Benfica have continued their summer recruitment drive with the addition of Alex Pinto from Vitória de Guimarães. The 18-year old right-back has signed a six-year contract with the Eagles. Born in Guimarães, he is a lifelong Benfica fan.
Pinto spent most of his youth career at Vitória Sport Clube, with the exception of a short spell at Moreirense, from 2011 to 2012. He made his debut for Vitória de Guimarães B on January 30th 2017, in a Segunda Liga clash with Freamunde, and appeared three more times for the B team before making his first team debut against Feirense on the last day of the Primeira Liga season.
Despite being a newcomer to top-flight football, Pinto is regarded as one of the most promising young fullbacks in Portugal. Indeed, he has already represented his country at under-19 level, where he is an international colleague of new teammate Pedro Pereira.
Although Nélson Semedo is expected to leave the Estádio da Luz this summer, Pinto is not seen as a direct replacement. Instead, he has been tipped to continue his development with Benfica B. Pedro Pereira is likely to compete with André Almeida for the right-back berth in 2017/18, while Aurélio Buta is also waiting in the wings. Patrick Vieira is another option after the Brazilian fullback arrived on a free transfer from Marítimo, although the 26-year old has not been formally unveiled by the Eagles, and may be loaned out to another club.
In his first interview with BTV, Pinto was asked how it felt to join the club that he supported as a child, and to introduce himself as a player.
"I'm very happy. This is the happiest moment of my life. I always worked to arrive here and wear this jersey."
"Benfica was my club since I was born, and I'm really very happy!"
"I played at Vitória de Guimarães since I was six-years old. Then, at 13, I left for Moreirense for a year and a half. I wasn't playing as much as I would have liked there and I returned to Vitória... and now I'm here and I'm very happy."
"I'm a hardworking and humble lad, always with a great desire to learn and with a great will to triumph at Benfica."