After years of hype, Gonçalo Guedes is finally starting for Benfica, he’s been effective since Rui Vitória started using him as a striker instead of a winger. He’s a rough gem, but Vitória is finally using him properly. The manager is an absolute wizard at getting the best out of young players, and Guedes is more confident than ever. He’s not a talented ball-carrier like Gelson Martins or Rafa Silva, in fact, he has a poor first touch. Guedes still struggles in decision-making, unsure whether to play the through ball or continue his dribble, but he’s enjoyed a brilliant first half of the 2016-17 season. He’s not an effervescent dribbler, he’s a striker who crashes in on space with efficiency: after nearly 3 minutes, he announced his cameo against Napoli in style with a goal in the September fixture. Before the match, Maurizio Sarri said in a press conference of Benfica, “Up front they are dangerous. Guedes has really impressed me.” While he’s the long-term successor to Jonas, Guedes is only 19, and there’s a reason Europe’s top clubs are still swooping for him. I would like to see the center forward line up with Franco Cervi more, as Benfica look to cruise to another Liga Sagres title. This Aguilucho has a claim for a spot in the European champions’ squad, and his extended run in the team has done wonders for his confidence. Apt in going for thunderbolts and golazos, he has a cannon of a right foot, and with four Benfica strikers injured this season, Guedes has taken advantage, lifting them to the top of the table. We’ve seen position changes transform the likes of Bastian Schweinsteiger and Steven Gerrard, and Guedes is currently a new man in his central position, proving why there has always been so much hype over his name.
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