West Ham United are delighted to announce the signing of highly-rated Portuguese defender Gonçalo Cardoso for an undisclosed fee.
The Hammers beat off competition from a number of top European clubs to complete the transfer of the 18-year-old centre-back from Primeira Liga club Boavista on a five-year contract with an option to extend for a further year.
Cardoso, who started 15 league games last season and was part of the Portugal side which finished runners-up at the 2019 UEFA European U19 Championship finals in July, is looking to take his game to the next level at London Stadium.
"I am very excited and it’s a dream come true," said the teenager, who will wear the No20 shirt.
"I always dreamt of coming to England and now I’m here at this big, historic club, so I’m very happy.
"I’m an aggressive player, a little bit different on the pitch than off it. I’m calm, and I like to have the ball and build the game from the back.
"I’m here to work and to help the team reach their goals."
Hammers Director of Football Mario Husillos added: “We are very pleased to welcome Gonçalo to West Ham United. He is a young player at the very beginning of his career, having made the breakthrough to senior football with Boavista only last season.
“Our scouts in Portugal have watched his development very closely for some time now and we are very happy to have secured his transfer.
“He has made excellent progress at both club and international level, playing for Portugal in the European Under-19 Championship final this summer.
“He is of course a player for the future, with a lot of potential in front of him, but we feel he is ready to be with the first team squad from both a physical and technical point of view.
“He has a very good character and mentality, and speaks good English, which will help him to settle more quickly as a young player arriving in a new country.
“We look forward to seeing Gonçalo continue his development with us and wish him much success in the future at West Ham United.”
Born in the city of Marco de Canaveses in northern Portugal, Cardoso played for local clubs AD Marco 09 and Penafiel as a schoolboy before joining Porto-based Boavista at the age of 16 in 2017.
The 6’2 defender was promoted quickly through the ranks at the Estádio do Bessa, making his debut two weeks short of his 18th birthday in a 1-0 Primeira Division victory over Desportivo Aves on 7 October last year.
Such was Cardoso’s impact that Boavista kept five clean sheets in his first seven starts, with only Sporting Lisbon and Porto finding a way to score past him in those games.
In all, the teenager kept eight clean sheets in 15 appearances as The Panthers finished eighth in the Primeira Division table, while he also appeared in all three ties as Boavista reached the Portuguese Cup round of 16.
Cardoso’s promise was also recognised at international level, as he made his debut for Portugal U19s in a friendly win in Armenia in November 2018.
A first international goal arrived in June this year, in a 3-2 victory over England, before he added two more in Portugal’s run to fifth place at the Toulon Tournament, and another in his country’s group-stage win over Italy at the UEFA European Championship finals.
West Ham United would like to welcome Gonçalo to the Club and wish him every success for his career in Claret and Blue.