Sporting’s youth academy has gained the reputation for developing many of Portugal’s most promising young talents, with Luís Figo and Cristiano Ronaldo the most famous examples. Attacking midfielder João Mário appears to be the next one to follow in that tradition.
In the opening months of the 2014/15 season Mário has emerged to become a regular starter in Sporting’s midfield, he has played regularly in the Champions League and has not looked out of place, and has also received his first caps at full international level for Portugal.
Blessed with technical ability and innate football intelligence, João Mário could just be the No10 that the Seleção has lacked since the departure of Deco in 2010. Although he is still far from the finished article, the young midfielder has demonstrated that he has the talent to develop into an elite player for club and country.