Contained in the Benfica Campus, one of many world’s biggest soccer expertise factories | CNN




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Prior to now three seasons, Portuguese big Benfica has generated greater than $200 million from the sale of simply two gamers that got here by the membership’s academy: João Félix and Rúben Dias.

Over time, the membership’s academy – often called the Benfica Campus – has nurtured quite a few stars which have gone on to command excessive switch charges from Europe’s biggest clubs; Ederson, Renato Sanches, Gonçalo Guedes, Félix and Dias to call just some.

Rodrigo Magalhães is the technical coordinator for the Campus and has been working in youth improvement on the membership since 2005. He tells CNN Sport that Benfica’s concentrate on creating its youth stars as human beings earlier than footballers is essential to its success.

Round 95 gamers dwell on the academy at anyone time, and once they transition from the under-18s to the under-19s, gamers transfer out into their very own homes or flats within the metropolis.

“In our opinion, it was the age that they begin to have their very own lives,” Magalhães says to CNN. “A few of them have girlfriends, a few of them dwell two or three in an residence. So they begin a life outdoors the academy as we have to put together them to dwell their lives as a result of we all know small share of gamers will obtain the purpose to play within the first workforce or in the principle leagues in Europe.

“After these ages, under-19 and under-23, usually all of our gamers who progress [from the academy] can play in first divisions and second divisions right here in Portugal or in different international locations, however we have to put together them if soccer fails.

“The primary goal was to develop them like human beings and we have to put together them with a powerful tutorial improvement too.”

Final season, Benfica’s Campus workforce lastly gained probably the most coveted prize in youth membership soccer: the UEFA Youth League. Launched in 2013, it’s a match contested by all of the youth groups of the golf equipment taking part in in that season’s Champions League.

After shedding in all three of its earlier last appearances, Benfica lastly acquired its fingers on the trophy with an attention grabbing 6-Zero win over RB Salzburg, a end result that drew admiring glances from a lot of Europe’s largest golf equipment.

“Everyone seems to be so pleased with that second as a result of it was a course of that didn’t begin that season,” Magalhães says. “Plenty of these gamers began with us once they had been six years previous, others 10 years previous, 11 years previous.

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“We have to look to all of the those who work with them – coaches, assistant coaches, lecturers, social division, scouting division – everybody right here has a particular half in that second.”

Magalhães says round 90% of the squad that gained the UEFA Youth League began taking part in on the Campus between the age teams of under-6s and under-12s.

Though Benfica has its predominant base in Lisbon, it additionally boasts 5 coaching facilities round Portugal, which permit the membership to scout after which nurture the very best expertise from throughout the nation.

Atlético Madrid paid a club record $130M to buy João Félix from Benfica.

Within the squad for the semifinals and finals, Magalhães says there have been gamers from all their coaching facilities – within the north, south and middle of Portugal – a feat he’s extremely pleased with as it’s proof the undertaking Benfica entrusted him with is bearing fruit.

However even when they hadn’t gained the trophy final season, Magalhães would nonetheless have seen the workforce’s participation as a hit. Within the eight seasons because the Youth League’s inception – the 2020-21 season was canceled as a result of Covid pandemic – Benfica has reached 4 finals, a file solely two-time winner Chelsea has been capable of match.

“Greater than profitable the trophy, it’s the regularity,” Magalhães says. “If we had been a workforce that goes as soon as in 5 years to a semifinal or to a last, okay, it’s good for us. However a workforce [with Benfica’s record] implies that actually we now have a gaggle of gamers which might be capable of compete on the highest stage as compared with different groups in Europe.

“For us, the regularity is an indication that our work goes effectively.”

With Benfica unable to rival Europe’s wealthiest golf equipment – like Manchester City, Actual Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain – for participant transfers, Magalhães is aware of the primary workforce’s finest path to success is thru nurturing its personal world-class expertise.

António Silva is likely one of the present crop of rising stars in Benfica’s academy and was within the workforce for final season’s victorious UEFA Youth League marketing campaign. The 18-year-old central defender joined Benfica in 2014 and, given his place, naturally hopes to emulate Dias’ success.

Dias joined Manchester Metropolis from Benfica for round $75 million in 2020 and instantly cemented his place among the many finest defenders within the Premier League. In his two seasons at Metropolis, the 25-year-old has performed a vital function in profitable two Premier League titles and reaching the 2021 Champions League last.

Silva even wears the No. 66 shirt that Dias wore whereas he was on the membership.

António Silva is hoping to follow in Rúben Dias' footsteps.

“I look as much as Rúben loads,” he tells CNN Sport. “He began taking part in right here and have a look at all of the issues that he achieved at Manchester Metropolis and likewise within the workforce at Benfica. He’s an individual to look as much as and it’s essential for me to have my references to succeed in the highest.

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“Portuguese golf equipment work loads with the youth ages, so it’s essential for us to have the form of gamers that attain the highest and play in all of the leagues, within the high leagues just like the Premier League and La Liga, like Nuno [Mendes] being in PSG.

“For us, you will need to have these form of gamers, like idols for us to attempt to additionally full this course of and, whether it is attainable, do it higher than them.”

Silva describes himself as a contemporary middle again, snug with the ball at his ft and able to taking part in lengthy balls or passing alone the ground. In addition to Dias, Silva attracts his inspiration from Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk and Actual Madrid’s Antonio Rüdiger.

Nonetheless, Silva is aware of not one of the gamers’ private and workforce success can be attainable with out the dedication of the tons of of employees that work in Benfica’s bases across the nation.

“Benfica has lots of people who work for us, that give every part to us and that is an important factor,” he explains. “Benfica Campus is essential, however the individuals who work with us? They’re extra essential.”



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