To keen observers of the UEFA Youth League, José Gomes's exploits in Azerbaijan should have come as little surprise.
The Guinea Bissau-born player managed seven goals in the Under-19 club tournament for Benfica during the 2015/16 season, a total the Portugal forward matched over 16 days in Baku.
It was there that Hélio Sousa's dominant and classy side won the Iberian nation's second UEFA European U17 Championship title, 13 years after a squad featuring João Moutinho, Miguel Veloso and Vieirinha swept to glory on home soil.
His seven strikes not only singled him out as the 2016 finals' leading scorer, however – they also made him the most prolific player in U17 EURO history. More on that later.
Gomes, like his team, wasted little time in laying down a marker, registering twice in the first 16 minutes as Portugal eased to a 5-0 triumph over the hosts in front of a U17 record 33,000 crowd on matchday one.
Gomes proceeded to find the net in each of his next three starts – with Sousa's charges already through, he was rested for all but the last few minutes of Portugal's concluding group game – until Spain did a commendable job in keeping the 17-year-old quiet in the final.
The height of his penalty-area prowess was illustrated by the fact five of his goals were headers; the others were a tap-in and a spot kick. To put it simply, wherever his team-mates delivered the ball into the box, Gomes, on target five times in qualifying, was usually on the end of it.
Austria in particular discovered that to their cost in the quarter-finals as Gomes hit a hat-trick. The No9 surpassed Spain's Paco Alcácer as the competition's 16-goal all-time top marksman with his treble-sealing strike after 47 minutes of another 5-0 victory.
While it was Gomes who was attracting all of the headlines, Sousa was keen to champion the efforts of the collective whenever he was asked about his prized asset. "I'm very pleased with all 18 players," he told UEFA.com. "They've been amazing throughout the tournament in all departments – not just on the field. José Gomes is no more important than the other 17."
As for Gomes himself, he was unaware of his historic feat, saying: "No, I didn't know. I'm a striker, it's my job to score, so it's very pleasing. I want to work hard, develop in every training session and match, and make it into the first team at Benfica."
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