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Ronaldo Camara: Things to know about Portugal's next wonderkid

Max Cooper
Jan 24, 2021, 4:30 PM GMT
Ronaldo Camara is the next big thing to come out of Portugal
Ronaldo Camara is the next big thing to come out of Portugal | Gualter Fatia/Getty Images

We were blessed to witness the career of Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima, and we're enjoying the final years of the legendary Cristiano. But as one Ronaldo approaches the twilight of his career, another is waiting to burst onto the scene.

18-year-old Ronaldo Camara has lit up the UEFA Youth League for Benfica and his stunning performances have caught the attention of Europe's elite. Their curiosity has spiked, however, with reports emerging that they could snap up the teenage wonderkid for next to nothing.

Ronaldo recognises Ronaldo
Ronaldo recognises Ronaldo | AFP Contributor/Getty Images

According to The Mail, a number of Premier League clubs, including Manchester City, have been put on red alert after news broke that Camara has fallen out with Benfica and is refusing to sign a new contract.

It was originally believed that his deal ran until the summer of 2022, but it's now thought that it actually expires in only six months time. This means the Portuguese starlet could potentially depart for nothing in the summer, leaving Benfica with the possibility of earning a mere training compensation fee for his years of progress in their academy.

But who is Camara, and what is there to know about him?

1. Young Champion

Every footballer craves success, but it's crucial to make winning a habit and hunt that glory from a young age. Camara stood out as a level above his peers from the very start, scooping the Player of the Tournament awards in a series of competitions with Benfica.

He tasted cup glory twice at Under-15 level with the Eagles and has also competed in the prestigious AL KASS Tournament, despite being two years younger than the other players in his division.

2. Tactically Flexible

Some starlets burst onto the scene and promise to become the next big thing, but they often fade and disappear when their unpredictability wears off.

Luckily, Camara should face no such problems in adapting his game.

The youngster can play as an attacking midfielder or occupy either flank and he has already featured in a variety of different formations, playing behind the striker or as a more advanced central midfielder of a three...something a side like Liverpool could very much use.

3. Creator & Scorer

So, what is his game all about? Well, Camara is a goalscorer and a provider for his teammates. His strengths lie in his vision, technical gifts and tactical maturity. The midfielder's finishing is also flawless, and his eight goals in 24 appearances during his first year at Benfica speak volumes of his confidence.

His awareness and reading of the game make him an extremely exciting prospect for onlookers, too. He is sensible yet adventurous in his passing, and is blessed with the knowhow to slow the game down or speed up attacks when his team needs that injection of life.

He's got everything he needs to be a consistent success in the final third of the pitch - at any level.

4. He's Strong With Either Foot

To accompany his endless list of impressive traits and attributes, he is also adept and comfortable with the ball at both feet. As proven in the video above, he is not lacking in technique with his weaker left peg, and this makes it even trickier to predict his next move.

It's no swinger, that's for sure. This delicate chip with his left foot is even more extraordinary, given that he picks up the ball with his right foot, dribbles on his stronger side and then stuns everyone by selecting his left foot to wedge a shot over a stranded goalkeeper.

The helpless shot-stopper had the best seat in the house for that one.

5. Capped at Under-17 Level at Only 14

Remember when your mate first brought his little brother to come and have a kick-about with you in the park, and you went easy on him until he started absolutely humiliating you in front of your pals?

That's probably how the Portugal Under-17s felt when Camara turned up to training at the tender age of 14. His boost up the age levels was a clear sign of the faith placed in his talents from the off, and the confidence that he could mix it with players much more physically developed than himself.

The teenager was also playing in the UEFA Youth League aged only 15. Ahead of his times.