Ivan-Cavaleiro

The early season performances of Benfica’s Ivan Cavaleiro have begun to draw the attention of many people.

The Portuguese winger scored a hat-trick against Academico Viseu this past weekend in the second division where the club’s B squad plays. He is currently the league’s leading scorer with seven goals in ten matches.

The 19-year old, who is currently on international duty with Portugal’s U-21 squad has reportedly been scouted by Manchester United. This sort of attention is overwhelming for any player, let alone a youngster who is still waiting to play his first competitive match with the senior squad.

But Cavaleiro insists that he is focused on developing his game and eventually hopes to play first-team football with Benfica before moving on.

“My job is to earn an opportunity for the first team and this depends on the coach,” Cavaleiro told Portuguese radio station Antena 1. “There are very good forwards at Benfica and it is not easy to get into the first team.”

“For me it’s a huge honour to represent Benfica because it’s the club of my heart. I want to continue here and succeed in the first team.”

The young winger scored 12 goals in 38 matches for Benfica B last season, playing against professionals in Portugal’s second division. Standing at a modest 1,75m, Cavaleiro is most comfortable on the right side but has also seen action on the left and as a centre-forward.

He has also regularly played against players a few years older than him at the international level and done very well. Benfica’s senior side is currently loaded with more experienced wingers, making it difficult for Cavaleiro to take the next step in his career.

Cavaleiro’s former manager at Benfica B Norton de Matos believes that he already has the quality to play with the senior squad.

“Benfica have a strategy to support the growth of players like Ivan Cavaleiro. He has what it takes to get to the main squad. It would be an excellent reward for the great start to the season he is having,” Matos told Antena 1.

“If integrated with the players that Benfica currently have, and properly supported, Ivan has the quality to be a great success.”

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