European Youth academy , the forges of talent: BENFICA
Portugal champion of Europe in 2016: Cristiano Ronaldo and more. Not even the great Eusebio had succeeded in such a feat because, however strong, champions alone can rarely win trophies alone. Portugal over the past decades has been churning out generations of great players and formidable talent like never before. All this is not accidental. All this is the result of planning that involved members of the federation and society. Portugal is certainly not a very rich country, but it has been able to find its way by focusing on training and the search for talents, on a methodology that leaves children free to express their creativity and (for professionals) on the structures of the youth sectors.
In this sense, Benfica was the vanguard. Since 2006, at the gates of Lisbon it was inaugurated
the Caixa Football Camp, so many talents have been baked like never before. The Caixa Football Camp hosts the first team but also all the other youth teams, it is a sort of sports citadel where football is studied intensively, according to the Benfica philosophy. Philosophy that involves a lot of technique, a lot of fun, attention to detail, technological implementation, widespread scouting of the territory and continuous training. This constantly evolving process has allowed, in the face of initial investments, to make Benfica one of the most virtuous companies in Europe. In fact, in 2015 to date, the club has sold João Cancelo, Renato Sanches, Éderson, João Félix and Rúben Dias, to which must be added Bernardo Silva, Nélson Semedo, Gonçalo Guedes.
The modus operandi for the reds of Lisbon is clear: training is being worked on in the period between 6 and 13 years. Defined as the golden age and in which the focus is on technical development. The academy can accommodate up to 470 children, because the project is long-term. It starts with evaluation / scouting, development and refinement to get them to the first team. If we think about how much Atlético Madrid paid only Joao Felix (about 100 million), a massive investment in almost 500 young people has certainly paid off in economic terms over the years.
Other fundamental aspects for Benfica's youth coaches concern the importance of extra-football training.
Thus, the Sport Lisboa e Benfica Youth Academy has implemented a Permanent Training Department that responds to the current needs of the sports attorney, with some clear objectives:
Create a structure that streamlines the training of sports agents;
Provide technical, logistical and human assistance capable of ensuring the regular functioning of the duly qualified courses organized by SL Benfica;
Focus on the training of specialized agents to accompany the activities of Sport Lisboa and Benfica, raising the levels of knowledge and competence of all those who, in professional or voluntary programs, are involved in the sports activities of SL Benfica
Propose measures on training and sports practices for integrated sports development;
Engage in sports economics studies, or evaluate the profitability of the SLB Youth Academy facilities;
Propose contracts or protocols with other subjects, aimed at carrying out investigative activities and supporting their development;
Collaborate with other bodies, public or private, national or international, by signing protocols, agreements or contract-programs in the field of Youth Education;
Maintain and develop cooperation systems with academic institutions in accordance with the training of instructors and technicians in the field of sport;
Support scientific research projects and initiatives in sports;
Promote courses, conventions, conferences, congresses and seminars with the aim of training officials, athletes and coaches, as well as collaborating in the organization of activities of the same nature promoted by other bodies
A 360-degree project that provides for continuous development and which has restored economic vigor and sporting luster to a glorious club that has been able to reinvent itself in modern football.