Talking Points | Trincao: From Camp Nou to Molineux

The loan signing of Barcelona winger Francisco Trincao has seen Wolves add to their large Portuguese contingent at Molineux.

Despite his tender age, the 21-year-old will bring lots of experience to the West Midlands, while reuniting with several of his former teammates in old gold, and has expanded on four talking points from Trincao’s career to date, which has seen him go from Portugal to England via Spain.

#1 Growing up with Neto

One of the many familiar faces Trincao will reunite with on his first day of Wolves training at Compton Park is that of Pedro Neto. The two wingers – who were born just three months apart – both grew up in the Portuguese town of Viana do Castelo, before playing for their hometown club SC Vianense together as children during the 2008/09 season. Although Trincao was only with Neto for the one year as he moved to Porto’s academy, but he soon returned to Vianense. The pair were back together once again in 2013 as they featured for Braga’s youth team, and it was here where the pair finished their development ahead of embarking on professional careers with ‘Arsenalistas’.

Despite their similar paths – which also match up at junior international level, with the pair having represented Portugal at every age level – Trincao and Neto somehow never played a professional match together at Braga, as the latter played just four times for the club ahead of spending two years on loan at Lazio and his permanent switch to Wolves. In that time, Trincao was a regular in the Braga B attack and was then moved up to the first-team for 2018/19.

#2 A European debut at Molineux

While at Braga during the 2019/20 season, Trincao experienced European football for the first time in his career, and his inaugural appearance in the Europa League just so happened to come at what will be his new home. The winger was a second-half substitute at Molineux as Braga ran out 1-0 winners in the Group K opener thanks to Ricardo Horta’s strike. His first Braga goal also had implications on his future club, as by scoring and assisting in the final group game victory over Slovan Bratislava, that secured Braga’s place at the top of the group, while consigning Wolves to second place.

Although mainly a substitute for the first-half of that season, it was after Christmas under new manager Ruben Amorim where Trincao began to show what he could do on the big stage. His first domestic league goal came in a 7-1 demolition of Belenenses SAD, before a run of six goals and four assists in eight games moved Braga up the Liga NOS table and closed the gap with Benfica and Porto in the top three places. His positive run toward the season’s conclusion also saw Trincao feature in the final of the Portuguese league cup, coming on in the second period as Braga claimed victory over Porto to lift the trophy.

#3 Big money move to Barca

Just under 18 months ago, in the midst of his stunning run of goals and assists for Braga, Trincao realised the dream of many a young footballer by putting pen to paper on a contract with footballing giants Barcelona, as he was announced to be joining the club in the summer of 2020. Following the conclusion of the Portuguese season, he made the move to Spain, making his La Liga debut in Camp Nou that September when he appeared off the bench as Barca ran out 4-0 winners over Villarreal, before his first start came a month later in the 5-1 home rout of Hungarian outfit Ferencvaros in the group stages of the Champions League.

His appearances in the blue and red stripes of Barca last season mainly came from the bench, as he played backup to French starting right-winger Antoine Greizmann. Yet in his first La Liga start for the club, and the only time he played a full 90 minutes in the league, Trincao was the man of the moment as he netted a brace to help Barca secure a 5-1 win over Deportivo Alaves, one week after his opening league goal closed out a narrow victory over Real Betis – a team who he will be soon reunited with, having been announced as one of Wolves’ five pre-season opponents ahead of the start of the Premier League season. However, he did find more luck came his way in the Copa Del Rey, as Trincao featured heavily in the opening rounds to help secure Barcelona’s place in the semi-final, before the team lifted the title in a comprehensive victory over Athletic Bilbao.

#4 International honours

In the months after his move to Barcelona, Trincao received the news he was to join up with the Portugal national team squad for the first time. He joined his new Wolves teammates Rui Patricio, Ruben Neves and Joao Moutinho by being announced in the squad for the Nations League matches against Croatia and Sweden last September. Trincao was one of two Barca men named by Fernando Santos in that squad – coincidentally, the other being Nelson Semedo, who made the move to Molineux himself just weeks later.

The six senior caps he has since earned have all come as reward for his achievements with Portugal at junior level, in which he represented his country at every age category, but especially his exploits in the 2018 European Under-19 Championships. Ending the competition at top goalscorer, Trincao started the campaign in top form, scoring twice in a 3-1 victory over a Norway side which eliminated England, before another double followed in a 5-0 semi-final drubbing of Ukraine. His fifth and final goal of the tournament took the final with Italy to extra-time, before Portugal eventually ran out 4-3 winners.