Renato Veiga: The Portuguese Jack-of-all-trades Shining at Basel

Club: FC Basel
Nationality: Portugal
Position(s): DM, CM, LB, CB,
Preferred Foot: Left
Height: 6’3”/190cm
Age: 20
Strengths: athleticism, physicality, aerial duels, long passing, recoveries, tackling, vision, shooting
Areas for Development: decision making, consistency


Whilst Sporting have solidified their reputation as one of the top talent generators in Europe, they’ve equally allowed a lot of promising young stars to slip through the cracks. From Ricardo Pereira to Santiago Arias to Matheus Pereira to Merih Demiral, we’ve seen quite a few players excel after departing the Estádio José Alvalade, and the latest to do so is Renato Veiga.



The son of former Cape Verde international Nélson Veiga, he began his career at Sporting’s academy before heading to Real S.C. in 2013, where he would spend six years before returning to the Portuguese giants. He would make his way up the youth ranks for Sporting and Portugal, and today, he is the captain of Portugal’s U-20 team. However, unlike most of his international teammates, Veiga has went abroad for his development and reaped the rewards.


He departed Lisbon for the first time in his career in January 2023 on a one-year loan, racking up 13 Bundesliga appearances for Augsburg, only for the German side to cut his loan short in August. Two weeks later, Veiga joined Basel on a four-year contract, with the Swiss Super League side paying a fee of €4.6 million whilst Sporting retained a 10% sell-on clause.


Veiga didn’t take long to make an impact, with Timo Schultz including him in the starting line-up for his league debut. Veiga scored a free kick as Basel picked up a 2-2 draw against Zürich at the St. Jakob-Park, prompting the Swiss Super League to name him as the Player of the Week. He’s been able to kick on and lock down a starting spot for Basel, mainly playing as a defensive midfielder whilst also filling in at center back as well as more advanced midfield roles.


The jack-of-all-trades is skilled at long passing, averaging 12.39 long pass attempts per 90 which places him in the top 3% of midfielders in Europe, whilst he successfully completes 4.93 of those (top 8%). Whilst that 39.8% success rate doesn’t exactly catch the eye, it’s clear that he’s skilled at picking up the ball from deep areas and switching play to the flanks, a deep-lying playmaker who’s comfortable at spreading the ball around the pitch.


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Veiga is not only a jack-of-all-trades, but an aerial duel specialist as well. At 6’3″, he can dominate his opponent and make himself a nuisance when it comes to challenging for set-pieces, long balls or goal kicks. He is winning 1.90 aerial duels per 90, putting him in the top 10%. Don’t let his imposing physique fool you though: Veiga is a nifty technician who can maneuver his way out of pressure.


Whilst he isn’t the tidiest on the ball, Veiga is a powerful dribbler who is capable of barging his way through an opposing midfield and progressing the ball into advanced areas. He is constantly looking to take on his man, as evidenced by various statistical metrics. He attempts 2.11 take-ons per 90 (70th percentile), completing 1.41 per 90 (87th) which rounds out to a success rate of 66.7% (97th)


Veiga is constantly putting in a shift and working hard out of possession in order to win the ball back. The Portuguese youth international utilizes his long strides and noticeable speed to close down attackers, putting his long legs to use by making clean tackles. He is averaging 8.45 ball recoveries per 90, putting him in the top 1%, and it’s no surprise that this defensive nous has seen him become an indispensable figure in Basel’s midfield.


He’s a physically imposing athlete who has the pace and stamina to not only protect his defense, but also support his attacking teammates, and his vision and passing accuracy enables him to pull the strings from deep and pick out teammates with inch-perfect long balls. Whilst it didn’t quite work for him at Augsburg, his versatility certainly was put on display with the youngster playing at left back, center back, defensive midfielder and central midfielder.


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Veiga is capable of operating as the left-sided center back in a back three thanks to his ability to progress play via his ball-carrying and passing, but he’d also able to fit in as a left back in multiple roles. Whether as an overlapping left back who supporters the attack and whips in dangerous crosses, or as a defensive left back who will shift into the backline as a third center back, or as an inverted left back who can drift inside and pick out passes between the lines, he’s more than capable of following in the footsteps of his father and becoming a seasoned defender.


Moreover, Veiga could work well as a deep-lying playmaker in a double pivot, where he would be paired with a natural defensive midfielder and thus have the freedom to carry the ball forward and utilize his powerful running skills. He could even be deployed in a #8 role that gives him far more creative license and attacking freedom, where he could burst into the opposing box with regularity.


At 20 years of age, Veiga has already developed a well-rounded skill set, combining a strong passing ability with impressive ball striking, powerful running and aerial dominance. It’s traits like these that have seen him make his mark for Portugal at the U-19, U-20, and U-21 level, and they could very well see him earn a big-money move out of Basel in the coming years, with the player’s contract set to expire in 2027.


Veiga wasn’t able to make his debut for Sporting’s first team, having been faced with tough competition from the likes of Hidemasa Morita, João Palhinha, Matheus Nunes, and Manuel Ugarte. With the Leões signing Morten Hjulmand from Lecce to replace Ugarte, the writing was on the wall and Veiga elected to depart his boyhood club on a permanent transfer as opposed to going out on loan again.



It has been nothing short of a catastrophic season for Basel. They lost on penalties to FC Lugano in the quarterfinals in the Swiss Cup, they lost to Kazakh side Tobol in the second round of the UEFA Europa Conference League qualifiers, and their form has been even worse in the league. Fabio Celestini took charge on October 31, becoming their third manager of the campaign and their fifth since the start of 2022/23, but the ex Switzerland midfielder has been unable to turn the tide thus far.


With three matches remaining, Basel currently sit 10th in the table, three points above 11th-placed Grasshoppers and 10 points above 12th-placed Stade Lausanne Ouchy. After 33 matches, the league splits into two groups of six teams: the championship group and relegation group, with the teams playing every other side in their group once. Whilst the last-placed side automatically goes down, the the relegation play-off will see the 11th-placed team take on the second-placed team of the Swiss Challenge League across two legs.


After a summer that saw them lose various key players including Andy Diouf (Lens), Zeki Amdouni (Burnley), Wouter Burger (Stoke City), Riccardo Calafiori and Dan Ndoye (Bologna), Basel’s uninterrupted three-decade spell in Switzerland’s top-flight is in grave danger of coming to an end. It is a daunting challenge for Celestini, and he’ll be tasked with staving off the drop without Renato Veiga, who will miss the next few weeks with a severe ankle sprain.


By: Ben Mattinson / @Ben_Mattinson_

Featured Image: @GabFoligno / DeFodi Images