There’s no questioning Benfica’s ascendance to the Portuguese throne of fortified wine and caldo verde. After winning just two league titles between 1994-2010, Benfica’s won each of the last three Portuguese domestic titles, and they’re currently in pole position to win a fourth. After a long spell of dominance, Porto’s reign is clearly skewered.
Benfica’s done it by marrying shrewd signings from South America with a development pipeline that’s become arguably the best in Europe. Since 2010, Benfica have somehow pocketed more than $300 million on the sales of just 13 players. Renato Sanches’ $35 million blockbuster to Bayern Munich in 2016 is the latest biggie, but Nemanja Matic, David Luiz, Angel di Maria and Jan Oblak are also on that list. As far as talent identification goes, I’d venture to say Benfica is about as good as anyone on the planet at the moment.
If you’re looking for the next in the pipeline, you’re about to get another chance to see them. Because this just happened on Friday.