Three U23 Liga NOS talents from outside the Big 3

This article focuses on three players in Liga NOS, who are U23 and plying their trade for a club outside of the big 3.

*Wenderson Galeno is contracted to Porto but is currently playing for Rio Ave

Liga NOS is a league that is full to the brim with young Portuguese talent, with a large portion of potential residing within the youth ranks and the first team squads of the Big 3 (Benfica, Porto, Sporting). However, the Liga NOS also has plenty of talent from outside of those three teams, Aaron Barton gives the lowdown on some of the lesser known talents!

First up is Chiquinho!

  • Age: 23
  • Nationality: Portuguese
  • Club: Moreirense 
  • Height: 5’7″
  • Foot: Right
  • Position: Central Attacking Midfielder/Centre Forward

Chiquinho plays for Moreirense, a club based in the Braga district of Northern Portugal. Moreirense are a good, ambitious side who at the time of writing find themselves in 5th place, 7 points behind Europa qualification hopefuls Sporting CP.

Chiquinho has been excellent this season and his recent form has been key to his side embarking on a 6 match unbeaten run.

The 23-year-old attacker has spread his time evenly this season between his two main positions, playing ten matches as the central attacking midfielder as part of an attacking trio and playing nine matches as a striker, usually as part of a front-two in a 442.

Chiquinho’s fluidity and flexibility means he can adapt his game, depending on how Moreirense choose to set up. This versatility is reflected in his statistics as his numbers are remarkably similar in both positions, as you can see below:

As a ‘Number 10’:

  • Apps: 10
  • Goals: 3
  • Assists: 2

As a centre forward:

  • Apps: 9
  • Goals: 2
  • Assists: 2
Chiquinho vs Feirense

When he operates as a number 10, as pictured above, he is able to play with much greater fluidity. He is afforded more freedom and less responsibility. He is able to drift seamlessly across the front 3 and can also retreat back into midfield to collect the ball from a deeper position, where he can then utilise his dribbling ability to make driving forward runs.

He is without doubt one of the brightest U23 players from outside of os três grandes and no doubt has a great future ahead of him, definitely one to watch!

Wenderson Galeno

  • Age: 21
  • Nationality: Brazil
  • Club: Rio Ave (on loan from FC Porto)
  • Height: 5’8”
  • Foot: Right
  • Position: Left Midfield

Galeno is a hugely talented left winger who is currently plying his trade for Rio Ave, making him eligible for this list! FC Porto decided to loan out Galeno with the hope that he would gain valuable game time and Liga experience and develop himself as a player.

They will be very happy with the results of the loan move so far.

He is a very forward-thinking winger, with great pace, dribbling and crossing ability. He plays predominately in a front 3 behind thestriker, as demonstrated in the graphic below. This season he has spent the majority of his time there and has 5 goals and 3 assists in 19 starts, an impressive return for a winger at just 21 years of age.

For all his brightand creative play whilst on the ball, he is not without his flaws. His defensive contribution isn’t there yet, something which will have to be ironed out as he develops. He is still very much a raw talent and sometimes opts totake on a more difficult pass rather than the simple one, resulting in a poor pass accuracy of 68.2%.

Rio Ave find themselves in a rough run of form recently, with just 1 win in 5. Galeno will be hoping to pick up his early/mid-season form to inspire the northern Portugal side to greater success. He is definitely a bright talent and one for Porto to keep their eye on in the coming months.


  • Age: 20
  • Nationality: Portuguese
  • Club: Belenenses SAD
  • Height: 5’8″
  • Foot: Right
  • Position: Centre Forward

The last player is Kikas from Belenenses, the 20-year-old hadn’tplayed much football in Liga NOS this season until recently. He began the seasonmaking late appearances from the bench, a minute here, 4 minutes there and soon, but nothing substantial enough to make an impact.

However, an injury to Brazilian forward Henrique Almeida hasmeant that Kikas has stated the last three games and in doing so has scored 3goals, grabbed an assist and a man of the match performance.

Kikas is a player of which there is not a lot of information, however his commanding performances of late have started to attract the attention of football fans around Portugal.

When he does start, he tends to operate as an out and out centre forward, with two attacking midfielders operating behind him. He has shown that he can be the man for the big occasions, performing superbly in a difficult match away at Braga, scoring the opener in the 0-2 victory for his side. Belenenses fans will be eager to see more of Kikas and will be hoping that he and their side continue their good form, having won both of the games he has started so far, scoring 6 and conceding 0.

Next up for Kikas is an away trip to Benfica, where if hestarts, he will really be tested!

At just 20, he is a player whose minutes are going to be sporadic throughout the season, particularly when Almeida returns to action, however he is definitely one to keep an eye on when he is playing as he could possibly be another gem for the future, for Portugal.

Próxima Jornada

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