker?

No, I just dreamed of being a professional footballer. At first I wanted to play for Boavista, then I wanted to play for Portugal. I achieved both of those things. Then I dreamed of playing in a competitive league and I managed that too. Now I'm in the Bundesliga and I'm very happy to be where I am today.

What's been the highlight?

There have been many great moments: the championship at Boavista where no-one thought we could do it, the championship win with Benfica and my promotion to the national team. That gave me the chance to play in two European Championships and two World Cups.

He's just always been there: Little Petit, battling it out with the best of Europe. After EURO 2008 he said "Obrigado" to the national team and headed to Germany.

Now you're in Cologne. When did you first hear about the club?

That was during the World Cup in 2006 in Germany. Our first game against Angola was in Cologne. That was the first time I came here and that's how I got to know the club. One of the reasons why I came here was to get closer to my family. They live in Luxembourg and Strasbourg and now I can visit them easily. I'm very happy to be here, not only in this club but also in such a wonderful city.

Boavista was a club where no-one thought you could win the title. Now you're in Cologne. No-one thinks you can win the championship here either, but maybe it's possible with you on board.

No, I think we have to be realistic. We know that the level in the Bundesliga is very high and that there are some good teams fighting for the championship. I think our major goal is to establish Cologne in the Bundesliga again.

That's coach Christoph Daum's aim too, and at the moment things are on the right track. The team's sitting in 8th place. They'll have to fight to hold onto that spot, though. And that's why Cologne got Petit. Anyone who doubts his temperament can ask Petit's twin.

I can identify very well with this nickname. One day I wanted to get a tattoo done and I didn't really know what I wanted. But I knew I wanted a twin. And then I had the idea of a tattoo of a pitbull.

Can we see your twin then?

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