Raphael Guerreiro wasn’t known too well before UEFA Euro 2016, but these European Championships have thrust him into the football spotlight. The Portuguese player raised eyebrows when he earned a transfer to Borussia Dortmund on the 16th of June for a reported fee of €12 million but the German giants brilliant scouting networks have only been validated by his performances in the just concluded tournament.
He’s been marvellously assured at the back and an imperative part of Portugal’s solid defensive setup. Guerreiro was named in the Euro 2016 team of the tournament as well, after Portugal’s Euro 2016 triumph and couldn’t have dreamed of the dizzying heights he’s found himself at already.
Guerreiro was born in Le Blanc-Mesnil, France to a Portuguese father and a French mother. He played youth team football for three clubs, finishing his early years at Caen after signing in 2008 at the tender age of 14. After starting as a senior with the reserve team he made his professional debut in the 2012-13 season, going on to amass 41 appearances in an eventual fourth-place finish in Ligue 2. He was selected in the team of the year and started gaining the attention of bigger clubs in French Football.
He’d done enough to earn a transfer to Ligue 1 and signed a four-year contract with FC Lorient. In his second year there, Guerreiro would score 7 goals in 34 league appearances, a striking contribution for a left-back and was truly establishing himself as one of the most promising left-backs in the division. His decision to play for Portugal, and not France, the country of his birth, was sorted out fairly early. He was always clear that he wanted to play for the Selecao
Guerreiro’s comfortable with the ball at his feet and is therefore extremely versatile, and can fill in anywhere on the left side of the pitch. He’s even played as an attacking winger on the left flank and has a substantial number of appearances in midfield. His best position is at left-back though, and he liked to cut inside and make layoffs to his teammates when he’s on the offensive.
As mentioned, Guerreiro can play in multiple positions as demonstrated by his time at Lorient, and would fit into several different formations. Tuchel could use him at left-back and even in midfield or attack depending on the match situation.
Dribbling and Passing:
He’s smooth with the ball at his feet and loves taking his man on. His passing is pretty spot on as well, and he completed 84.7% of his passes in the European Championships, a statistic he can be pretty pleased by.
Set pieces have always been one of his specialities. After Ronaldo couldn’t make the most of a free-kick against Iceland, Lorient responded on their Twitter feed with a video of Guerreiro scoring from a similar position earlier this season against Guingamp in Ligue 1. His free kick striking abilities are superb.
The Portuguese can be somewhat introverted at times, his Portugal under-21 manager, Rui Jorge, remembered him as a very quiet player, in part due to his language difficulties. But he has matured in the meantime and being reserved isn’t necessarily a bad thing either. Although he might take some time to settle in Germany before giving his best.
Guerreiro isn’t too great in the air, Whoscored shows him at winning only 0.3 aerial duels per game over the course of his domestic season. At 5 feet 7 inches he isn’t a particularly tall footballer, but then again some of the best full-backs in world football aren’t either.
All in all, Raphael Guerreiro is a thoroughly talented player, and Dortmund should be the ideal club that allows him to thrive. He’s only 22 years old, is believed to be immensely modest and hard working and Tuchel should be able to get the maximum out of him. He should also be a fixture in the Portugal national team for years to come and certainly, has a very promising career in the future. Bundesliga fans should be excited.Published 13 Jul 2016, 17:48 IST