Benfica is one of those illustrious clubs in Football Manager. The Portuguese superpower has an amazing set of facilities available, including a modern stadium, state-of-the-art training facilities and a wonderful youth setup. The club has been performing very well in the last couple of seasons and that is mainly because Benfica is scouting Europe for young and talented players. These players are all acquired for a reduced fee and have the potential to develop into world-class players, gifting Benfica a possible large transfer fee in the future.
In this article we present you today, we take a look at 11 U23 players at Benfica. These players could develop into world-class players. If you are planning a save with Benfica, make sure to build your squad around these lads and build a Portuguese superpower that will end the curse of Bela Guttmann.
We start this list with a talented goalkeeper. Mile Svilar was one of the bigger wonderkid goalkeepers in Football Manager 2017. The young Belgian is also set to shine in FM18. He made a summer transfer to Benfica and will be able to defend your goal in a matter of years. Svilar is one of the most talented goalkeepers in the game. With a long-term contract (2022) and the option to extend with 2 years, will make sure Svilar will be staying at the club for a long time.
18-year-old Alex Pinto is your future pick at the right full-back position. The young Portuguese defender will start in the Benfica B team, but you will get him in your first squad in a matter of seasons. He is a fast player that loves to get forward when possible. Looking at his current and potential ability, Pinto is one of those players you should want to keep around. If you give him enough playtime, he will be developing into one of the better attacking full-backs in Europe.
Alternatives for this postion: Gedson Fernandes.
A former Barcelona youth player, that made the step to the Portuguese competition a couple of years ago. Alex Grimaldo is a versatile full-back who has a lot of attacking potential. He is seen as the future left full-back in the Spanish national team and we can see why. He is one of the better left full-backs in FM18 and with a long term contract at Benfica, you will be able to enjoy his rushes down the left side for many years to come. Grimaldo will be your first pick at the left full-back position.
In the heart of defense Ruben Dias will be your choice in the future. This 20-year-old defender will start of in the Benfica B team, but he will make the jump rather sooner than later. Get him into the first team and have him play as a back-up during the first season. If you grant him enough playtime, Dias will be developing into a very good centre-back, who could be leading your defense for the next few years.
Next to Ruben Dias, we suggest you pick Pedro Alvaro in the heart of defense. The 17-year-old is a big and strong defender, but is also capable of playing as a Ball playing defender. He start in the Benfica U19, but we suggest to promote him to the Benfica B team right from the start. It would be good for him to play on a higher level and seeing his ability/potential he will be playing quite some games. In a few seasons time he will then be ready for the first team. Together with Dias, Alvaro could be a very good defender, who can reach the level of former Real Madrid star Pepe.
If you decide to play in a 4-3-3 formation with a defensive midfielder in the middle of the pitch, Florentino Luis will be your best pick in the future. The 17-year-old midfielder is a great ball-winner and shows some impressive physical attributes for a player his age. If you nurture this player well enough, he will be good enough for the first team in a matter of seasons. A player like Luis is always a good addition to the team to keep control on the midfield.
First pick on the midfield is without any doubt; Joao Felix. The 17-year-old Portuguese is considered as one of the major talents in Portugal and even in Europe. He is an attacking minded midfielder that can play either on the MC or on the AMC position. He is a player that loves to have the ball and mostly operates from the left side of the pitch. Joao Felix is a player to keep a look out for during your time at Benfica. By the time he is 20, he will be a first pick player.
Joao Felix will be partnered by André Horta. The young Portguese made the Ultimate Wonderkids list in Football Manager 2017 and is still seen as one of the bigger young talents at Benfica. He will spend a season on loan at Braga. After he returns, he will be ready for a place in the starting eleven without a doubt. Horta is a technical player that loves to dictate the play. He also has a very good dribble and will join the attack on more than one occasion. Pairing him up with Joao Felix will give you a dynamic midfield, which will be hard to defend against.
Being one of the biggest wonderkids Football Manager has ever seen, Andrija Zivkovic has a reputation to fulfill. The young Serbian winger is still seen as one of the better young wingers in the game and he has the potential to become an elite player in FM18. Zivkovic is without a doubt your first pick if you choose to play with wingers. His best position will be the AMR, but he is easily capable to play on the left side of the pitch. He is considered to be back-up player at Benfica, but we advise you to promote him to a star player and start him every game you play.
Looking at the best young left winger in the Benfica team, we fell for Nuno Santos. He is a very talented player and is a player that loves to dribble and outplay his opponent. His is right footed and that makes him the ideal inside forward. He also has a good long shot, which he could be developing into a lethal finish over the seasons. Nuno Santos is 18-years-old when you start a new save and he will need some time to develop into a first team player. You have the choice to either develop him at the club, sharing him some playtime over the seasons. Or you can loan him to a club in the Portuguese highest division. There should be some clubs interested to sign him on a loan.
Picking our striker in the possible Benfica potential super squad was hard. We had to pick between Ze Gomes (who is on our Wonderkids list) or Luka Jovic. The Serbian striker is a former super wonderkid in Football Manager and has yet to shine at Benfica. He is on a 2 season loan at German side Eintracht Frankfurt (he can’t be recalled) and you will have to watch his development from a distance. If you are lucky, Jovic will play his socks of in Germany and will return as your new number one striker. He has the potential to be your first pick, but he will have to develop a bit. Jovic is a pretty solid finisher and loves to move around in attack, cutting inside from both wings.