Rookie Western Sydney Wanderers striker Presley Ortiz has landed a dream move to Portuguese powerhouse Sporting CP, the club which nurtured Cristiano Ronaldo and Luis Figo.
Ortiz will join Young Socceroo and Joeys FIFA U-17 World Cup winger Tristan Hammond at the 18-time Primeira Liga champions.
A regular member of the Wanderers senior squad under former boss Markus Babbel, Ortiz - who turned 17 on Monday - never made his senior A-League debut and will jet to his new home in August to begin his European adventure with the Lions’ U-18 team.
The son of former Melita Eagles NSL player Christian Ortiz, Presley spent a week on trial at Sporting late last year, scoring three goals with two assists from two games.
The club had seen enough and informed Ortiz’s Sydney-based representative Alain Barataud of their desire to offer a three-and-a-half year deal to the National Youth League starlet, with the contract set to commence on July 1.
The club were keen for Ortiz to stay on after his trial, but the decision was made to return home to be with his family as the COVID-19 outbreak worsened.
It’s understood Sporting’s academy coaching staff believe the forward - who impressed with his character, commitment and predatory prowess - might also be deployed as an attacking midfielder.
Championship club Nottingham Forest were also interested, but it was felt Ortiz’s development would be fast-tracked at Sporting who have a rich history of producing and polishing future stars, with Bruno Fernandes’ $150 million departure to Manchester United four months ago a case in point.
Wanderers academy technical director Ian Crook said of the move: “It’s a great opportunity for the boy.
“When he has a chance like that you don’t stand in his way.
“One of his biggest assets is his attitude, which is terrific. He also has an excellent work ethic.
“He’s a sort of back-to-goal player who is also dynamic in the air and links play well.”
Asked how far Ortiz might progress, former Tottenham and Norwich midfielder Crook replied: “His attitude is good enough to get him this far - now it’s just a case of him stepping up again.”