Benni McCarthy reveals Rio Ave and FC Porto opportunities after football returns

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McCarthy has been without a job since his exit from Cape Town City in November last year and after missing out on the head coach role with Hearts to Daniel Strendel in December, he's remained patient for his next move.

While he's previously opened up on a potential link-up with Jose Mourinho to study his former mentor at Tottenham and rejecting the advances of Ajax Cape Town, he's now confirmed exciting options once football resumes after the coronavirus enforced suspension of football.

"My agent Rob [Moore] has been putting out the feelers to see what's out there for me and something really interesting came up," McCarthy explained to the South African Football Journalist's Association.

"In Portugal, he spoke to one of my old teammates that was still a youngster, a couple of years younger than me, he was coming up the ranks.

"I remember this player, who is now the sporting director at a club called Rio Ave and he [André Vilas Boas], actually gave my agent a few good tips on what to do and what might be on the horizon and what might be good opportunities.

"Once the dust settles and things go back to normal then I will be definitely be following up because that could be something that could be valuable and good for me."

5. Steven Pienaar (Everton to Tottenham Hotspur) -
5. Steven Pienaar (Everton to Tottenham Hotspur) - £3.2m in 2011 (£8.9m / R202m today)
10. Steven Pienaar (Borussia Dortmund to Everton)
10. Steven Pienaar (Borussia Dortmund to Everton) - £2.4m in 2008 (£6.4m / R145m today)
3. Steven Pienaar (Tottenham Hotspur to Everton) -
3. Steven Pienaar (Tottenham Hotspur to Everton) - £5.1m in 2012 (£13.8m / R314m today)
9. Shaun Bartlett (Zurich to Charlton Athletic) -
9. Shaun Bartlett (Zurich to Charlton Athletic) - £2.7m in 2001 (£6.8m / R154m today)
8. Quinton Fortune (Atletico Madrid to Manchester
8. Quinton Fortune (Atletico Madrid to Manchester United) - £2m in 1999 (£6.9m / R157m today)
7. Mark Fish (Orlando Pirates to Lazio) - £1.1m in
7. Mark Fish (Orlando Pirates to Lazio) - £1.1m in 1996 (£8.5m / R193m today)
6. Mbulelo Mabizela (Orlando Pirates to Tottenham
6. Mbulelo Mabizela (Orlando Pirates to Tottenham Hotspur) - £2m in 2003 (£8.6m / R195m today)
4. Benni McCarthy (FC Porto to Blackburn Rovers) -
4. Benni McCarthy (FC Porto to Blackburn Rovers) - £3.3m in 2006 (£11.5m / R261m today)
2. Mark Fish (Lazio to Bolton Wanderers) - £2.7m i
2. Mark Fish (Lazio to Bolton Wanderers) - £2.7m in 1997 (£15.5m / R352m today)
1. Benni McCarthy (Ajax Amsterdam to Celta Vigo) -
1. Benni McCarthy (Ajax Amsterdam to Celta Vigo) - £5.4m in 1999 (£18.6m / R423m today)

"Portugal is a place that I know exceptionally well and I am very much loved, as much as I am in South Africa, especially at Porto. They've got elections coming up very soon and the president that’s there, Pinto da Costa, is in the running for the presidency again and he is been there for 30 years, which is remarkable," McCarthy explained.

"He is looking to bring in Vitor Baia as his vice president. With that said, Vitor did mention something about recruiting players from our old generation at Porto to get back into the academy for that mindset that those players at the time had.

"He wants to bring in a couple of us and I’ve had a conversation with him, but obviously once the elections are over and we know who has won then a decision can be made on that.

"If Vitor gets elected [as vice-president] then that might be a good start for me, at a club I know very well and familiar with. And the manager [Sérgio Conceição] that's there was also a former teammate of mine. There are quite a lot of positives."

The Bafana Bafana record goalscorer also revealed he may throw his name into the hat for the Hearts job again, with the club situated in his current home town of Edinburgh, suffering relegation under the manager they opted for.

"Hearts have gone down, we're monitoring that to see if the German [Strendel] is going to stay and yeah, put myself back in there [for the job] because it's a club literally just down the road from where I live, it would be ideal for me to remain close to my family."

In his first and only head coach role, McCarthy led the Citizens for 89 games across all competitions, with 37 victories, 32 draws and 31 defeats while lifting the MTN8 title in 2018/19 season.