Player to Watch
Alexandre Henrique Gonçalves de Freitas, known simply as Alex, is possibly one of the league’s better known stars. Due to his exploits at last summer’s U-20 World Cup for Portugal, the winger has made his name known, most notably by scoring in the heart-clenching 3-2 final loss to Brazil. Alex was instrumental in the team’s success, playing in all six of the team’s matches, starting five.
Alex joined Santa Clara from Porto’s youth setup at the beginning of the 2010-2011 season, and immediately cemented his spot in the starting eleven. The midfielder played in a total of 26 matches during the season, and became a very important asset to the club as the season progressed. This season has started well for Alex. He currently has a goal to his name this season, and will look to build on what was a very productive season.
Alex combines skill and accuracy to make him appear classier than one would expect for a player of his age and experience level. Actually, he doesn’t just appear classier, he is classier. Though he is a winger, he does not only possess the lightning quick speed and quick feet, like many Portuguese wingers do. What is special about Alex is his accuracy. As evidenced in the U-20 World Cup, Alex possesses a very accurate left foot and the ability to make timely, accurate runs, one of which resulted in a goal in the final.
With Alex firmly one of the Liga Orangina’s finest prospects, the big clubs may soon swoop. Porto made the mistake of releasing him, which led to his eventual move to Santa Clara. While that certainly has helped his development, it may come back to bite Porto if they choose to resign him. After his impressive performances for the Portugal U-20 team, a U-21 call-up must not be far away. It is not hard to imagine Alex playing for the Portugal National team at some point in the future, and if he continues progressing at the current rate, we may not have to wait long.