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Ronaldo Camara – Portugal’s next great hope?

Ronaldo Camara, Benfica, Portugal

A new talent with a familiar name in Portugal is emerging in young Benfica star Ronaldo Camara, who has already caught the eyes of some top clubs.

Portugal have boasted some of the finest players to have ever graced the game down the years through the likes of Luis Figo, ‘The Black Panther’ Eusebio and five-time Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo.

Each of these players played a unique role in Portugal’s history, and did the country proud across their respective careers.

Ronaldo, of course, is still playing to this day and will likely lead the national team next summer in the defence of their European title. Outside of international duty, he stars for Juventus having recently enjoyed a trophy and goal-laden nine years at Real Madrid.

With his 35th birthday coming up in just under three months, though, the clock is beginning to tick on Ronaldo’s career.

But that doesn’t suggest there isn’t life after the Portugal icon, with many talented players beginning to emerge. The most prominent ones are Joao Felix, Bernardo Silva, Nelson Semedo and Ruben Dias.

And now a 16-year-old midfielder called Ronaldo Camara is beginning to make headlines after some promising displays for Benfica at youth level.

The teenager, who was born in Guinea-Bissau, first made his mark in last season’s UEFA Youth League. While he couldn’t help Benfica win the tournament, Ronaldo still impressed in his five appearances and scored a goal.

These breakthrough performances convinced Benfica to award him his first professional contract until 2022. He’s since become a fully-fledged member of the U-23 squad this season, and who knows? – maybe he’ll make his first-team debut soon.

One thing that’s for sure, though, is that Ronaldo’s journey has only just begun and we could very well hear of him in the future.

What does the future hold?

Three clubs in Barcelona, Manchester City and Manchester United are already keeping tabs on this promising youngster.

And it appears they have every reason to be keen as Ronaldo is one of the most talented midfielders for his age across Europe.

The Benfica playmaker, who initially started out at Sporting CP, is an exciting player to watch on the ball. He normally attempts to make things happen on the pitch, and is always on the lookout to create scoring opportunities or bag a goal himself.

Of course, it’s still early days and it would be unfair to burden this young Ronaldo by already comparing him to Cristiano.

But, should he continue to develop well over at Benfica, then maybe one day we may be lucky enough to see him play over in England or Spain.

Benfica youth academy does it again

LISBON, PORTUGAL – APRIL 11: Joao Felix of Benfica celebrates after scoring his team’s first goal from the penalty spot during the UEFA Europa League Quarter Final First Leg match between Benfica and Eintracht Frankfurt at Estadio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica on April 11, 2019 in Lisbon, Portugal. (Photo by Octavio Passos/Getty Images)

The Benfica Football Campus has been the stepping ground for many young talented Portuguese players down the years.

There are exactly nine pitches, 20 changing rooms, two auditoriums and three gyms in the facility as the club hone their players. Normally, they accommodate up to 65 kids from all over the world.

A number of big names in world football today were once one of those kids as well, with Joao Felix and Bernardo Silva the most well-known members.

Silva’s Manchester City team-mate Ederson also came through the academy after arriving from his native Brazil at 15.

Manchester United centre-back Victor Lindelof is another product of the Portuguese club, and made 73 first-team appearances before heading to Old Trafford in 2017 for €35m.

Euro 2016 winner Renato Sanches, who left Bayern Munich for Lille OSC in the summer, also came through the youth ranks in Benfica.

22-year-old defender Ruben Dias, meanwhile, is the latest young player to make his mark for the senior team. In fact, his performances in Portugal have allegedly got Manchester City and Manchester United interested.

The main picture used in this article belongs to the Benfica Twitter page.

Bernardo Silva, Benfica
LONDON, ENGLAND – AUGUST 03: Bernardo Silva of Benfica gesture during the Emirates Cup match between Benfica and Valencia at the Emirates Stadium on August 3, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)