Despite their loss to the impressive Morocco side in the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Portugal demonstrated that they have one of the best young squads. They also have the added experience of players such as Bernardo Silva and Bruno Fernandes. On the other hand, players such as PSG’s Vitinha, Benfica’s Antonio Silva, Joao Felix, Rafael Leao, and Ruben Neves will only hit their peak at the next World Cup. In addition, we could have new stars emerging, one of which could be Sporting CP’s, Rodrigo Ribeiro.
The 17-year-old is one of the top young talents to come out of Sporting’s academy, which developed stars such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Luis Figo, Paulo Futre, Joao Moutinho, Nani and many more. Ribeiro has caught the eyes of everyone in the Portugal football set-up with his diverse range of skills. Having already made his debut for the senior side, it is only a matter of time before he becomes a regular feature of the team.
So, who is Rodrigo Ribeiro, and how good is he?
How good is Rodrigo Ribeiro?
Born in Viana do Castelo, Norte region, in northern Portugal, Ribeiro started his football journey at the local club Viana do Castelo, aged just nine. Ribeiro spent two years at the club before he left to join Alfenense, a club in Alfena, 78 kilometres from Viana do Castelo. However, he would spend only one year here before moving to Sporting, his current club.
It is at Sporting where he started to make waves in the youth sides. In fact, he was so impressive that he was selected for Portugal’s under-16 and scored his first goal in his third start in a 4-3 defeat against Turkey.
At the same time, he was making waves in his club’s youth system. A consistent run of two years was rewarded with a call-up to Sporting’s under-23 side, where he played four games, scoring two goals. In addition, he also played six games in the UEFA Youth League, scoring one goal.
This prompted senior team manager Ruben Amorim to add him to the squad, where he made his debut on the biggest stage, the Champions League against Manchester City.
A month later came his League debut against Tondela. Ribeiro would make three more appearances before the end of the season.