Life Before Wolves | Ivan Cavaleiro

Ivan Cavaleiro made a rip-roaring start to his Premier League career at the weekend, netting against Southampton with his first touch, but the Portuguese already had international honours and Champions League football to his name.

Benfica and Deportivo de La Coruña enjoyed his best football pre-Wolves, now Cavaleiro discusses what his football life had to offer prior to his Molineux move.

The start - Benfica | 2007-2015

I enjoyed Benfica a lot. I think it was my best year. We won trophies, leagues and cups. We went to the Europa League final, it was very good. We had some very good players like Nemanja Matić, Enzo Pérez and Luisão, so it was a great year.

La Liga chance - Deportivo de La Coruña | 2014/15

“Deportivo was my first time out of Portugal. It was a very good experience because we were fighting to stay in the league. I remember the last game of the season we played against Barcelona, it was a game we had to draw to stay in the league and we drew 2-2 so it was very good for the club. It was the last game of Xavi for Barcelona too and I played. I kept Messi’s shirt too. Unfortunately, now they’re in the second league but I hope they can get back to La Liga next year.”

Learning curve - Monaco | 2015/16

Monaco was a hard year. I was injured for six months. I don’t like to talk about it much because it was my worst year. Now I’ve had a similar injury and I’ve known how to deal with it.

International experience - Portugal | 2014

Playing for Portugal was a dream because it’s my country. When I was little playing football I didn’t realise I could get to that level and I was there playing with Pepe, Ronaldo, Nani and João Moutinho. It was a great experience, I was very happy to be in the squad. Now I have to get back.

Champions League experience - Benfica | 2013/14

I was in the Benfica squad for the Champions League. I have to thank Jorge Jesus the manager for calling me up. He let me play against very good teams like Olympiacos and PSG, and it was a great experience. I was very happy to step up to that level.

This article first appeared in the Wolves versus Leicester City matchday programme, which is available around Molineux on matchdays for just £3, and also featured content with Leo Bonatini, Paul Butler and Ruben Neves . Back issues are available in the Molineux Megastore and online now.