Last Sunday, scouts from a number of major clubs – including the Red Devils – attended Benfica’s 4-0 win over Feirense to take a closer look at the Portuguese outfit’s young talent. Benfica have a particularly strong record when it comes to developing players destined for more illustrious top flights, with David Luiz, Nicolas Gaitan, Nemanja Matic, Nolito and Renato Sanches some of their more recent products.
Originally, it was claimed United had been running the rule over left-back Alex Grimaldo, who netted a curling free kick in stoppage time. But the Portuguese press took a slightly different angle, with Record reporting on the Red Devils’ interest in Guedes – albeit citing the British media, as discussed by Sport Witness.
And Mirror Football have now run with the story, claiming the Red Devils were in attendance on Sunday to ‘keep tabs’ on the 19-year-old, while dubbing him ‘the new Cristiano Ronaldo’ – a moniker that’s consistently accompanied Guedes in transfer rumour columns over the last year or so.
Another curious detail – Guedes’ agent is Jose Mourinho’s old pal Jorge Mendes, who also represents goalkeeper David de Gea.
High praise indeed for a teenager who’s embarking upon his first full campaign at first-team level. But Guedes is certainly of the winger-forward mould that Ronaldo’s made a career out of and he’s clearly highly-rated within the Portugal set-up – he’s featured for every age group between the U16s and U23s and has already picked up three caps for the senior side.
But more than similarity in style or ability, it’s the fact Guedes has emerged as Portuguese football’s most exciting young attacking talent that’s warranted comparisons with Ronaldo – the standard bearer of his generation, if not the history of the Portugal national team.
The youngster’s scoring record isn’t exactly astounding (and miles away from Ronaldo territory) but it’s telling that two of his five Benfica goals have come against heavyweight European opponents in the form of Atletico Madrid and Napoli. That suggests he’s got the right temperament to produce the goods on the big occasion.
Here’s a look at Guedes in action: