The renowned Spanish sports newspaper "Marca" went to discover the Benfica Campus, in Seixal, to get to know the facilities and those responsible for the development of João Félix, who is in Lisbon to play the Champions League Final 8 for Atlético de Madrid.
João Félix was one of the stones polished at Benfica Campus. He arrived at the club at the age of 15 to play for Benfica U-17 and since then he' s never stopped evolving. He made his debut with the first team in 2018/19 and he was signed by Atlético de Madrid for 126 million euros.
Now that the forward is back at Benfica Campus, temporary home of Atlético de Madrid in this Champions League Final 8, the sports newspaper "Marca" wanted to know "The Gold Factory" where names like João Félix, Bernardo Silva, João Cancelo, Ederson, Gonçalo Guedes, Renato Sanches, Nélson Semedo ou André Gomes, among others, came out.
Pedro Marques, the technical director of Benfica Campus, was the host and explained to "Marca" which is the goal of the Club's Youth Development. "Our idea is to develop talent and provide the best conditions for players to realize their dream of becoming football players", claimed Pedro Marques.
"We have a program for them to grow very based on individuality, each player has his 'background', his talent and his development, and for that we have a multidisciplinary team that takes care of everything. The link between sport and social and personal aspects is what allows the player to develop as a whole.", detailed Pedro Marques.
Pedro Valido, the assistant coach of Benfica B and U-20 World Champion in 1989, was one of the important pieces in João Félix's "construction" and spared him no praise: "He's easy to talk about. Besides having great talent, he was very nice, sociable, and very polite. It was very easy to have a coach-player relationship. I miss the great players I've had, but João is the one who impressed me the most because I saw him doing genius things from the start. He does magic on the pitch. You don't have to explain a lot of things to that kind of player, they are born with a different gift. Like Maradona, Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo... He will be one of the best in the world. It was a privilege to train him."
Text: Márcia Dores
Photos: SL Benfica