With a population of roughly ten million people, Portugal have punched above their footballing weight for decades. The reigning European champions consistently produce a stream of high-quality talent, with the majority of players plying their trade in Europe’s top divisions.
Cristiano Ronaldo has been Portugal’s poster boy since bursting onto the scene as a teenager, but now aged 35 it’s time for The Navigators to find a new talisman. And they may just have one. Below we outline the best young Portuguese players in FIFA 21.
Best Portuguese Wonderkids in FIFA 21
10. Fábio Silva (Wolverhampton Wanderers: ST)
Wolverhampton’s record signing Fábio Silva is definitely one for the future. A live-wire in and around the box the 17-year-old has 70 finishing and 72 ball control. With an overall rating of 69, he’s far from the finished article, but with a potential of 85, this kid is well worth the €5.3 million release clause available in career mode.
A product of the Porto academy, Silva has all the makings to be a top player. He has a quick turn of pace, is excellent on the ball, he’s dynamic and, most importantly, has an eye for goal.
9. Nuno Albertino Varela Tavares (Benfica: LB)
Already a first-team regular, Benfica’s 20-year-old left-back Nuno Tavares is attracting the attention of Europe’s elite. And no wonder. Currently rated 72 with a potential of 85 Tavares is expected to develop into one of the world’s best in his position.
Like most modern fullbacks he’s better going forward than he is defending. With 79 crossing and a wand of a left foot, Tavares’ delivery from wide positions in the final third is lethal, and it’s only going to get better with more game time. His biggest strength, though, is pace. With 86 acceleration and 88 sprint speed few players will beat the Benfica academy graduate in a foot race. He’s rapid.
8. Romário Baró (Porto: RM, CAM)
20-year-old Romário Baró plays predominantly on the wing but can operate centrally as an attacking midfielder too. Rated 73 overall with a potential of 85 Baró can unlock the toughest of defences with 75 short passing and 71 long passing.
Naturally right-footed the Porto youngster has a four-star weak foot rating and is an accomplished dribbler. Coupled with 76 acceleration and 77 sprint speed Baró poses a huge threat in the final third and he’s worth every penny of the €15.4 million release clause in FIFA 21 career mode.
7. Tomás Tavares (Deportivo Alaves: RB)
Tomás Tavares, no relation to Nuno, is currently on loan at Deportivo Alaves from Benfica. And, like his namesake, is a Portuguese wonderkid who plays at fullback. Standing 6’2” tall, Tavares is deceptively agile for his size and has 75 dribbling, 74 ball control and 76 composure enabling him to comfortably step out from the back with the ball at his feet.
Defensively there’s room for improvement with 57 heading accuracy and 69 sliding tackling. Physically, though, he’s got it all with 80 sprint speed, 72 stamina and 71 strength. Overall Tavares is rated 73 with a potential of 85, making him a real prospect for the future.
6. Eduardo Quaresma (Sporting CP: CB)
18-year-old Sporting CP centre back Eduardo Quaresma is expected to be Portugal’s long term replacement for Pepe who, at the age of 37, is likely to retire sometime soon. When that does happen, there will be big boots to fill, but Quaresma, with a FIFA 21 overall rating of 72 and potential 86, should be good enough.
The teenager, already an accomplished defender with 75 standing tackling and 71 interceptions, is pretty tall but not a giant of a centre-back at 6ft. What he lacks in height, he makes up for with 80 jumping and 75 aggression. Like Pepe, Quaresma is a rock at the back and worth every penny of the €15.8 million release clause.
5. Florentino Luís (AS Monaco: CDM, CM)
A tenacious CDM with 79 aggression and 78 standing tackling Florentino Luís is currently on loan at Monaco from Benfica. The 20-year-old is best deployed in the ‘Claude Makélélé’ role, shielding the backline, but also providing a link between defence and attack with 74 short passing.
Naturally right-footed Luis has a 76 overall rating and 86 potential. If he lives up to the hype, then there’s no doubt he’ll become one of the best defensive midfielders in the world.
4. Joelson Fernandes (Sporting CP: RW, LW)
If you’re on the hunt for a pacy winger with bags of potential, then look no further than this man, Joelson Fernandes. The 17-year-old Sporting CP academy graduate has blistering pace with 91 acceleration and 90 sprint speed.
Right-footed Fernandes can play on both wings, cutting in from the left or getting to the byline on the right and whipping a ball in into the box. Currently rated just 69, but with 87 potential, the teenager is an absolute steal at €9.2 million.
3. Nuno Mendes (Sporting CP: LWB, LM)
Another pacy Portuguese youngster to keep on your radar, Nuno Mendes is a wonderkid in the making. A product of the famous Sporting CP academy, the 18-year-old can play anywhere on the left-hand side, but is best deployed as a wing-back providing support in defence and attack.
Already rated 72, Mendes is accomplished in his position, but there’s plenty to improve on with interceptions, standing tackles and dribbling all lower than 70. With a potential rating of 85 and a release clause of just €13.1 million, Mendes could be the bargain your career mode needs.
2. Francisco Trincão (Barcelona: RW, LW, CAM)
When Barcelona bought 20-year-old Francisco Trincão for €40million and whacked a three-figure release clause on his head eyebrows were raised. Another waste of money? Naa, not this time, this kid’s special. With an overall rating of 78 and 91 potential in FIFA 21 the Portuguese youngster can play across the front three, but given the choice prefers wide right where he can cut in on his left foot like a certain Lionel Messi.
And like his mentor, Trincão is mesmerising with the ball at his feet. He glides past defenders with 85 dribbling and 83 agility. In front of goal, he’s composed with 73 finishing and 84 composure. And, despite being 6ft tall, is deceptively quick with 78 sprint speed.
1. João Félix (Atletico Madrid: CF, ST)
The man tipped to pick up the baton from Cristiano Ronaldo as Portugal’s poster boy, João Félix is already making a name for himself in world football. A regular in the Atletico Madrid starting eleven, Félix needs no introduction. He’s quick, skilful, composed, can pass and dribble. He’s the full package.
Rated 81 overall, with 93 potential the only thing missing from his game is heading. But with 82 finishing, 83 dribbling and 83 sprint speed I think we can let him off. A quick search on Google for the term wonderkid and you’ll find João Félix, or you should do anyway.
Portugal fans will be forgiven for fearing the worst with Ronaldo and Pepe both nearing the end of their careers. But with a new crop of players breaking through they’ve absolutely no reason to. In João Félix and Francisco Trincão, the future is bright, very bright. This could well be the start of a new golden generation for Portuguese football.