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Cédric Soares is the latest of Sporting Lisbon’s highly promising crop of young players to be linked with a lucrative move, either abroad or domestically.
Contract talks with the Portugal right-back have stalled over several months amid rumours that both FC Porto and Benfica are keen on prising the 23-year-old away from their direct rivals, while Napoli and Bayer Leverkusen are also reported to be keeping close tabs on him. Premier league giants Arsenal have also been linked.
Cédric, as he is known in Portugal, has been a regular in Sporting’s back four over the last two seasons, his sparkling displays helping the club’s resurgence and also earning him his first Portugal caps.
The full-back loves to bomb forward, his intelligent combination play and outstanding crossing ability, even when space is at a premium, a potent attacking weapon, as is his long-range shooting.
Born in Germany to Portuguese emigrants, the Soares family returned to Portugal when Cédric was a toddler. His parents were keen to instil what they considered good German habits in their children, and enrolled Cédric and his brother in the Deutschen Schule Lissabon, which was located right next to one of Sporting’s training facilities. At just six years of age Cédric was taken to a kids’ scouting session and that was that.
He officially joined Sporting’s academy set-up when turning seven, and worked his way through the youth system all the way until he started training with the senior squad in 2010/11, making his debut in May 2011.
Glory at Académica
The following year he was loaned to Académica, along with midfielder Adrien, and the move proved hugely beneficial for both players as they matured rapidly.
An automatic starter throughout his time at the Coimbra club, Cédric had his first taste of real success at the end of the season as Académica sensationally won the Portuguese Cup for the first time since 1939, ironically beating Sporting in the final.
The defender duly returned to his parent club, became a regular and has continued to improve year-on-year. So much so that he earned his first Portugal caps under new coach Fernando Santos earlier this season and is fully expected to make the position in the national team his own.
Written by Tom Kundert
Follow Tom on Twitter @Portu_Goal
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