Luisão, the former captain of Benfica, and Pedro Marques, the Club's technical director of youth football, were present on Tuesday, the second day of the Web Summit 2019, in Lisbon, in a panel dedicated to Benfica Campus.
The former centre-back of the Reds emphasized the quality of Benfica's academy teams, both at a sporting and human level.
“Over the time I was at Benfica as a player, there were young people with very different characteristics. What many had in common were dedication and professionalism. I always explained to the players what it meant to play for Benfica, taught them to respect the Club and to respect the older players. I've played with a lot of young people from the Campus and I've always seen their desire to go far”, claimed Luisão.
“Benfica has been carrying out very strong work in youth development. The Club has excellent working conditions, several pitches, gymnasiums, high-quality infrastructure and all the staff that creates conditions for the players to succeed. In addition to the working conditions, there is a family environment. There not only talent is produced, but also excellent human beings”, he stressed.
Luisão also spoke of Benfica's sporting investment, projecting the future: "I believe that Benfica will continue to be successful in Portugal. That's what people expect. We must continue fighting for the title and qualify for the Champions League, because that's important, not only sporty but also financially. The Campus of Benfica is a crucial part of our success. We work to be competitive in Europe. We know that it’s not easy for us to be successful in the Champions League, but I believe that we can reach the eighth-finals or the quarter-finals. Benfica has a great structure, a great strategy and people must continue to believe in us.”
“The Campus is the base of the first team”
Also present at the conference, Benfica’s technical director of youth football, Pedro Marques, talked about how the Club works scouting and the management of players' potential.
“I don't know if we are the best training center in the world, but I know that we compete with the best, so we've built a scouting network that identifies that potential. We have an individualized work methodology for each player, we try to frame them in the appropriate competitive level and, finally, ensure that there is the opportunity and the right moment to make their debut for the first team”, told Pedro Marques.
“The Campus at Seixal is the base of the first team. We must find a balance between the financial benefit and the sporting benefit we get from the players we develop, but the challenge we currently have is to keep the players longer to get greater sporting benefits from it. That’s what the supporters want”, emphasized Benfica’s technical director of youth football.
Text: Márcia Dores
Pics: Official Website of the Web Summit