The official website for European football

UEFA.com's weekly wonderkid: Rúben Neves

Published: Saturday 2 May 2015, 16.30CET
An FC Porto fan who is a regular in the Dragons midfield aged just 18, Rúben Neves has gone from youth-team player to the new João Moutinho in less than 12 months.
UEFA.com's weekly wonderkid: Rúben Neves
Rúben Neves is fast becoming a key figure for Porto ©Getty Images
Published: Saturday 2 May 2015, 16.30CET

UEFA.com's weekly wonderkid: Rúben Neves

An FC Porto fan who is a regular in the Dragons midfield aged just 18, Rúben Neves has gone from youth-team player to the new João Moutinho in less than 12 months.

This week we look at an 18-year-old who was a UEFA Champions League regular this season and already has his sights set on senior football for Portugal.

Name: Rúben Neves
Club: FC Porto
Debut: 15 August 2014 v CS Marítimo (Portuguese Liga)
Position: midfielder
Nationality: Portuguese
Date of birth: 13/03/1997
Preferred foot: right
Height: 183cm

They say …
"When he was playing at Under-16 and U17 levels, he was already showing the attitude of a professional. We knew right from the start he was not going to get lost on the way to the top. His success does not surprise anyone who knows him and has worked with him. He is a leader on and off the field and has the profile of a true Porto player."
José Guilherme, Porto U17s coach

"A few months ago he was not even in the U19 team. He is the breakthrough of the season and I am very happy about that, not only because I know how much he worked to get here but also because he is a true Porto supporter who has this club in his heart."
Jorge Nuno Pinto da Costa, Porto president

"He is a young boy with plenty of attributes. I already knew him from the Portuguese U17 team. He has so much quality and that compensates for his lack of experience. Being young is a condition, not a sin."
Julen Lopetegui, Porto coach

Portugal eliminated at semi-final stage

Background ...
Rúben Neves rose through the club's youth ranks after joining aged eight and captained the U17s last term. He shone at last summer's UEFA European U17 Championship, featuring in all four Portugal games, and has subsequently jumped at the chance to fill the void left by Fernando's departure for Manchester City FC. He started Porto's first match of the season and has not looked back since.

Playing style …
The teenager shows a maturity beyond his years: he possesses accurate passing skills, great vision and an astute sense of positioning. Normally deployed as a defensive midfielder, he is not afraid to go forward and prompt attacks. He also has an eye for goal and a powerful right-footed shot.

Shades of …
Even though he usually operates a little deeper, Rúben Neves's style – a fine first touch, excellent distribution and a desire to press his opponents – resembles that of Portuguese international João Moutinho, now at AS Monaco FC. The fact Moutinho was leading Porto's midfield while Rúben Neves was developing as an academy player is probably no coincidence.

Eureka moment ...
He was already making waves with his performances in pre-season, but it was still a surprise for many when Rúben Neves started the first Liga game of the campaign. It took the No36 just 11 minutes to repay Lopetegui's faith, however, finding the net with a low angled strike to become Porto's youngest-ever league goalscorer. He received a standing ovation when replaced in the second half, and five days later became the youngest Portuguese player to figure in the UEFA Champions League, breaking Cristiano Ronaldo's record no less.

U21 highlights: England v Portugal in 2002

Best-case scenario …
With Casemiro's loan spell at Porto soon to end, Rúben Neves should make Porto's defensive midfield slot his own next term. Should he do that, involvement in UEFA EURO 2016 is certainly not out of the question. Even before then he could catch the eye of Europe's leading lights when he represents Portugal at this summer's UEFA European U21 Championship.

He says …
"It has been a dream season for me with my club and now being called up to the Portugal U21s at such a young age. However, I know I have to keep working to go even further and achieve other goals. I want to earn a place in the senior Portugal team."

Last updated: 13/12/17 14.34CET

Related information

Player profiles
Member associations
Team profiles

https://www.uefa.com/memberassociations/news/newsid=2241045.html#uefa+coms+weekly+wonderkid+ruben+neves