Andre Silva served as Portugal's understudy to idol Cristiano Ronaldo at UEFA Euro 2020, and the new RB Leipzig striker is now looking to build on his record-breaking 28 Bundesliga goals for Eintracht Frankfurt in 2020/21.
bundesliga.com helps you get to know the 25-year-old striker a bit better…
1) "Little Deco"
Silva may be a ruthless marksman in front of goal today, but that wasn't always the case. He played deeper as a youngster and originally operated in midfield when he started out at Salgueiros. And it was there that he was given the nickname "Little Deco" after the iconic ex-Barcelona, Porto and Portugal playmaker.
"Before joining Porto, I played in midfield and have also played in a wider role," Silva later explained. "It was only when I arrived at Porto that I was played through the middle and I can't say that I was happy because I didn't think I would be as effective in that position. But with playing time on a regular basis, I began to improve a lot and that resulted in me getting to the level that I am at now."
Watch: Andre Silva - Portuguese roots
2) The Karate Kid
Football may have been the one that stuck, but it wasn't Silva's only sport growing up. The Baguim do Monte native also took part in hockey, swimming and karate - although he never got beyond his white belt.
"When I was younger I played so many different sports, such as karate and hockey," Silva said. "I've always been very competitive. I like to win and that is what I try to do in any sport I'm involved in. The truth is that I chose football because it is everyone's sport, played by the most people and it was easier to play on the playground in school."
3) Don't ask him to share his PlayStation
Like many a kid - and many a footballer - Silva was a keen gamer, and he still plays EA Sports' FIFA to this day with his cousins. Just don't ask him to share the controller.
"It seems like I had a PlayStation and spent whole afternoons playing games, while my cousins and my brother were all afternoon looking at me waiting for their turn to play and it never came," he once joked. He later revealed that either Barcelona or Manchester City are his team of choice now. "My cousins always choose other very strong teams,” he told O Jogo. "Since I don't like to lose at anything, it has to be this way."
Watch: Silva's Bundesliga best bits
4) He loved maths at school
When Silva wasn't playing on his PlayStation, scoring goals in the playground or performing takedowns at the dojo, he was studying as much as possible. And there was one subject that particularly piqued his interest: maths.
"In the breaks I played soccer, but I always liked to study," he explained. "I loved maths and physical education. I loved doing multiplication tables and did it everywhere. It's true that as kids we learn things faster and for me it was a good foundation for the future. The only thing I didn't like about maths was the tabulations. They're out of the question!"
5) He now loves scoring goals
That fondness for numbers will have helped Silva keep track of all the goals he’s got over the years. Considering both the volume he’s scored them in, and his love for doing so, those numbers are adding up with each passing week.
"Yeah, it's amazing [scoring goals]," Silva told bundesliga.com. "I started in football because I wanted to feel this type of fire inside of me. I always felt fire in me to achieve a lot of goals and to make my best all the time, and I think one thing is to make the best for me, and the other thing is to make the best for the people that are supporting us. It feels very good, and I can say it makes my day when this happens. That's what I play for."
6) A habit for hat-tricks
Silva's handiness with the times table must also be useful as he has a fondness for scoring in multiples. He became the first player since Brazil legend Romario in 1993/94 to score a hat-trick on his La Liga debut with Sevilla in 2018, and also bagged three in just his third appearance for the Portugal national team.
Those trebles are backed up by one more professional hat-trick in the UEFA Europa League with AC Milan, while Silva hit seven braces in 2020/21 for Eintracht.
7) Cristiano Ronaldo is his idol
Perhaps it's no surprise that Silva spent much of his youth looking up to Portugal legend Ronaldo. The five-time Ballon d’Or winner and five-time Champions League winner - who has over 100 goals in both that competition and for his country - is an inspirational figure in his homeland.
"My big idol? It was Cristiano [Ronaldo] because in my time he was already at [Manchester] United, and he was the star in Portugal," Silva once said. "If it's possible to achieve the same as him, I'll sign right now and say I want this."
Ronaldo, though, has been a long-time admirer of Silva too.
"When I retire, Portugal will be in good hands because they have already found a great striker: Andre Silva," Ronaldo said in 2017. "He's doing a phenomenal job, and not just thanks to his goals."
8) The record breaker: Part I
Silva's move to Frankfurt saw him link up with Goncalo Paciencia, another Portuguese forward who he had played with in the youth ranks at Porto. The two men played up front together for Silva's Bundesliga's debut in September 2019, with Paciencia getting on the scoresheet in a 2-1 loss against Augsburg. Paciencia finished with seven league goals that season, a tally bettered by his compatriot the following year. With 12 goals in 25 appearances in 2019/20, Silva registered the most goals by a Portuguese player in a single Bundesliga season.
9) The record breaker: Part II
There would be no danger of second-season syndrome kicking in for the Eagles frontman in Germany, as he upped his game in 2020/21. So much so that he helped his side finish fifth in the table and broke a club record in the process by scoring 28 goals - 40 per cent of his team's total for the season. No Eintracht player had previously scored more than 26 in a single campaign, a high mark set by Bernd Hölzenbein in 1967/77. Silva scored against 15 of his 17 top-flight opponents, and was second only to the ultimate record breaker - Robert Lewandowski - in that season's scoring charts.
Watch: All 28 of Silva's 28 Bundesliga goals in 2020/21
Silva's last goal of a memorable campaign came in a final-day win over Freiburg. It took his overall Bundesliga tally to 40 goals in 57 appearances, something only five players in history had managed in a shorter time.
10) Portugal’s Euro 2016 win inspires him
Although he missed out on the tournament himself, Silva took great inspiration from watching his countrymen become European champions for the first time in Euro 2016. With Ronaldo helping them to glory, the team led by Fernando Santos won UEFA Euro 2016 thanks to a 1-0 extra-time success against host country France.
"If a Portuguese player can achieve a big goal, they make the kids dream," Silva said. "If this guy who is born in the same country as me, that has the same culture or lives in the same place, if he can make it, maybe I can make it? It can make the kids dream, and I think it's the bigger reason that afterwards, Portuguese guys can achieve more too.”
Silva wasn't able to inspire Portugal to success in their Euro 2020 defence, but he is now dreaming of further success with both club and country following his move to Leipzig in July 2021.
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