Luka Zahovic open to chance of playing for the Seleção

That Portugal have a chronic problem in producing top-class strikers is no secret. Could an 18-year-old going by the most un-Portuguese name of Luka Zahovic be the answer to the Seleção’s problems up front in the near future?

Son of former Vitória Guimarães, FC Porto and Benfica attacking midfielder Zlatko Zahovic, Luka was born in Portugal where he lived his early childhood while his father was playing in the Primeira Liga.

And speaking to the press after scoring against Sporting in the Champions League last night, Zahovic junior admitted: “If I received a proposal to play for the two national sides I would have to think hard about it, but I’d probably choose Portugal.”

His father may have a different view. Zlatko Zahovic is the country’s most successful footballer since Slovenia gained independence in 1991, holding the record for both appearances (80) and goals (35).

Luka, meanwhile, has played for Slovenia at all age levels since under-16, and is expected to get his first call-up to the U21 side soon after his dramatic equaliser in the Champions League last night to salvage a draw for Maribor against Sporting, on the back of a brace in the Slovenian club’s previous league game at the weekend.

Strong links

However, Portugal represents more than just a place of birth for the promising striker. It was in the Portuguese capital that he began his football education, spending half a dozen years in Benfica’s academy. “I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t a Benfiquista. I played there for six years,” he said.

Asked whether he would like to return to Portugal to pursue his career, his answer was emphatic. “It would be a dream to return to Portugal to play. I’ve never hidden my passion for Portugal. But for now I’m happy with the way things are going here.

The Maribor striker went on to explain that he continues to feel a strong bond with Portugal. “I live in a family that is more Portuguese than Slovenian. The fact my parents are Slovenian doesn’t mean anything. I lived for years in Lisbon and I’m still in contact with friends from my time there. I usually spend my holidays in Lisbon and when I’m there I try to meet up with them.”

As for his spectacular Champions League debut, Zahovic said, “It was a dream debut. It’s very important to start the competition well. It makes no difference that we are outsiders. We were the better team in the second half and I think a draw was a fair result.”

by Tom Kundert

 

Comments (10)

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

All Benfica needs to do is let Nelson Oliveira get playing time with their squad, and he'll grow and hopefully be picked for the NT at a good ripe age. Zahovic, the name, doesnt sound Portuguese enough for the FPF to let play for the NT, I think

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Who cares what his name is, he was born in Portugal……last I checked that makes him Portuguese. He is more Portuguese then Deco, Liedsom, and Pepe. FPF alway a sleep at the wheel. This kid should be playing in our U20 team

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This is the exact problem with Portuguese people! This guy Luka Zahovic who nobody has heard all of a sudden starts gaining stardom by the press in Portugal just because he scored a lucky goal after a huge mistake from the Sporting back line. So...

This is the exact problem with Portuguese people! This guy Luka Zahovic who nobody has heard all of a sudden starts gaining stardom by the press in Portugal just because he scored a lucky goal after a huge mistake from the Sporting back line. So what! Why don't we wait and see how his game goes and then we seriously start taking a look at him.

Same thing goes for Ruben Neves of Porto. Yes his been impressive but people already wanting him in the senior Portugal squad is crazy, let him start slow and play in the youth squads of portugal

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He is the top scorer in the Slovenian league with 5 goals at the age of 18. @rick to say we shouldn't be poking at a kid wo wants to play for portugal considering our recent history with strikers is stupid

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Jose. Uhh I said the FPF wouldn't let him play because of his name. I'm not the FPF President.

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Again i repeat, he is Portuguese……if your born in Portugal, your are Portuguese, simple. Also Rick i mentioned he should be playing with our U20 team. Im not sure who your taking about when you say…..This is the exact problem with Portuguese...

Again i repeat, he is Portuguese……if your born in Portugal, your are Portuguese, simple. Also Rick i mentioned he should be playing with our U20 team. Im not sure who your taking about when you say…..This is the exact problem with Portuguese people. No one has suggested that he should go straight to senior team. Having said all that, have you seen what our options are these day….Brutal

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Look if he wants to play for Portugal, it is worth giving him a shot. If he can't make the cut there is nothing lost. At 18, he is doing very well, and has a lot of potential. One of the current most dominant Stikers, Zlatan plays for Sweden, but...

Look if he wants to play for Portugal, it is worth giving him a shot. If he can't make the cut there is nothing lost. At 18, he is doing very well, and has a lot of potential. One of the current most dominant Stikers, Zlatan plays for Sweden, but is not of Swedish descent. How do you think Sweden would feel now if they had rejected him. Like I said, Portugal would not lose anything having him be part of the potential pool of strikers. But if he turns out to be an exceptional player, we will all be feeling like a mistake was made. By the way Marcos Lopes is not Portuguese, but there is a lot of talk of putting him on the National Team. Yes, I know he plays for the youth teams, but his career has taken him out of Portugal. Bruma was also not born in Portugal and is not of Portuguese descent, but no one is doubting him being a Portuguese player. Many countries wanted Adnan Januzaj to play for their soccer teams, including England, even though he wasn't English in any way.

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Nope, not enough experience in my opinion to be even considered or thought about for the Seleccao. This is the national team! not like hes playing for Benfica, Sporting or Porto senior squads. We get all hyped up about when we see a kid start...

Nope, not enough experience in my opinion to be even considered or thought about for the Seleccao. This is the national team! not like hes playing for Benfica, Sporting or Porto senior squads. We get all hyped up about when we see a kid start scoring some goals in mediocre games and we think he can become the next Pauleta. C' mon, lets face reality a bit and see how he does in leagues such as the EPL, Bundesliga, or even Serie A. If he flourishes there, then we can MAYBE talk about being part of the Seleccao. But for now, lets see if the flower can grow in a field of thorns.

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BTW whats this from the media reporting Fernando Santos is 100% the next Seleccao head manager?? Id rather have Scolari or even Mancini.

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I say call him up, before Slovenia do! I'm not saying to the senior squad yet, but to the under 20's and if he does well there then he could be considered for the senior squad as well. He was born and grew up in Portugal, so why not? The fact of...

I say call him up, before Slovenia do! I'm not saying to the senior squad yet, but to the under 20's and if he does well there then he could be considered for the senior squad as well. He was born and grew up in Portugal, so why not? The fact of the matter is we are still stuck with 3 average centre-forwards as our striking options. Eder is nothing special at all at the highest level, he may look decent for Braga in the Liga, but for the Selecao he has been very poor every time I've seen him play. While Postiga and Almeida are both over the hill now. We are likely to be more dependant than ever on CR7's goals for this qualifying campaign.

I'm in favour of naturalisations if they benefit the team. Look how much Deco and Pepe helped the Selecao. Im hoping the new Selecao coach, whoever he is, is open to this too and calls up the likes of Lima and Fernando, both better players then we have available in their positions. This kid Zahovic may well be the same too. Like it or not, this is the reality of international football these days, it's been globalised like virtually everything else in life. Look at the world champs Germany, 4 of their key players in recent tournaments: Klose, Podolski, Ozil and Khedira, none of these players are originally German. Most national teams are doing it now and the Selecao must benefit also.

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