Five burgeoning Portuguese footballing talents ready to step up
Portuguese football is going through somewhat of transition. Going back to Euro 2004 when they boasted their ‘golden age’ of talent, which included Luis Figo, Manuel Rui Costa, Deco, Maniche, Simao, Ricardo Carvalho, Jorge Andrade, Pauleta, Nuno Gomes and even a young Cristiano Ronaldo, they haven’t really had a world class squad.
At 25/1 to win Euro 2016, they are eighth favourites, maybe at best worthy of a place in the quarter-finals, though with Ronaldo set to take part as a 31-year-old, he will be classed as a veteran, with Nani set to be 29 at tournament, there is only really Joao Moutinho (age 29 then) who stands out as a potential key performer.
With this in mind, Coral take a look at five prospects who could make the step up between now, then, and beyond to help Portugal get back to their best.
At 18, the Porto youngster could represent the heartbeat of the Portugal midfield for the next decade. Physically well built, he is exceptionally intelligent, able to read the pattern of play, understands when to pass plus where, and has almost telepathic vision, which aids him in his decision making. Blessed with superb skill and technique, he also knows where the goal is, as well as having appeared seven times for the U21 side.
Able to sit just in front of the back four, he is a patrolling presence; almost a cross between Deco with his ball-playing ability and Tiago for his defensive qualities. He is already being linked with a move to big clubs around Europe, and don’t be surprised to see his name mentioned more by mainstream media in the near future.
Check him out below, and see for yourself!
Marcos Rony Lopes
Big things are expected from Manchester City for their 19-year-old talent, currently on loan at Lille. His direct dribbling ability will be well suited to the Premier League and while in France, he has three goals and assists in 18 appearances, plus 10 goals and 17 assists in 40 outings for Man City reserves.
Depending on who leaves the Etihad in the summer, he could easily step up into the role of a replacement in the squad, not a direct replacement, though he could be a useful addition as well as filling the club’s quota of U-21 players.
Check out footage of him scoring for Lille below!
Porto’s 19-year-old striker has shown serious potential while playing for the Portugal U-19 side and for his club in the country’s Segunda division. He has 16 goals in 20 outings for his country and possesses a wide variety of finishing.
Have a look at this bullet for Porto B below!
After two attacking talents in a row, it seems prudent to throw in a defender and keep this balanced. Sporting Lisbon’s 21-year-old centre back has everything it takes to make it at the highest level, and has featured on 10 occasions this term plus twice in the Europa League against Wolfsburg, helping his club keep a clean sheet at home.
Although not quite at the standard of Ricardo Carvalho and Jorge Andrade just yet, he certainly has the requisite potential to step up.
Arguably saving the best until last, this 19-year-old talent, currently plying his trade for Benfica B is the real deal and has been hailed as the heir to Ronaldo. No further explanation needed, just check him out below!