The Portuguese-Canadian Genius
In recent years, one of the most incredible stories in portuguese football was written by Stephen Eustáquio, who flew from bottom to top in a blink of an eye. In just six months, he went from Campeonato de Portugal (third tier) to Liga NOS (first tier), also conquering his space in the U21 national team, where he has a starting role. The flight, assured by someone who followed him from the beginning, won’t stop here.
Born in Canada, Stephen came to Nazaré (Portugal) aged seven. He started playing football in a small local club and a few years later moved to the biggest team in the region, União de Leiria. However, his career in the club was anything but easy. His coaches regularly used him as a right defender. “You’re not big enough to play as a midfielder, you’re not tall”, they said.
After getting to the U19 team, Stephen decided to quit. He believed he had what it takes to play in the middle. So he returned home, to his hometown club. In the following year he signed for SCU Torreense and, one season after that, he was playing in the midfield for the senior team, competing in portuguese third tier. Not bad for someone who wasn’t big enough.
The rest of it is history. He absolutely exploded. Became Torreense’s best player and moved, last season, to Leixões SC (second tier), where he turned MVP too. In january, GD Chaves signed him for half a million euros. He played there until the end of the season and guess what? He became one of their best players, if not the best.
The last transfer was a brilliant move, because Chaves, coached by Luís Castro, played an outstanding, attractive football. And, due to his characteristics, Stephen needed that type of football. He is mainly a defensive midfielder who enjoys having the ball and make his team play around him.
Almost everything he does is correct, his decision-making is awesome. Revealing great passing quality and excellent vision, his passes really get his team closer to the target, as he usually finds teammates in more advanced areas. He’s also got a very good ball control.
He isn’t physically big, but defensively improved a lot during his stage in second and third tiers of portuguese football, especially the last one. He became more intense trying to recover the ball, also getting better at aerial duels. Furthermore, he reveals a good positioning, as well as a fine tackle capacity.
This is just the beginning for a player who turned professional just a year ago. He is twenty one years old and, right now, the only doubt is which bigger club will sign him first.
August 21, 2018