Ruben Dias, Joao Felix & Ederson: Is Benfica's academy setup the best in the world?

Joao Felix forged his reputation at Benfica

There are many teams across the world who are revered for their academies.

Ajax, Barcelona and Manchester United are three sides regularly touted as having supreme youth setups, but that trio have paled in comparison to Benfica over the past few years.

The Portuguese side are one of the best in the business when it comes to nurturing young talent and some of the best active players in the world hail from the Lisbon-based club.

Ruben Dias was the latest Benfica product to jump ship and join one of Europe's elite, the elegant centre-back joining Manchester City in a £65m deal this summer.

But the 23-year-old defender is just one member of an entire XI of players that started their careers at Benfica before moving on to bigger and better things.

Dias with Benfica

The starting lineup below is comprised entirely of players who fit that description, with the total value of the 11 on show standing at £391.05m, per Transfermarkt.

Let's take a look at the team, with a hefty number of current Premier League stars on show...

Nelson Semedo with Benfica

GK - Ederson Moraes

Current club: Manchester City

Market value: £50.40m

The Brazilian goalkeeper spent two years in Benfica's youth setup, before joining Ribeirao in 2011. Ederson then re-signed for Benfica in 2015, where he quickly became the club's first-choice goalkeeper.

He then completeled a £35m move to City in 2017, where the tattooed 'keeper has secured his spot among the the best in the business.

Ederson with Man City

RB - Nelson Semedo

Current club: Wolves

Market value: £31.50m

Semedo dazzled during his two years in Benfica's first-team, securing himself a move to Barcelona in 2017.

The right-back struggled at times in Catalonia, but he's still a regular for his country and Semedo has impressed during his short time in the Premier League with Wolves.

CB - Ruben Dias

Current club: Manchester City

Market value: £45.00m

Dias' current market value is actually lower than the £65m City spent to sign him. However, the Portuguese centre-back has looked worth every penny so far.

The 23-year-old spent 12 years within the Benfica setup before departing for English shores this summer.

CB - Victor Lindelof

Current club: Manchester United

Market value: £21.60m

The Swedish international spent one year in Benfica's youth setup between 2012 and 2013, after which he was promoted to the club's senior team.

Over the next four years, Lindelof established himself as one of the best defenders in the world, earning a £30m million move to United in 2017, where the going has been slightly tougher.

Lindelof in action for Benfica

LB - Joao Cancelo

Current club: Manchester City

Market value: £32.40m

Currently the most expensive full-back of all time after joining City in 2019, Cancelo only made one appearance for Benfica's senior side.

He joined Valencia on loan for the 2014/15 season, before signing permanently with the club. After a successful year with Juventus in 2018/19, City saw fit to splash the cash on the versatile 26-year-old.

CM - Andre Gomes

Current club: Everton

Market value: £21.60m

Like Cancelo, Gomes joined Valencia on loan in 2014/15 and earned himself a permanent move to Spain the following year.

His performances with Los Che led to Barcelona signing him in a £30m deal back in 2016. After a difficult spell in Catalonia, Gomes is now back to somewhere near his best with Everton.

CM - Renato Sanches

Current club: Lille

Market value: £18.00m

The man known to many in England for his disastrous loan spell with Swansea City is now loving life after rediscovering the form he showed at Benfica.

Bayern Munich sold the 23-year-old in 2019 and Sanches hasn't looked back. If you don't believe us, just check out his highlights below from Lille's 3-0 win over AC Milan last night!

RM - Helder Costa

Current club: Leeds United

Market value: £10.80m

The 26-year-old has taken some time to fulfil his potential, but he's doing just that under Marcelo Bielsa, scoring two goals and contributing with as many assists in seven games this season.

Costa made just one appearance for Benfica's senior side before signing for Wolves in 2017. After a loan spell with Leeds in 2019/20, the Premier League new boys saw fit to sign him permanently for £15m.

CAM - Bernardo Silva

Current club: Manchester City

Market value: £72.00m

Amazingly, Silva played just three games for Benfica's first-team and it was at AS Monaco where he announced himself on the world stage.

City paid around £43m for his services his 2017 and he has been a huge success under Pep Guardiola, scoring 30 goals and contributing with 35 assists in his 164 games.

LM - Goncalo Guedes

Current club: Valencia

Market value: £15.75m

Guedes is going through a difficult time at Valencia right now, but the footballing world really was his oyster after his breakthrough years at Benfica between 2014 and 2016.

Paris Saint-Germain were so impressed that they spent £25m to sign Guedes in January 2017. However, the flying winger made just 13 appearances for the French side, failing to score a single goal. Let's hope he can rediscover his Benfica form sooner rather than later.

Guedes celebrates with Valencia

ST - Joao Felix

Current club: Atletico Madrid

Market value: £72.00m

Felix has the potential to be a Ballon d'Or winner and he's beginning to shine under Diego Simeone at Atletico.

Prior to his £113m move to the Spanish giants, the 20-year-old scored 23 goals and contributed with 11 assists in just 43 games for Benfica - a truly generational talent.

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