The final whistle sounds and the excitable group of young players in blue and white stripes charge en masse over to the corner of the Stade Colovray where their noisy supporters are gathered.
There’s dancing, singing and shouting, with one of the players bellowing into the Ultras’ microphone to lead everyone in chants of celebration. The players allow the delighted fans a touch of the sleek silver trophy.
Nobody present or watching on TV at home can deny that Porto are worthy winners of the UEFA Youth League. They have outclassed two-time champions Chelsea in the final, winning 3-1, and are officially the best under-19 team in Europe.
Bruno Fernandes appears to be closing in on a £60million move from Sporting to Man United
Portugal international midfielder Fernandes in league action for Sporting against Vitoria
In the grandstand, the small army of scouts and agents that consist most of the crowd are already busy scribbling notes or phoning clubs and contacts with reports on the Porto players to impress.
The dreadlocked midfielder Romario Baro would certainly have caught the eye, likewise Fabio Vieira, who opened the scoring, and the captain and centre-half Diogo Queiros. They’re all ones to watch for Europe’s elite clubs.
Porto are the first Portuguese team to win the Youth League, the younger brother of the Champions League, but a winner from the Iberian nation was really just a matter of time.
In an indication of the club’s pride at winning the tournament, the trophy has since taken pride of place in the ‘Hall of Champions’ at the club’s museum, alongside their Champions League and Europa League triumphs.
It’s no secret that Portugal is a phenomenal hotbed for footballing talent, both homegrown and imported from South America, and the current transfer window just reinforces that.
Gedson Fernandes is unveiled as a Tottenham player following his loan move from Benfica
The Portugal international was another in-demand player from the country’s top three clubs
Porto’s Ze Luis was linked with a move to Tottenham but the London club are looking elsewhere
Manchester United are hoping to sign the Sporting Lisbon and Portugal midfielder Bruno Fernandes for as much as £60million, while his namesake and fellow international Gedson has just joined Tottenham on loan from Benfica.
Tottenham have also been linked with the Porto striker Ze Luis, who hails from Cape Verde.
A week in the transfer window doesn’t pass without a Portuguese player, usually playing for either Porto, Benfica or Sporting, being linked to one of Europe’s biggest clubs.
Little wonder the latest edition of the FIFA Global Transfer Market Report recorded a 22 per cent rise in transfers to or from Portugal, with a net positive revenue of £204million, the third-highest in the world.
Portuguese players were the fourth most valuable nationality with transactions involving the nation totalling £445m during 2018-19.
Porto’s under-19 team celebrate…