"He has class, but he is still just a prototype," said Benfica boss Rui Vitória, striving to damp down the excitement surrounding 19-year-old 'new Neymar' Victor Andrade.
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After a season of progress with the reserves, Victor Andrade is now part of the Benfica senior setup and seemingly set to announce himself in the Portuguese Liga and UEFA Champions League this term.
Name: Victor Andrade
Club: SL Benfica
Debut: 16 August 2015 v Estoril Praia
Position: attacking midfielder
Date of birth: 30 September 1995
Preferred foot: right
Height: 171 cm
They say …
"Victor Andrade has way to go yet. He has class, but he is still just a prototype. With the team working properly, it will be much easier for young players to shine at Benfica. That's our goal."
Benfica coach Rui Vitória after Victor Andrade's debut
Victor Andrade is not a total stranger at Benfica, having first trained there, aged 11, in 2006/07. The rest of his development, though, was made in Brazil with Santos – a club famous for honing young talent. He was quickly labelled 'The New Neymar', and his skills persuaded Benfica to have a second look at him. After impressing with the reserves last term, he has already made his top-flight debut this time around.
Playing style …
Fast and attack-minded, with a strength that belies his slender physique, Victor Andrade has great skills – a result, perhaps, of playing futsal at a young age. Capable of leaving opponents floundering in his wake as he embarks on runs with the ball at his feet, he can be deployed across the field to support an out-and-out striker.
Shades of …
For all the comparisons with Neymar, Victor Andrade has shown little sign that he could be as clinical a finisher as the Barcelona man. More preceptive commentators have noted the parallels – physical and stylistic – with another marauding Brazilian who dazzled as a teenager, one-time Real Madrid CF and AC Milan forward Robinho.
Eureka moment …
With the scores level after an hour, Benfica coach Rui Vitória was running out of options against Estoril Praia in the Eagles first game of the season, and opted to introduce Anderson Talisca and Victor Andrade. The young Brazilian was quick to make his mark, combining especially well with Nélson Semedo down the right; his first-time cross set up Jonas to score his side's second in a 4-0 win.
Best-case scenario …
Benfica are focusing on youth this season, which – given the absences of Eduardo Salvio (injured) and Ola John (loaned) – should mean plenty of playing time for Victor Andrade.
He says …
"If you don't have joy, you will never be able to play football. I'm growing and learning a lot.
That learning season with the reserves was important – it made me grow up as a player and as a man."