Former Nottingham Forest loanee Diogo Goncalves has been rewarded for a fine season at Portuguese giants Benfica.
The 24-year-old has been named as the club’s Breakthrough Player of the Year for his form during the 2020/21 campaign.
He has made 29 appearances for the club, scoring two goals and claiming six assists.
Goncalves has manged to force his way into Jorge Jesus’ team, often operating in a role as the right-sided wing-back.
Against Arsenal in the Europa League he scored a wonderful free-kick in the second leg as Benfica went down 3-2 to the Premier League outfit.
Goncalves has showcased his versatility during the season. He has played in defensive roles and has also operated on the right-wing.
His form this season has been in stark contrast to the form he showed at Forest – even if chances were often restricted.
Goncalves signed at the start of the 2018/19 campaign and was backed to really take off in English football.
That never transpired though and after featuring in just 10 games, the Reds unsurprisingly opted against paying his staggering £18 million release clause.
Now, he’s clearly showing Benfica what he’s all about. He has an abundance of trickery, works hard and is capable of chipping in with goal contributions.
What went wrong at Forest?
Given that he was only 21-years-old when he arrived on Trentside, it was always going to be tricky to adapt.
Goncalves started the first game of the season but that proved to be his last Championship start for the Reds.
He would make just six more appearances in the league and wasn’t in the squad for any of the final nine games of the season.
The fact he didn’t make the grade in England doesn’t make him a bad player though.
Plenty of young, overseas imports don’t succeed in England and Goncalves is now busy proving his doubters wrong.
Jesus has trusted him this season in Portugal and next season he will hope to become a more prominent member of the first-team.
Forest supporters will continue to monitor his progress with intrigue.