Portugal head coach Fernando Santos boldly dropped Cristiano Ronaldo for his side’s round of 16 clash with Switzerland at the 2022 World Cup Tuesday. Instead, he turned to the 21-year-old Benfica forward Goncalo Ramos. And Ramos rewarded his show of faith in quite an emphatic fashion.

A New Star On The Horizon

The youngster fired home a formidable shot from a tight angle just 17 minutes into Portugal’s match, handing his side the lead. Ramos then doubled his tally a few moments after the half-time break, finishing Diogo Dalot’s low cross at the near post. A few minutes after, he dinked a shot beyond Yann Sommer to score his third and Portugal’s fifth, becoming the first player at the Qatar World Cup to score a hat-trick.

Who is Goncalo Ramos?

After selling Darwin Nunez to Liverpool for €80million in the summer, Benfica found his replacement from within. Ramos joined the club’s Seixal academy when he was 13. The son of a former Farense player, Marco Ramos, he said: “Although I never got to see him play, I caught the football bug from him.”

Top scorer at the under-19 Euros in 2019, a tournament in which Portugal finished runners-up, it was only a matter of time before Ramos broke into the first team. In July 2020, he came on in the 85th minute against Desportivo Aves and wasted no time. The kid from Olhao scored twice, becoming the first Benfica player to bag a brace on his debut since former Wales international Mark Pembridge in 1998.

Likened to Thomas Muller for his positional intelligence, the imposing Ramos said:

I score goals but what I need to work on is my repertoire. I haven’t always played as a striker.

Ramos

Ramos scored for four different Benfica teams in one season (the juniors, the under-23s, the B team and the first team) but the Muller parallels derive from his past playing off a centre-forward.

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He is under contract at Benfica until 2025 and there’s a buy-out clause worth €120m included in his contract. However, after this performance, it is very likely that his value will continue to increase and there is undoubtedly more to come from Portugal’s new star. 

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