OLHANENSE vs BRAGA - TACA DE PORTUGAL

Braga midfielder Rafa Silva has been one of Portugal’s top revelations so far this season. The 20-year-old has impressed with his skill, vision and strong dribbling ability.

He has also shown a keen eye for goal. He has scored for Braga in all three club competitions. And he also scored for Portugal’s U-21 squad in a October 15th match against Azerbaijan.

Under the tutelage of veteran manager Jesualdo Ferreira, Silva has demonstrated a unique skill level that only elite players possess. He is nominally an attacking midfielder but he has also played on the wing at times this season.

Born Rafael Ferreira Silva in Forte da Casa, near Vila Franca de Xira, he is most often referred to as Rafa. The talented midfielder certainly took the difficult route to the top division of Portuguese football. He played for local clubs Atlético Povoense and Alverca at the youth level, before signing with second division club Feirense.

Rafa would impress with Feirense scoring ten goals in 41 matches for the club in 2012-13. Suddenly, he was no longer the best kept secret in Portugal’s lower divisions. Despite reported interest from Sporting Lisbon, Rafa decided to stay in the north of Portugal and signed a five-year deal with Sporting Braga last summer.

Manager Jesualdo Ferreira used Rafa in the role of a late substitute at the beginning of the season but has since earned a place in the starting XI.

Braga had a disappointing start to the campaign but have since seen their results improve. Rafa has been a major part of Braga’s resurgence and is expected to be an impact player for the club going forward.

After Rafa’s two-goal performance against Olhanense in a Portuguese Cup match in November, Ferreira praised his young star’s talent but added that he still needed time to mature as a player.

“Rafa? He came out of the second division and brought a lot of excitement, but some people forget that he is not a true footballer yet. He is still trying to get there,” Ferreira told Maisfutebol.

“I have trained plenty of ‘Rafas’ during my career. A 20-year-old without much experience at this level needs to learn how to best use his individual abilities for the collective good. He could only be a ‘top’ player when he learns how to play as part of a squad.”

Related Posts:

TRANSFER WINDOW: Rafa Signs Five-Year Deal With Braga

FEATURE: The Top Breakthrough Performers So Far This Season

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