Francisco Trincão – Player Report

Name:Francisco Antόnio Machado Mota Castro Trincão
DOB:29th December 1999 (20 years old)
Club:SC Braga
Position:Right winger

Francisco Trincão is a young, left footed winger who has recently completed a move to FC Barcelona for the 2020/21 season for a fee of €31m (£26m). For a young player still learning his trade that is a big fee, however he certainly has the quality to make that fee look like a bargain and repay Barcelona with the faith they are putting into him.

The young Portuguese, who started off at Braga U15, worked his way up through the ranks for two seasons at Braga before being loaned out to Palmeiras U17 where he played for one season before returning back to Braga and playing for the U17 for one season. In the summer of 2016, aged only 16, he was promoted to Braga B. While playing for the B team, he played 2,504 minutes scoring 6 goals and assisting 6 times. He then went on to make his debut for the first team in December of 2018, and a year later scored his first goal in the group stages of the Europa League.

Francisco plays on the right wing in a 1-3-4-3 shape or as a right midfielder in a 1-4-4-2/1-4-1-3-2. Although he can hold the width for Braga he can also drift into central areas to allow the RB or the RWB to push up the field. At times when Braga has deployed a 1-4-1-3-2 when in possession, Trincão would tend to rotate with the CAM and use the space which the CAM has opened up and normally receive the ball off the centre half as seen below.

This sometimes leads to Trincão being fouled as he has been doubled up on, however due to his awareness and technical ability he’d sometimes play the ball in between the two opponents to the CAM who is now unmarked.

Below we see another scenario, where now the ST has moved into the wide position and rotating with Trincão who is makes the run into central area. Due to his pace and good dribbling, this is something which Trincão uses often to advance up the field into dangerous areas and this leads to him either being fouled or creating a chance for his team.

Below we see an example of Trincão holding the width which allows his team mate to stay in the half space to receive the ball. If the CB was to play that ball to the RCM and he was to turn then he and Trincão would create an overload. This highlights his awareness and intelligence on the field to recognize how he can pull a defender towards him to open up space for others.

One thing I would like to see him improve on is making more runs in behind the opposition line, beating the offside trap and receiving a long ball from his centre half. This requires him to focus more on the backline, being a winger allows him to see across the whole back line, and time his run using either a direct run or an arched run in behind. This would either lead to him being in a 1v1 situation with the keeper, or would open up more space for full back and CM to receive the ball and turn towards goal. If Francisco was to receive the long ball he would have no problem getting it under control due to his calmness in the final third and his brilliant ball control.

Below you can see Trincão’s heatmap for the season so far.

Source: SofaScore

Trincão is around 6ft tall, and it is no surprise that he has the strength to hold off challenges with opposition resorting to bringing him down after not being able to get near the ball. One thing he is very good at is putting his body in between the ball and the opposition which leads to him being fouled, allowing his team to retain the ball.

Despite being technically gifted, Trincão’s passing can sometimes be sloppy, especially in the attacking third with Francisco having a 68% passing accuracy in the opposition half. However, part of this is due to his creative instincts as he likes to play the difficult passes to try and make something happen with Francisco creating 11 big chances for the Portuguese side in 17 games. This is something which will only improve as he gains more experience, especially once he makes his move to Barcelona. As Trincão isn’t fully comfortable on using his right foot, he likes to play forward passes with the outside of his left foot especially inside ones too the ST or the CM where they would then hold the ball up as Trincão would make an inside run and receive the ball back.

His crossing is very good, as he is Braga’s corner kick tacker he has the ability to put balls in dangerous areas for his team mates to attack. In open play, he likes to cut the ball back from wide areas for a player making the run from deep to attack. However, one thing I would like to see him improve on is to cross the ball across the goal line (aim for space and not a team mate), this would add more assists to his game especially when playing alongside strikers who have good movement in the box.

One thing which he could improve on is his decision making in the final third, more specifically when he is in the half space with the ball on his left foot and the striker or RB is making an underlap/overlap and, if they were to receive the ball, would be in a much more dangerous position.

In the above photo we see an example from Bragas away fixture in the Europa League to Slovan Bratislava. Trincão has the ball in the right half space on his left foot and looks to be cutting in. As we can also see the inside player is making an underlap into the space behind the LB who is 1v1 with Trincão. Although the GK is in a good position for Trincão to cut in and shoot, there are 2/3 defenders who could block this shot (as you see in the next photo). The right option here would be for the Portuguese to play the ball in front of the teammate making the underlap as they would have a free shot at goal (See yellow line).

Below we see the outcome of Trincão cutting in, as you can see he has a slight gap to get his shot off however there are 2/3 defenders who could block his shot. In the above photo we also see another option which Trincão could take and that is to lay the ball off with either a backheel or Francisco could to turn and play the ball in front of the RB who is making the overlap. See yellow lines below. 

When pressing, Trincão is very good at noticing the space and where the opposition are behind him to stop the ball from being played up the pitch. This is due to him being able to scan behind him when the LCB/LB have the ball and adapt the angle of his run when pressing the ball to force the opposition to go long or to play backwards.

One thing which Francisco could improve on defensivley is following the opposition overlap/underlap when helping out his full back, especially in wide areas. He can sometimes allow his runner to get passed him due to ball watching which either leaves his team mate (normally the RB) in a 2v1 situation. The way he could do this would be by developing an understanding with his full back and working out who will mark the man on the ball and who will mark the player doing the overlap/underlap.

This is something he will no doubt have to learn once he moves to Spain due to the higher level of full backs he will come up against in Spain and in Europe, however with age and experience he will absolutely improve this area of his game.

With 6 league goals in 17 games, averaging a goal every 127 minutes, Trincᾶo is Bragas 3rd top scorer in the league this season. This is a very good when you realise he only takes on average 1.4 shots a game. Despite being a who doesn’t really favour his right foot when dribbling and passing, Trincão doesn’t seem fazed when having to use his right foot to shoot. One of his key weapons is being able to cut in on his left and score, however what is even more impressive is when he cuts in but delays the shot to move a few defenders out of his way before putting the ball in the net.

Above we can see Trincão in the box, despite having 3 defenders around him he doesn’t pull the trigger to early and decides to continue his run and delay the shot until he can get a clear sight.

Despite this, as seen above, the ball still ends up in the bottom corner after a powerful strike. This could become his trademark goal in the next few years due to his calmness in the box, brilliant left foot as well as the movement of his (world class) team mates whom he shall play with in Barcelona.


Despite only seeing a handful of games, this is definetley a player who has the quality, the intelligence and the work ethic to make it as one of the best wingers in Spain and potentially even in Europe. His close control alongside his awareness and calmness in the final third is something which will only improve as he learns alongside the likes of Messi, Griezmann, Dembele at Barcelona and Silva and Ronaldo at Portugal. Due to the high volume of young talent at Barca with players such as Dembele, Ansu Fati and Pedri he will have to work as hard as he can to beat them to a first team place however competition will only help him get better. Also, he could be one of Portugals main men for the next decade if he continues to develop.

Rating: A1

Twitter: @EmiraldoBrace


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