He was not quite like the others. When Joseph Machado was playing in his hometown of Daman, he dominated play so much that others wondered whether it was worth being on the field at all. So when Machado landed in Goa to visit his aunt, his reputation as a top footballer had already reached the ears of Goa Police. “Wonder how Goa Police knew of me before anyone else,” quipped the player who was fondly called Jimmy. The top officials of Goa Police asked Machado to pull on the colours of their own football team, which he did as he had no choice. Soon enough, Machado was making heads turn by scoring goals by the dozen; he even took the little known team to the doorstep of a Police Cup win in 1970. So when Machado was chased by almost every other Goan club at the end of season, including Goa Police, nobody was surprised. The elegant and tough midfielder was a supplier as well as a finisher and in a league of his own. When he joined Dempo, a big club with big ambitions, the next year, Machado found the perfect fit while also proving to be a bargain for the club which had invested in him, including a free stint at Dhempe College. Machado brought bite and competitiveness to Dempo’s strike force and when Bob Bootland arrived at the club and introduced a novel 4-3-3 system, Machado was pulled back in midfield and asked to control the proceedings. He proved to be the quintessential midfield general. With his dominant personality he was the ideal leader. So good was he that he was rewarded with a place in the Indian team and also offered an attractive package by East Bengal. “We had an unbelievably good squad. We were like one big and happy family and very successful as well,” remembered Machado. Dempo’s seminal triumph in the 1975 Rovers Cup came coincidentally on Machado’s birthday, March 16. Machado left Dempo in 1981 to join East Bengal where he played alongside greats like Sudhir Karmakar, Manoranjan Bhattacharya, Victor Amalraj, Majid Bashkar and Jamshed Nassiri. Mohammedan Sporting lured him a year later but, truth be told, he never seemed quite at home in Calcutta as he was in Goa.