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Benfica academy boss’ son signs for Barnsley

By Doug O'Kane, Sports Editor Friday 11th July 2014
Pedro Carneiro signs with academy coaches Ronnie Branson, right. and Mark Burton.

The ties between Barnsley and Benfica have been strengthened this week after the son of the Portuguese champions' academy director signed with the Reds.


Portuguese youth international Pedro Zêzere Neves Carneiro, 16, has penned a two-year scholarship. The attacking midfielder has played for both Benfica and Sporting Lisbon and also had a spell at Manchester City. On the club's website he stated his ambition was to 'be the best and in the FIFA XI of the Year'.


Pedro's father Armando visited Oakwell last season while on a tour of English clubs and was so impressed by the Reds' academy that he invited coaches Ronnie Branson and Mark Burton over to Lisbon to give a talk to Benfica's staff including former AC Milan and Portugal star Rui Costa.


The two clubs are hoping to form a link that allows them to face each other in pre-season friendlies and send academy and first team players on loan either way. There could also be coaching and squad trips between the clubs and Pedro may be the first of several Benfica youngsters to join Barnsley.


"The lines of communication are open with Benfica and our academy has a really good relationship with them," said chief executive Ben Mansford.


"There is plenty of dialogue going on but, at the moment, there is nothing imminent in terms of signings between the clubs or friendly dates. We've signed Pedro but we don't want to single him out too much because there are a lot of good players in that team."


The other new first year scholars include James Bree who made his first team debut on the final day of last season against Queens Park Rangers. The 16-year-old from Wakefield can play in central midfield or at right-back and his two-year scholarship will turn into a professional deal until 2017.


Jack Alton, who scored a stunning volley for the under 18s against Newcastle in the FA Youth Cup last season, has also signed up.


The other new first years are Jack Walton, Logan Jeffs, Liam Reilly, Sam Hanna and George Proctor. The under 18s begin their pre-season at home to Rotherham tomorrow.