In a 14-year professional playing career, Abel Ferreira starred as a right back for Portuguese clubs Penafiel, Vitoria de Guimaraes, Braga and Sporting Lisbon. With Sporting, he was twice a winner of the country’s main cup competition, the Taça de Portugal.
After hanging up his playing boots at Sporting in 2011, he immediately turned to coaching, at first working with the club’s junior players before progressing to managing their reserve team, Sporting B, in the Segunda Liga.
In February 2015 he was appointed manager at Braga B, again in the second division but in April 2017, Ferreira was promoted to manager of Braga’s first team. In his first full season in charge he led the club to a fourth place finish in the Primeira Liga and qualification to the Europa League’s third qualifying round.
After a spell in Greece with PAOK, Ferreira moved to Brazil in 2020 to take over as manager of Palmeiras, where he has enjoyed significant success. In January 2021, he led Palmeiras to victory over fellow Brazilians, Santos, in the final of the 2020 Copa Libertadores, becoming only the third manager from outside of South American to lift the trophy of the continent’s most prestigious club cup competition.
He followed this up by winning the Copa do Brasil in March 2021, becoming the first foreign manager to win the Brazilian Cup.