Iuri Medeiros put in another outstanding performance for Moreirense last weekend against Porto. The young winger again proved a handful for one of Portugal’s ‘Big Three,’ scoring the opening goal of the match and creating a second, before the Dragões were able to rally back for a 3-2 victory.
Medeiros has been a revelation for Moreirense this season, on loan from Sporting. The 21-year-old is making a good case to return to his parent club for next season. PortuGoal takes a closer look at rising star Iuri Medeiros.
Medeiros was born on the island of Faial in the Azores and started playing football at an early age for Sporting Horta. At the age of ten, he made the move to Sporting’s Alcochete academy.
After more than two seasons with Sporting’s B squad, he was sent on loan to Arouca in January 2015. On 18 March against Benfica, he scored his first senior goal in impressive fashion. After receiving the ball at the edge of the 18-yard box, he fooled defender Eliseu with a clever move before firing a volley passed Júlio César.
A few weeks later, he scored a brilliant free-kick against Gil Vicente, and added two assists in a 3-1 victory. He made a positive impact at the club, scoring three goals in 17 league matches.
He was selected to Rui Jorge’s squad for last summer’s U21 European Championships and made four substitute appearances. He recorded an assist in Portugal’s 1-1 group stage draw against Sweden for a goal scored by Gonçalo Paciência.
In August, after not playing much during Sporting’s pre-season, he was sent on loan again this time to Moreirense in order to get more playing time.
Strengths, Weaknesses and Style of Play
Medeiros possesses excellent technical ability, skill and an innate understanding of the game. His dribbling and close control allow him to beat defenders in one-on-one situations. He is also known for his explosive left-foot and quick release.
Nominally a winger, Medeiros can play centrally as a ‘number 10,’ as well as a secondary striker. He has been used primarily on the right side this season with Moreirense. So far, he has recorded an impressive eight goals and eight assists in 20 league matches.
And he seems to elevate his game against tougher competition. He scored in Moreirense’s 2-2 draw against FC Porto back in September, to go along with a goal and an assist against the same opposition in the reverse fixture this past weekend.
He has also excelled against Benfica. He scored Moreirense’s solitary goal in a 6-1 Taca da Liga loss to the Lisbon giants in late January, and added another one in a Primeira Liga match a few days later. And if you include his first goal with Arouca last season, Medeiros has three goals in four matches against Benfica in his career.
But Medeiros is still developing as a footballer. He needs to learn how to play within a team system, which is essential for any talented player. Still, this is likely to improve over time, providing he continues to play regularly. At 1,74m he is not much of a threat in the air. And he remains quite lean and would probably benefit from putting on more muscle.
A place in Fernando Santos’ Euro 2016 squad is a long shot but not impossible. But he should continue to play a prominent role for the U21 squad as they hope to qualify for the 2017 European Championships.
Name: Iuri José Picanço Medeiros
Date of birth: 10 July, 1994 (21 years old)
Place of birth: Horta, Faial, Portugal
Current club: Moreirense FC (On loan from Sporting CP)
Portugal caps: 0 (0 goals)
By Rui Miguel Martins