Who is Goncalo Ramos – the man who replaced Cristiano Ronaldo in Portugal’s World Cup line-up?

Portugal head coach Fernando Santos made the bold decision to drop Cristiano Ronaldo for his side’s round of 16 tie against Switzerland at the 2022 World Cup on Tuesday.

Instead, he turned to 21-year-old Benfica striker Goncalo Ramos.

And Ramos rewarded his vote of confidence quite emphatically.

The youngster fired an impressive shot from a tight angle just 17 minutes into the Portugal game to put his side ahead.

A few moments after the half-time break, Ramos then doubled his tally, fHe finished off Diogo Dalot’s low cross at the near post.

And shortly afterwards he missed Yann Sommer with a shot for his third and Portugal’s fifth goal. He became the first player at the World Cup in Qatar to score a hat-trick.

Ramos scored twice against Switzerland (Picture: Getty Images)

His hat-trick means Ramos has scored more goals (3) for Portugal after 17 minutes in the knockout stages of the World Cup than Ronaldo in 514 minutes in the knockout stages of the competition (0), according to Opta. .

And overall he has already scored four goals in just four international matches.

But who is Ramos? And why are so many scouts impressed by the Benfica man? Here’s what you need to know.

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Who is he?

After Darwin Nunez was sold to Liverpool for €80m in the summer, Benfica found his replacement internally.

Ramos joined the club’s Seixal academy when he was 13. The son of a former Farense player, Marco Ramos, said: “Although I never got to see him play, I got the football fever from him.”

Top scorer at the 2019 European Under-19 Championship, a tournament where Portugal finished runners-up, it was only a matter of time before Ramos would be promoted to the first team. In July 2020, he came on as a substitute in the 85th minute against Desportivo Aves and wasted no time. The Olhao boy struck twice to become the first Benfica player to score twice on his debut since former Wales international Mark Pembridge in 1998.

The imposing Ramos, who is compared to Thomas Muller for his positional intelligence, said: “I score goals but what I have to work on is my repertoire. I haven’t always played as a striker.” Ramos scored for four different Benfica teams (the juniors, under-23s, senior team and first team) in one season, but the parallels with Muller come from his past, when he played against played a center forward.

His first call-up to the Portugal senior team came in the last round of Nations League games in September. Another Benfica academy graduate, teenage centre-back Antonio Silva, is in the same boat after Fernando Santos chose him over Jose Fonte at the last minute.

Santos couldn’t ignore her any longer. After 25 games, Benfica went into the World Cup break unbeaten. They qualified top of a Champions League group with Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus, with Ramos and Silva playing key roles in Roger Schmidt’s side.

Ramos has already scored 14 goals in all competitions this season and is the top scorer in the Portuguese Primeira Liga. He more than justified his inclusion in the squad at the expense of Goncalo Guedes.

What does the data say?

After a breakthrough in 2021-22, Ramos has moved up another level this season – scoring nine Primeira Liga goals for Benfica from 11 starts and currently leading the scorer chart in Portugal.

While he’s capable of interfering in his squad’s build-up (joining game volume, 75 out of 99), Ramos is a finisher – a man who comes to life in the box (receptions in the opposition’s box, 99 out of 99). ) and is dangerous at picking up dangerous areas to get the ball (xG from Ball Progress, 81 of 99).

His moves are smart and often find himself with a clear view of goal to quickly complete per attack touch (Shot Volume, 98 out of 99). In fact, among players with 10 or more shots in Primeira Liga this season, only teammate Antonio Silva has an average shot distance (7.7 yards) that’s shorter than Ramos’ 8.5 yards in front of goal.

What does the future hold for him?

Ramo’s record for Portugal U21s had already caught the attention of sides across Europe and frankly it would have come as no surprise if he had made the move last summer.

The Seixal Academy is a guarantee of quality. Players like Joao Cancelo and Bernardo Silva have been torn from it without establishing themselves in the first team.

In the end, Ramos stayed, his way cleared by the sale of Nunez. He is under contract until 2025, and the small print has an exit clause worth 120 million euros. However, Ramos’ value is closer to €40m.

Lisbon newspaper Record linked Brighton with a player change last weekend before the World Cup.

go deeper


The Radar – The Athletic’s 2022 World Cup scouting guide

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How to understand The Radar, The Athletic’s World Cup Player Guide

(Photo: Getty Images)

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