Everyone talks about how Brazil produces some of the best football talents, but Portugal is also a force to be reckoned with—and guess what—the countries are related via pre-colonial days when Spain and Portugal split the continent. Whatever it is, there is no doubt that Portugal is a core centre for producing some of the best footballers in the world, be it via Brazil, its ex-colony or through homebred European talent.
Even Joshua Robinson sees the talent of Portuguese footballers for what it is in his Wall Street Journal report. A newspaper you would probably not expect to see news of European talent yet alone narrowing the analysis down by singling out Portugal in particular, where he says he is staring at 10 pitches at Benfica’s youth academy. 10 pitches! That’s no small number, and if you have 22 players on each field and count at least 5 subs, you have 270 youth players training, and that’s just 1 club!
A Country of 10.3 Million People Produces Raw Football Talent
Portugal finally won the European Championship and will go into this 2021’s Championship, which is actually 2020s, defending the title. Possibly this time without Ronaldo or with arguably the best talent, and best example of footballing talent, to come out of the Southern European country.
However, there is hope in another amazing talent exported from the Portuguese league as Joao Felix is set to shine as he matures with regular first team football at Atletico Madrid. Also, another player to move out of his domestic league and cross the border into a footballing nation where not only the far greater wages lure Portuguese talent but also a more competitive league.
You can watch the Portuguese League regularly to see just how many youth players are getting onto the pitch in topflight games. On 101 great goals we have free football streaming options given to us with fixtures and kick off times. It is actually a good way to catch a bit of live football action in the morning before the Premier League games kick off!
Is It Because Portuguese Clubs Play Their Youth More Often in First Team Games?
Well, Portugal does have an amazing youth training system at many of its clubs. Ronaldo came from Sporting and Felix from Porto and Benfica, and then there is the amazing raw talent of Ricardo Carvalho coming through the Porto ranks. Then there is Pedro Neto who came through Braga. These are always going to be the 3 main clubs as they are the country’s most successful. And with those 3 names alone, there is no denying that the youth system in the country is one of the best in the world.
Still, there is a case to be made that Portugal’s youth talent does appear to get more first team football than a youth player at let’s say Manchester City, Real Madrid, Liverpool, and Barcelona. Teams that spend big and generally use their youth academies to pick out the odd rising start but mostly they sell their talent on to lower division or lower league clubs – a way to keep the financial system ticking over.
Portugal also sells their youth players on, but those players get to play with the best in the country before they move on. Not only that, but they also get to play with the top talent versus the best players in the Portuguese league by earning a spot in the first team almost every week. This is potentially another reason young Portuguese players adapt and mature to the game quickly. In short, that first team football in Portugal’s elite league is an excellent launching pad to excel in bigger leagues.
How English Youth Players Contrast to Portuguese Players!
In contrast, as we have seen with top English Premier League sides, the youth players only seem to get onto the centre stage in the domestic cup competitions and little more than this. It is only because of the Pandemic and the sheer number of injuries due to tight fixtures that has allowed youth to get a chance to prove their worth. And from this, it will be interesting to see how these youngsters’ careers progress after a season playing at such a high level!