Nine of the best young talents in the Portuguese Primeira Liga

Nine of the best young talents in the Portuguese Primeira Liga

In the modern world of football every scout is on the hunt for the next big thing.

Finding that young raw potential in a player that can be moulded into a global superstar is what coaches dream of, and what fans love to see their teams strive for.

Portugal has been a source of talent for the Premier League for over a decade now, with Manchester United getting Cristiano Ronaldo from Sporting Lisbon back in 2003.

Of course, for every Ronaldo there is always a Bebe – signing young players based on their potential is undoubtedly a huge risk.

With that in mind here are the nine best young stars in the Primeira Liga, aged 23 or under, who definitely can go on to make their mark on the global scene.

William Carvalho

Age: 23

Club: Sporting CP

Position: Defensive midfield

One of the biggest talents currently plying his trade in Portugal, Carvalho has been in the first team for Sporting CP since the 2013/2014 campaign.

Power, speed and controlled aggression give this defensive midfielder all the tools needed to thrive in the centre of the park and break down opposition attacks.

Carvalho has also impressed with his composure and temperament, and with his 24th Birthday in April the international enforcer just makes the cut for our list.

Ahmed Hassan

Age: 22

Club: SC Braga

Position: Striker

Having transferred to Braga from Rio Ave in the summer, Hassan has already impressed for his new side after netting six goals in just 12 league outings so far this campaign. Add in two in five Europa League matches and the Egyptian forward is finding his feet well at the club.

The 22-year-old’s goalscoring record also extends to international matches, having struck five times in six appearances for Egypt.

A calm and very mobile forward, Hassan brings strength in the air at 6’2″ and is comfortable with both feet. This forward’s ability to read chances cannot be understated.

Anderson Talisca

Age: 22

Club: Benfica

Position: Attacking midfield

Having earned comparisons to Manchester City’s Yaya Touré, this Brazilian starlet is also on his way to the big time if he can continue to develop his all-round game.

Going forward the Brazilian is a threat to any defence, and when given space his rocket left foot can burst the net open. Some excellent vision and a natural creativity sees Talisca a fine option in the No.10.

There’s still work to be done by the 22-year-old, who needs to remember at times that football is a team game, but he’s certainly on the right track to big things.

Ruben Neves

Age: 18

Club: Porto

Position: Centre midfield

Despite being just 18 years old Ruben Neves is a natural leader in the centre of the field for Porto, having become a crucial first team player in a side of superstars.

After starting his career as a defensive midfielder the teenager has developed into a deep-lying playmaker for Porto, with his exceptional vision and range of passing providing numerous attacks for his side.

It’s clear that Neves is on his way to becoming one of Europe’s most coveted players and Porto are doing well to hang onto the youngster, whose attacking attributes are very strong.

Carlos Mane

Age: 21

Club: Sporting CP

Position: Winger

When you look for the typical graduate from Sporting CP’s academy one doesn’t need to look much further than Carlos Mane. Pacy, tricky and strong, the 21-year-old has established himself in the starting XI in the last season.

Mane is comfortable on either wing but prefers to play on the right and is playing with more confidence every week, and his ability to take on defenders and drift through the channels is constantly improving.

The wide-man’s decision-making and strength do need a little work but this regular Portugal Under-21 player is on his way to become a full time international.

Renato Sanches

Age: 18

Club: Benfica

Position: Centre midfield

This young midfielder has been touted as a target for Manchester United in the last few weeks and over the January transfer window, which shows just how far he’s progressed in a short space of time.

At only 18 years old Sanches’ reading of the game is simply outstanding and his work-rate is decent too. Whether it’s a strong move forward or tracking back the midfielder is usually difficult to stop.

With an eye for a pass and an unbelievable shot from distance, Sanches is another Portuguese youngster who is destined for the big time.

Rafa Silva

Age: 22

Club: SC Braga

Position: Winger

A regular player on the left wing for Braga, Rafa has five goals in the league this campaign and is developing at a consistent rate on the flank.

The winger is quick, very quick, and also brings a excellent level of control to his game. The timing of his runs are nearly impeccable and you can always rely on Rafa to track-back if he should lose possession.

Rafa is also comfortable in any role across the attacking midfield, making him an attractive prospect for future clubs and a highly-rated player for his current side.

Joao Mario

Age: 23

Club: Sporting CP

Position: Centre midfield

A strong playmaker, Mario is settled in the centre for Sporting and continues to offer a consistent range of passing and technique for the side.

Although not defensively-minded Mario makes up for it when pushing forward. The 23-year-old possesses power and drive in abundance when on the offensive.

There’s still work to do in areas, with just two goals in the league this campaign, but further development could see him become a force in midfield for Portugal.

Goncalo Guedes

Age: 19

Club: Benfica

Position: Winger

Guedes is the youngest Portuguese player to have scored a goal in the Champions League group stages, having netted against Atlético Madrid earlier this season.

The 19-year-old follows a similar mould to other attacking players in this list – he’s very fast, very creative and offers tricks to no end for Benfica.

Guedes needs to develop more of an end product to his movement but the wide-man is becoming immensely popular in Portugal, after earning his first full international cap earlier this campaign.