Benfica have tied down three of their Portuguese players to new long-term contracts. 26-year-old full-back André Almeida, whose previous deal ran until 2019, has put pen to paper on a two-year extension, while Benfica B starlets José "Zé" Gomes and João Filipe have both signed five-year contracts.
André Gomes Magalhães de Almeida joined Benfica in 2011 on a free transfer from Lisbon neighbours Belenenses. The defender has made 159 appearances for the Encarnados, winning four league titles, four Portuguese League Cups, three Portuguese Supercups and two Portuguese Cups. He has also been capped eight times by the Portuguese national side.
Almeida’s first goal for the Águias came in January, in a 6-2 victory over Leixões in the quarter-finals of the Portuguese Cup, a tournament which Benfica went on to win for a record 26th time.
In recent weeks, Almeida was rumoured to be attracting attention from Premier League suitors Southampton and Crystal Palace, as well as Bundesliga outfit Eintracht Frankfurt. Despite his growing overseas popularity, Benfica’s number 34 signed a new contract on Friday, keeping him at Portugal’s most successful club until June 30th 2021.
Last season, Almeida's first team opportunities were limited by the impressive form of Nélson Semedo, but his former teammate's departure to Barcelona has presented Almeida with another chance to excel in his favoured position.
Portugal under-20 striker José "Zé" Gomes signed a new five-year contract on Thursday. The 18-year-old Guinea-Bissau-born forward has been with the club since he was 13, making five first team appearances and scoring seven times for Benfica B. Last season, Gomes picked up a Liga NOS winner's medal with Benfica's senior squad, and helped their under-19 side to finish as runners-up to Red Bull Salzburg in the UEFA Youth League.
Gomes has been part of the Portuguese youth setup since 2013, and fired Portugal under-17s to a second European Championship title in 2016, scoring in the penalty shootout in the Final. He netted seven times to be crowned the competition's top scorer and was also named the Player of the Tournament. This summer, Gomes was part of the Portugal squad that reached the quarter-finals of the under-20 World Cup.
Gomes’ Benfica B teammate João Pedro Neves Filipe signed a new five-year contract on Friday. The 18-year-old has been with the club since 2007. Nicknamed "Jota", the teenager has yet to feature for the first team, but has made 15 appearances for Benfica B, scoring once.
Like Gomes, Filipe scored in the penalty shootout of the 2016 under-17 European Championship Final. This year, he helped Portugal to finish as runners-up to England at the under-19 European Championship.
After committing their futures to Benfica, both youngsters will be hoping to make their mark this season in the Segunda Liga with Benfica B.