Afonso Biscaia has been passionate about football for as long as he can remember. Growing up in Macao, he first started practising football at Benfica Macau and later played for the Consulate General of Portugal’s team, while cheering on the Macau Football Team at every opportunity.
But unlike many young players, he didn’t aspire to a life on the pitch. “I don’t have the mindset of a football player,” admits the 25-year-old with a smile, alluding to his full social calendar. Instead, Biscaia took a shot at law – a field that offered many career possibilities.
Once he started studying, things moved fast. In his second year at the prestigious Universidade Católica Portuguesa (Catholic University of Portugal) in Lisbon, Biscaia jumped at the opportunity to take a course in sports law. “That course meant that my college degree and passion could cross paths,” he tells Macao magazine.
Soon enough, he had a new ball in play. After completing a Law degree, he continued with a postgraduate degree in sports law. It was the right decision at the right time – one that would set him up to score his dream job.
He shoots, he scores
After graduating in August 2022, Biscaia applied to work at the Federação Portuguesa de Futebol (Portuguese Football Federation). The governing body oversees football in Portugal and recently won a bid to co-organise the FIFA World Cup in 2030.
It was the only job he applied to, and Biscaia says he was overjoyed when he received an offer to become a legal officer at the federation. “Just coming into work in the morning and being able to smell the grass on the football pitches outside feels like a metaphor for me – to breathe football,” Biscaia said. “It’s a dream!”
For some, applying to a single job may seem like a leap of faith. But Biscaia said it felt like the “natural course” thanks to his track record. During university, he coordinated the sports department of the students’ association and moderated sports discussions. Biscaia also served as the president of the Council of Justice for the Higher Education Sports Association in Lisbon, which provided him with valuable insights into sports administration. This experience, combined with his law degree and passion for the sport, made Biscaia a strong candidate.
As a legal officer for the federation’s legal department, Biscaia liaises with sports agents and clubs, provides legal advice on contracts, drafts and reviews legal documents, and handles brand registrations nationally and internationally. Working at such a prestigious institution in a country known for its football fever has been nothing short of “amazing,” he says.
Naturally, there are many job perks. For instance, Biscaia occasionally interacts with football players of several national football teams. He hasn’t met his idol, Cristiano Ronaldo, yet but hopes that day is coming soon.
“I grew up watching his career unfold. It’s an honour to be a part of Federação Portuguesa de Futebol while he’s still playing,” says Biscaia of the five-time Ballon D’or winner, who plays as a forward for both the Portugal national team and Saudi Arabia’s Al Nassr Football Club.
Passing it forward
Football isn’t Biscaia’s only passion. He has also cultivated a deep appreciation for the arts, inspired by his family’s creative legacy in Macao. Born in Lisbon in 1998, Biscaia spent most of his childhood – from ages 1 to 17 – in Macao, where his family still resides.
“Macao is home to me – I have a very strong connection with the city,” he says. “Everything I’ve learned that shaped my personality and my lifestyle… it’s all thanks to Macao and its characteristics.”
While growing up in the city, Biscaia learned about fine art from his mother and maternal grandparents, who moved from Shanghai to Macao in 1982. His grandfather, the late Mio Pang Fei, became one of the region’s greatest contemporary painters. Best known for his Neo-Orientalist style, which merged Chinese tradition and Western techniques, Mio exhibited worldwide and represented Macao at the 56th Venice Biennale in 2015 with an exhibition titled “Path and Adventure”.
His grandmother, Un Chi Iam, is also an acclaimed artist and professor who has toured the world to showcase her modern ink and landscape works. Meanwhile, his mother, Mio U Kit, followed in her parents’ footsteps, working as an art restorer and painter.
While Biscaia says he lacks the talent to create art, it’s still in his DNA. Proud of his family’s legacy, Biscaia established an Instagram account after his grandfather’s death in 2020 as a way of honouring his work and helping it reach new audiences. He spends much of his free time running the account, which has attracted more than 8,000 followers from all over the world.
To share more stories about his grandfather, he’s also invested in making the documentary, Mio Pang Fei, directed by Pedro Cardeira of Inner Harbour Productions, available online. When asked about the future, Biscaia says he is fully focused on the present, but one thing is clear: Whether sharing his family’s creative heritage or working for the Portuguese Football Federation, Biscaia knows how to take the ball and run with it.