Everyone loves a good comeback story. Portuguese Andre Silva personifies this spirit of return. He has rediscovered himself at Eintracht Frankfurt with goal bags for the German club after two disappointing seasons in Milan and Seville, with experts eager to cross him out as one of those who never reached his potential.
Now that Silva is thriving at the club level, he will be eager to translate that form into international football. While his performances could undoubtedly have secured him a starting spot for any other team in the world, the same cannot be said for Portugal as Silva is part of the plethora of attackers available to Fernando Santos. Let’s take a look at how Andre Silva’s star has risen and his prospects with the Portugal team.
Born in the municipality of Gondomar de Porto, Silva began his career as a striker in the youth system of local club SC Salgueiros at the age of eight. He was signed by the Porto Giants after impressing the club’s leadership in 2011 during a youth tournament in the city.
Silva, during Porto’s run in the Champions League in 2016. (Image courtesy: UEFA / Website)
Making his first-team debut four years later at the age of 20, Silva scored 24 goals in 58 appearances for Porto in his eighteen months at the club, which included 16 league goals in 32 appearances in his first full season in 2016. -17.
DAYS IN MILAN AND SEVILLE
Following his great season at Porto, Silva moved to AC Milan for a deal worth around € 38 million in 2017.
However, things did not go as planned for the Portuguese international, as his poor form at the capital club, which was mainly due to his inability to transition from Portugal to Italy, saw him score just 10 goals in 40. appearances, most of which came in the Europa League.
Silva, during his days in Milan in 2017. (Image courtesy: AC Milan / Website)
Later, Silva moved to the Spanish club Sevilla on loan in 2018, with a purchase option for 35 million euros. Although it appeared that the Portuguese forward had turned his luck at the Andalusian club, his overall record was poor, which saw him return to his parent club at the end of the loan.
REDEMPTION IN GERMANY
Determined to reach the top level, Silva moved to Eintracht Frankfurt on a two-year loan deal that saw Croatian striker Ante Rebic move in the opposite direction. In hindsight, that move has worked wonders for both the clubs and the players involved.
Silva, after signing a permanent agreement with Frankfurt in 2020. (Image courtesy: Eintracht Frankfurt / Website)
In the first year in Frankfurt, Silva scored 16 goals and 4 assists in 37 appearances and Rebic’s performances in Milan helped both clubs complete an exchange agreement in the summer of 2020, changing the loan agreements to permanent.
Although Silva was beginning to realize his true potential in the first year, critics had doubts whether he could maintain this form in the 2020-21 season or not. It had also shown purple spots in Seville before going cold. This had made the world of football distrust his inconsistency.
Fast forward 12 months, the Portuguese star has finished second in the race for the Bundesliga’s top scorer with 28 goals in 32 league games, behind only Robert Lewandowski, who had a record season with 41 goals. Questions about its coherence were answered emphatically.
Blessed with a breakneck pace, Silva is a true center forward and the archetype of a forward that playmakers crave. An expert in both running between the lines and keeping defenders at bay in aerial duels, Silva is the type where he can score goals in any way possible.
Every goal he scored this season has come from him inside the box, reiterating his poacher instinct and those goals also indicate his two-foot ability, as he is capable of shooting with either foot at any available angle.
With a strong movement inside the box, Silva has shown over the last two seasons in Germany that he is a reliable threat in the opponent’s area and also possesses a strong bonding game and skill in transitions that can only improve with time.
SILVA AND PORTUGAL
Silva, as others would normally do, went through the ranks of age group soccer for Portugal, appearing for those under 16, under 17, under 18, under 19, under 20 and under 21 before entering. in the first team in 2016.
Silva at the 2014 UEFA European Under-19 Championship. (Image courtesy: UEFA / Website)
His performances in Porto earned him a spot on the 2018 World Cup qualifying squad and then he scored four times in both games during that span. Subsequently, he was selected for the World Cup team in 2018 despite his disappointing season in Milan and appeared three times in the competition.
Additionally, he made friendly and Nations League appearances for Portugal and racked up 16 goals in 36 appearances for Selecao.
Although Silva has been selected to the Portugal team for the upcoming European Championship in less than two weeks, even his excellent performances in Frankfurt might not guarantee him a place in the starting eleven.
Such is the talent at Fernando Santos’ disposal that a striker who has scored almost one goal in every game for his club in the league cannot guarantee a place in his national team’s starting eleven.
Santos’ staple in Portugal is a 4-3-3, where captain Cristiano Ronaldo is sure to start, while Bernardo Silva’s quality cannot be ignored. Diego Jota’s fitness problems could help Silva’s team, while Pedro Goncalves’ inspiring season of titles at Sporting it could be enough for Santos to select him ahead of the Frankfurt star.
But, his quality is enough to surely affect from the bench, and his apparent status as heir to Ronaldo in the position of center forward is indicative of his future in the national team.