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Joao Neves: Why are Bruno Fernandes and Bernardo Silva Trying to Convince Him?

The Allure of João Neves: A Tale of Rising Talent in Football

In the world of football, the name João Neves is gaining prominence, attracting the interest of renowned players such as Bruno Fernandes and Bernardo Silva. This piece delves into the multifaceted narrative surrounding the emerging talent, exploring the reasons behind the desire of these top players to see him as a teammate.

Joao Neves Image via GOAL Joao Neves: Why are Bruno Fernandes and Bernardo Silva Trying to Convince Him?
Joao Neves, Image via GOAL

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Benfica’s Prolific Academy

Benfica’s academy stands as a prolific breeding ground for exceptional footballers, a legacy spanning decades. João Neves, a product of this revered institution, has marked his presence by breaking into the first team at the tender age of 18. As a vital source of income for Benfica, the academy consistently produces players who often seek their peak in Europe’s wealthier leagues.

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The Tug-of-War: Manchester United vs. Manchester City

The unfolding narrative paints a picture of a potential tug-of-war between Manchester United and Manchester City for the signature of João Neves. Both Bruno Fernandes and Bernardo Silva have publicly expressed their interest in playing alongside the young talent, adding an intriguing layer to the story.

Insight into João Neves’ Prowess

João Félix, another luminary from Benfica’s academy, provides a unique perspective on Neves. Describing him as playing “like he’s 30,” Félix offers insights into Neves’ on-pitch maturity. Having observed Neves since his early teenage years, Félix highlights the midfielder’s ability to dominate duels, be it in the air or on the ground.

Positions Minutes Joao Neves Played for Benfica in 2023 24 Image via Opta Analyst Joao Neves: Why are Bruno Fernandes and Bernardo Silva Trying to Convince Him?
Positions & Minutes Joao Neves Played for Benfica in 2023-24, Image via Opta Analyst

The Million-Euro Question

However, the journey towards acquiring João Neves is not without its challenges. A substantial €137 million (£120m) release clause looms, potentially influencing the decisions of Manchester United and Manchester City. The financial aspect adds a layer of complexity to the pursuit of this promising young talent.

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Beyond the Duel: João Neves’ Striking Abilities

While Félix’s appraisal focuses on Neves’ physical prowess, there is more to this rising star. One of his most striking abilities lies in his confidence and comfort on the ball. This less-explored facet of Neves’ game adds an intriguing dimension to the overall profile of the young midfielder.

Unleashing from the Back

Despite being nominally labeled as a defensive midfielder, João Neves defies expectations by showcasing enormous self-belief in carrying the ball out from the back. His adept close control and agility become invaluable assets for Benfica’s strategic attempts to beat the press, making him a multifaceted talent on the field.

Joao Neves Progressive Carries for Benfica in 2023 24 Image via Opta Analyst Joao Neves: Why are Bruno Fernandes and Bernardo Silva Trying to Convince Him?
Joao Neves Progressive Carries for Benfica in 2023-24, Image via Opta Analyst

Dazzling Derby Moment

In a recent and dramatic 2-1 victory over Sporting CP, João Neves seized the spotlight with a remarkable 94th-minute equalizer. This standout instance exemplifies his exceptional dribbling skills, where he received the ball as the deepest defender, navigated between two attackers almost effortlessly, and scored. This moment not only underscored his technical prowess but also belied the assuredness of a player far more experienced than his age would suggest.

Moment from the Derby against Sporting Image via Opta Analyst Joao Neves: Why are Bruno Fernandes and Bernardo Silva Trying to Convince Him?
Moment from the Derby against Sporting, Image via Opta Analyst

Influence at Benfica

Despite his youth, João Neves holds a pivotal role at Benfica. His ability to dictate the tempo of the game is evident through his remarkable average of 103.2 touches per 90 minutes, the highest in the Primeira Liga for players with a minimum of 400 minutes played this season. This level of influence reflects the trust placed in him by head coach Roger Schmidt.

Versatility in Playmaking

João Neves goes beyond being a mere ball carrier; he excels in various aspects of playmaking. On a per-90-minutes basis, he ranks in the top three for total passes (78.2), successful passes (70.9), and successful passes in the opposition’s half (41.2). This versatility in his playmaking role highlights the depth of his contributions to the team.

Balancing Act

Contrary to his tidy possession play and playmaking skills, João Neves is not averse to doing the dirty work. Portugal coach Roberto Martínez lauds his tactical understanding and positional awareness, explaining his top-three rankings for most successful tackles (2.4) and duels won (9.6) per 90 minutes in the Portuguese top flight this season. This ability adds a layer of feistiness to his overall effectiveness on the field, a quality also acknowledged by João Félix.

Joao Neves Devensive Actions for Benfica in 2023 24 Image via Opta Analyst Joao Neves: Why are Bruno Fernandes and Bernardo Silva Trying to Convince Him?
Joao Neves Defensive Actions for Benfica in 2023-24, Image via Opta Analyst

The “Feisty” Factor

Described as “feisty” by João Félix, João Neves may not possess a towering physical presence, but his impact is felt both with and without the ball. His shrewd shielding ability becomes a notable aid in various aspects of play, contributing to the team’s defensive resilience.

Cautionary Optimism

Amidst the promising signs of João Neves’ potential, a note of caution is warranted. Despite his early successes, it’s crucial to recognize his relative inexperience. He made his first Primeira Liga start only in April of this year, gradually establishing himself as the replacement for Enzo Fernández. The hope is that both Neves and Benfica can resist the allure of Premier League offers, providing a stable and reliable environment for the continued development of this promising young player.

A Glimpse into the Future

Portugal coach Roberto Martínez holds a lofty vision for João Neves, predicting a global impact and foreseeing him as an influential figure in European football for the next decade. As speculation regarding his future intensifies, the footballing world awaits to see if João Neves will follow a trajectory that ensures sustained growth, success, and a lasting legacy.

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