Benfica B midfielder Rúben Pinto has joined Primeira Liga side Paços Ferreira on loan until the end of the season to fill the void left by Ruben Ribeiro, who has joined Gil Vicente on loan. Pinto played the first half of this season for Benfica’s B team, which competes in Portugal’s second tier, the Segunda Liga. A captain at Benfica B, Pinto will now get his first taste of top-flight soccer at Paços.
Revival of a Star
Highly rated as a star for the future earlier in his career, Rúben Pinto’s career has been slow to take off. Having risen up through the ranks at Benfica, Pinto established himself as an integral part of the club’s U19 side during the 2009/2010 season. Despite only being 17 years old during the majority of the season, Pinto finished with an astonishing 16 goals from midfield.
His next season was spent again in the U19 team, where he recreated his strong performances from the previous season. Pinto was promoted to the newly re-established Benfica B side for the 2012/2013 season, and was duly expected to be one of the team’s top performers. Despite the promise, injury curtailed the majority of his season.
Last season, Pinto rejoined the B team, where he performed impressively, helping the team to a fifth place finish with 33 league starts. This season, however, Pinto has begun to show his true worth, contributing six goals in twenty appearances thus far.
At 22, Pinto has begun to show his true potential as a footballer, and his recovery from injury has been swift and impressive. If he can perform for Paços Ferreira, a spot in Benfica’s first team may be his next season, especially with Jorge Jesus’ and Luís Filipe Vieira’s new-found commitment to home-grown youth.
Benfica B Threadbare?
With the departure of Rúben Pinto and rumors of further departures, Benfica B is beginning to look thin. Hélder Costa, who has contributed seven goals from the wing, and Victor Lindelöf, who has been a rock at the heart of the team’s defense, are reported to be close to sealing loan moves to Gil Vicente for the rest of the season. In addition, top scorer Rui Fonte has been promoted definitively to Benfica’s first team, and wonder-kid Gonçalo Guedes is rumored to be leaving on loan.
With the team’s top performers set to leave on loan, it appears that first team coach Jorge Jesus is prioritizing player development over a high league finish from Benfica B. What has been clear, however, is that Rúben Pinto, Hélder Costa, Victor Lindelöf, Gonçalo Guedes, and Rui Fonte are all ready to play at a higher level.