Portugal’s 2018 U19 European Champions: Where are they now?

On this day five years ago Portugal lifted the UEFA U19 European Championship 2018 title, beating Italy 4-3 after extra time to bring a thrilling end to a fantastic tournament by the Seleção youngsters.

A superb photo-article by Portuguese website Maisfutebol has looked into how the careers of the U19 squad have panned out thus far. PortuGOAL brings you an abridged and translated version. 

Diogo Costa (goalkeeper): Two years as the undisputed starter of FC Porto and the Seleção No1, you can make a good argument that Costa has made the most successful transition into senior football in the entire squad.

João Virgínia (goalkeeper): Played in the final after Diogo Costa got injured in the semis. Signed for Everton but unable to break into the senior squad, he was loaned to several clubs including Sporting. Currently on loan at Cambuur in the Netherlands.

Ricardo Benjamin (goalkeeper): Portugal’s third goalkeeper at the U19 Euro, he was playing for Deportivo la Coruña at the time, but has since played for a series of lower league clubs in Portugal and is currently a Montalegre player.

Thierry Correia (defender): Broke into the Sporting first team and was sold to La Liga outfit Valencia for €12 million, for whom he has played for four years.

Romain Correia (defender): Played every minute of the U19 Euro but has not yet translated that success into the senior game. Started at Vitória, left Guimarães to try his luck at Hércules in Spain and is now back in Portugal playing for Porto B.

Rúben Vinagre (defender): Another defender who played every minute of the tournament in 2018, he started off promisingly at Wolverhampton Wanderers, but failed to kick on. Was loaned to Olympiacos and Famalicão, before Sporting bought the left-back but things did not work out for him at Alvalade. Now on loan at Hull City.

David Carmo (defender): Carmo quickly became a pillar of the Braga defence, impressing so much that Porto paid €20 million for him last summer, but he was largely anonymous in his debut season at the Estádio do Dragão, playing only 15 games.

Diogo Queirós (defender): A regular in Portugal’s youth teams all the way to U21 level, Queirós has struggled to make the transition to senior football. Has played for Mouscron, Famalicão, Valladolid and now plies his trade in Romania for Farul.

Francisco Moura (defender): After regularly impressing for Braga, it surprised many when he was offloaded to Famalicão, first on loan then definitively, where he has continued to look a polished performer.

Florentino Luís (midfielder): Soon after winning the U19 Euro Florentino exploded onto the scene in senior football, playing a key role in Benfica’s championship triumph in the 2018/19 season. He then lost his way somewhat, with unsuccessful loans at Monaco and Getafe, before bouncing back in style and he was back in favour at Benfica last season for another title win, this time under Roger Schmidt.

Domingos Quina (midfielder): Played in every game at the tournament and seemed to have the world at his feet as he switched West Ham for Watford in 2018, but his senior career is yet to ignite with unconvincing spells at Elche and Rotherham before signing for Udinese this summer.

Miguel Luís (midfielder): Missed the U19 final through injury, Luís gradually worked his way into Sporting’s first team, playing several matches and getting on the scoresheet, but he subsequently lost his place and left Alvalade in 2020. Spent one season in Guimarães before emigrating to Poland where he is in his third season at Warta Poznan.

Diogo Teixeira (midfielder): Left Rio Ave after playing just two matches for the senior team in 2021. Played for Sanjoanense and Montalegre in Portugal’s lower leagues before moving abroad, signing for Lokomotiv Sofia.

Nuno Pina (midfielder): A starter in the final, Pina moved to Italy where he played for Chievo in 2019/20, before returning to Portugal with B-SAD. Has since played in Switzerland and Spain and last season signed for Torreense back in Portugal.

Nuno Santos (midfielder): While at Benfica, Santos had loan spells at Moreirense, Boavista and Paços de Ferreira, before moving to the United States where he signed for Charlotte FC. Now back in Portugal, he has signed for Vitória.

Jota (forward): A brilliant performer in the tournament and touted as a future superstar, Jota took his time making an impact on senior football. Was given little chance at Benfica and had an unsuccessful loan at Valladolid, before moving to Glasgow Celtic. Jota flourished in Scotland, becoming a cult hero and winning everything there was to win in two seasons. Has cashed in on his success by moving to Al-Ittihad in Saudi Arabia.

Francisco Trincão (forward): Another of Portugal’s stars at the tournament, Trincão went on to shine brightly for Braga, earning him a €30 million move to Barcelona. Unable to nail down a spot in the Catalan team, he was loaned to Wolves, without success, before returning to Portugal at Sporting. A positive initial season has raised hopes he can fully nurture his undoubted potential.

Zé Gomes (forward): A phenomenally prolific goalscorer at youth level, Gomes failed to transition that ability to senior football. Unable to break through at Benfica, he has since played in Poland, Bulgaria, Italy, Romania and Cyprus. His current team is Ethnikos Achnas.

Mésaque Djú (forward): Left Benfica to sign for West Ham in 2019, but failed to break into the first team at the London club. Played for Ofi Crete in Greece before returning to Portugal. Currently plays for Mafra in the second tier.

Pedro Martelo (forward): Scorer of the extra-time winner in the U19 final against Italy, Martelo was signed by Paços de Ferreira, going on a series of loans before moving to Belenenses, who he helped to promotion to the second tier last season. This season has signed for Irish outfit Sligo Rovers.

Elves Baldé (forward): A Sporting youth product, Baldé was loaned to Paços de Ferreira and Feirense before signing for Farense. Will play top-tier football with the Algarve club this season having renewed his contract.

by Tom Kundert