Who is the defender who left São Paulo for ‘a bargain’, shines in Europe and enchants Jorge Jesus

Morato is one of the biggest highlights of the Benfica this season start. The defender should be an option for the Lisbon team for the return match against the PSV, this Tuesday, valid by playoffs gives Champions League. In the first duel, the Portuguese won 2-1, and the performance of the Brazilian revealed in the São Paulo was highly praised by coach Jorge Jesus.

“The player in the match against PSV was Morato. Morato is not surprising me. If we put him in the game it’s because we feel he is a young man with the capacity to establish himself in Benfica’s present and future. Now, it just depends on him and we believe that he is a player with a great future in the team,” said Mister.

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Felipe Rodrigues da Silva earned the nickname Morato for having been raised in Francisco Morato, a city in the metropolitan region of São Paulo. After starting at Portuguesa, the defender arrived in São Paulo and won several titles at the base.

According to the report found with people who worked at the club, the young man was calm both on and off the field. The defender spoke little and didn’t have a leadership profile, but he was friends with everyone on the team. He was considered very smart and could pick up instructions at the very first orientation.

At 16, Morato grew very fast, became a slow player and was in reserve during his first year at U17. As soon as he adapted to his new size, he became a fast defender with a privileged physical build. He was seen by coaches as a player who would not take long to play in Europe and be successful.

Another aspect that caught the attention of São Paulo was the above-average technical quality and the ability to build the game very easily. The defender was very much demanded by coaches to improve his header, seen as his main defect at the time, despite his good stature.

With rapid development, Morato was the holder of the São Paulo in the conquest of the São Paulo Cup of Junior Soccer in 2019 at just 17 years old under the command of coach Orlando Ribeiro. Then he started training with the professional team.

In Europe

In mid 2019, when he turned 18, Morato was bought by Benfica for 6 million euros (about R$ 27.3 million at the time) before even making his professional debut. São Paulo still got 15% of a future sale of the athlete.

“We paid six million euros for Morato and, if it were two or three months from now, we would have paid much more. He is a player who will earn much more. I think we made an excellent deal”, said Luís Filipe Vieira, president of the team. Lisbon at the time.

The defender was runner-up in the Uefa Youth League under-19 in 2020, losing the final to Real Madrid 3-2. In addition, he passed through the B team and played some games in the main team until he established himself once and for all among the professionals, in 2021.

This season, he played in four matches under the command of Jorge Jesus: there were four wins and only one goal conceded.