Image from sports.terra.com
As the band of Portuguese youngsters continue to march through the 2013 U-20 World Cup in Turkey, representing their country with elegance and flair, there has been one player in particular who catches the eye in the red and green of the Selecção.
The team has progressed through the group stages, defeating Cuba and Nigeria and playing out a 2-2 draw with South Korea to come out as leaders of group B. All the while, Portuguese youngster Bruma has been the key man behind his country’s success.
The Guinea-Bissau born youngster (who moved to Portugal as a child) is the top scorer of the competition; yet as magnificent as the five-goal Bruma has been (enough so to already have fans calling for his inclusion to the 2014 World Cup, should Portugal qualify,) Portuguese fans would be forgiven for hoping that they were finally producing a striker as opposed to their never-ending assembly line of pacey, tricky wingers.
Of course, this is no slight on Bruma himself – the winger has been outstanding, tearing defenses to shreds with his speed and dribbling ability. He has been, and should Portugal draw a favorable opponent in the next round, will continue to be one of the standout players of the tournament.
But, here’s the kicker; the mere existence of the Sporting Clube de Portugal youth product is enough to reaffirm the fact that for whatever reason, Portugal just can’t produce a striker.
Maybe the nation, through the magnificent Eusebio back in the 60s and 70s, peaked too early in the striker department, with all other strikers afraid to step out of the shadow of the legendary Black Panther.
Not that a star player or two has stopped the youth of the country from wanting to be wingers though; Luis Figo, Nani, Quaresma, Ronaldo, Varela – Portugal, and Sporting CP specifically, have not stopped cranking out exceptionally talented wingers.
Perhaps it’s a never-ending cycle in which Portugal’s world class wingers inspire the youth to follow in their footsteps, forever leaving the country trying to emulate Figo and Ronaldo, without ever producing a true world class striker.
But the real victim here could be Bruma – his meteoric rise has seen him make his senior debut and score his first senior goal for Sporting CP this season – as it is such a shame that Portugal’s most exciting prospect in years (possibly since Ronaldo himself, fingers crossed) is the one thing that Portugal need least of all right now – another bloody winger.