Friday 16 June 2017, 15:29

Players to watch: Meet Portugal's young stars

  • Energetic Guerreiro known as 'The Battery'

  • **Andre Silva's deadly double-act with Ronaldo**

  • **Martins and Bernardo Silva creative forces


*By Marco Monteiro Silva with Portugal

  • Fernando Santos arrives in Russia with a squad rich in talent, and among the 23 players are some exceptional youngsters. takes a closer look at a few of these rising stars.

No5 Raphael Guerreiro *23 years old, 18 international caps* *Capable of shining both in defence and midfield, blessed with speed and a seemingly unending supply of energy, Guerreiro featured for Portugal at the 2015 UEFA European Under-21 Championship and UEFA EURO 2016. Nicknamed 'The Battery' while playing at Lorient, he joined Borussia Dortmund shortly before EURO 2016 and has since solidified his position in the German club's line-up. Guerreiro was the youngest of four Portugal players to be named in the official team of the tournament at EURO 2016.

No9 Andre Silva *21 years old, 8 international caps* The youngest member of Portugal's squad for Russia, Silva last featured at a FIFA competition in 2015, scoring four goals at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in New Zealand. More impressively, Silva is the youngest player to score a hat-trick for Portugal (a 37-minute treble against Faroe Islands in 2018 FIFA World Cup™ qualifying in October 2016. Currently averaging almost a goal-a-game for Portugal’s senior team, the No9 has formed an impressive relationship with Cristiano Ronaldo. In five World Cup qualifying matches together thus far, Ronaldo and Silva have scored 17 goals between them (Ronaldo 11, Silva 6). The youngster arrives in Russia on cloud nine having just signed for AC Milan, who were clearly impressed by his goalscoring feats for Porto in the 2016/2017 season.

Treino de preparação com @andrevsilva19 ✌️

— Bernardo Silva (@BernardoCSilva) June 13, 2017

No10 Bernardo Silva *** *22 years old, 12 international caps

  • Intelligent, versatile, quick-thinking and with impressive ball control, Bernardo recently became Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola's first signing of the current transfer window. With eight goals and nine assists in Ligue 1 last season, Portugal's No10 was instrumental in helping Monaco win their first league title in 17 years. The midfielder missed out on EURO 2016 due to injury and will be eager to feature prominently in Russia. Bernardo was a key part of Portugal’s team at the U-21 European Championship in 2015, winning the man of the match award twice en route to the team finishing as runners-up.

No18 Gelson Martins *22 years old, 6 international caps*

  • Following in the footsteps of Ronaldo, Nani and Quaresma, Gelson Martins is a product of Sporting’s youth academy. Martins has the gifts of lightning speed and excellent ball control that Portugal produces in wingers with such amazing consistency. Like Andre Silva, Martins impressed at the U-20 FIFA World Cup 2015, scoring twice at the tournament. While the No18 will be eager to be feature alongside Ronaldo in Russia, he has previously enjoyed the chance to impress The Best FIFA Men's Player as an opponent. Martins put in a man-of-the-match performance at the Bernabeu in Sporting’s 2-1 loss to Real Madrid in the 2016/2017 Champions League season. While rumours of interest from some of Europe’s biggest clubs persist, Martins is currently a significant part of Sporting’s team having finished the domestic campaign as the league leader in assists.

*Correct as of 14 June 2017