Gonçalo Ramos: The Benfica star continues to build on World Cup campaign
Gonçalo Ramos is definitely more than a World Cup sensation. The Benfica striker scored three goals and one assist in four World Cup games for Portugal. Those performances meant Ramos was updated from €24 million to €30m as part of the World Cup market value update. But the World Cup was just a stepping-stone. Six goals and one assist in eight Liga Portugal games meant that Ramos saw his market value further increase to €40m last week.
It’s been his first season as the undisputed starting striker, and overall, he has grabbed onto the responsibility and delivered,” Benfica expert and host of Rabona TV on YouTube Adrian Sousa said to Transfermarkt. There is no doubt that Ramos has had an incredible season for his club. The 21-year-old has scored 21 goals and eight assists in 33 games for Benfica this season.
Most of those goals have come in league play. Ramos leads the Liga Portugal with 15 goals scored in just 19 games. In fact, together with midfielder João Mário, Ramos has formed the most dangerous attacking duo in the league, as the two have scored 29 goals together and also provided nine assists (overview).
Gonçalo Ramos: Attack feels “laborious” without him – more than just a no.9
“Without Ramos on the pitch, Benfica’s attack feels a little more laborious, as we don’t have that presence in the box that you know will make smart runs and get on the end of crosses from Alejandro Grimaldo or João Mário,” Sousa said when asked about Ramos’ importance to Benfica’s style of play under head coach Roger Schmidt.
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Last updated: 2. March 2023
According to Sousa, Ramos’ best qualities are his work rate and finishing ability, both with his feet and in the air. “He isn’t a striker to walk around the box waiting for service,” Sousa said. He will also make dynamic runs in the build-up phase to utilize his pace; he’s active in the box, strong enough to give any defender a difficult time, and works hard in the press when Benfica is out of possession.”
But Ramos is not just a typical no.9. Benfica’s no.88 would also feature as a second striker or even an attacking midfielder when he was paired with Darwin Núñez last season. “That showed that he has the control, passing ability, and vision to drop deep and impose himself on the ball more,” Sousa said. Although he can play that role, Ramos has been primarily a center-forward under Schmidt since Núñez’s departure to Liverpool last summer. But Sousa was also quick to point out that his ability to play as a false-9 and be a more involved striker makes him central to how Schmidt wants to attack.
Gonçalo Ramos: Champions League headache and projected ceiling
One question mark is Ramos’ productivity in the Champions League this season, where he has scored just one goal and two assists in seven games. “Ramos sometimes will go through phases where he makes the difficult finishes look easy, while the easy finishes feel impossible for him,” Sousa said. Thankfully, those periods haven’t lasted too long throughout the season, and overall, he has been a trustworthy striker at the head of Schmidt’s attack.
With that in mind, Sousa believes it is still somewhat hard to judge Ramos’ ceiling. Right now, it’s hard to say, as Ramos feels like he is at crossroads of sorts, and whether he takes the ‘elite talent’ or the ‘very, very good footballer’ pathway is up in the air,” Sousa said. At the moment, I would lean closer to the latter. I think Ramos will be a very good striker throughout his career that is well-regarded in the sport, but I don’t see him at the ‘generational talent’ levels just yet.” It is an assessment shared by Goalimpact, which currently sees Ramos projected as a Champions League-level player (here is how it works).
That also leads to the question of what Ramos’ market will be next summer. Ramos’ exit clause is €120m, and the Enzo Fernández to Chelsea negotiations highlighted that the Portuguese club could be very insistent when it comes to meeting their demands, which are likely more than his current €40m market value. Nonetheless, Sousa believes that there is significant interest and that Man United and Bayern Munich could be potential landing spots. Both those teams would make sense as they are in the market for a forward, but they are unlikely to be the only ones as Ramos continues to impress this season.