Sunday, January 30, 2022

Benfica a shadow of their former selves

Benfica Blog

Benfica are Benfica in name only, the club is a shadow of it's former self, the self that we all became accustomed to over the past few seasons that saw the club capture 18 trophies in Portugal from 2010 to 2019 as well as make the Europa League final on two occasions. The past two games in the Taca da Liga was the evidence of how far this club has fallen from those glory days.

Benfica under performed to such a drastic level that I fear what awaits the club when the take on Ajax next month on the Champions League round of 16. Jorge Jesus wrecked what was left of this club and although unfair to paint current intern manager Nelson Verissimo in the same boat, we can say he is far from an improvement and his appointment alone tells us that the club hierarchy has given up on the season, so too shall we.

Changes at Benfica are needed from the players all the way to the top, the club needs a new direction, a new manager with a vision and a set of new players that have not only a passion for winning but a passion for the crest that sits atop their heart. Benfica are now a club in search of an identity and that identity can start to begin next season with the appointment of a manager. The fans who are the life line of the club deserve better, we deserve a club that gives it their all even if the outcome is not to our liking. Is that too much to ask? 

The passion we need, the will to win and the fortitude to not lose, forward to 3:08 and 7:10 to see the goals and what we are currently lacking.


Friday, January 28, 2022

Seferovic bags are packed for unknown destination

Benfica Blog
Haris Seferovic's name is being mentioned in numerous sports pages across Europe with a move out of Benfica before the transfer window closes on Monday. Seferovic who is currently recovering from an injury has been linked with Turkish club Fenerbahce and English side Brighton & Hove Albion but terms of any potential deal have yet to be disclosed. Benfica during the summer months had a €20M price tag on the Swiss striker after a great Euro 2020 campaign but failed to take advantage of the added interest and now would more then likely receive a lower amount then what could have been obtained at the time. Seferovic has struggled for playing time this season while battling injuries and has appeared in only twelve games across all competitions, scoring five goals while setting up three in 468 minutes of action.

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Benfica to face Sporting in Taca da Liga Final

Benfica Blog
Benfica are set to face cross town rivals Sporting in the Taca da Liga final this upcoming Saturday after both clubs won their semi-final games this week. Benfica will be making a return to the final of a competition that they have won on seven occasions but not since the 2015-16 season. While Sporting have won the competition three times and have captured titles, three out of the last four years and are the current defending champions.

Benfica goes into the competition missing some key players who are away on international duty or in COVID protocols. Benfica will be without leading scorer Darwin Nunez and starting center back and vice captain Nico Otamendi who are both on international duty. Benfica will also be out winger Rafa Silva who tested positive for COVID on Tuesday and will miss the final after already missing the semi-final game.

Benfica who arrived in the final after a penalty kick victory over Boavista on Tuesday night, will be hard pressed to come out of the competition as champions if their poor form continues going into the game on Saturday. The managerial change seems to have done little to snap the club out of their funk and their city rivals Sporting would be quite content to add to the misery of the club and it's fans.

Sunday, January 23, 2022

Benfica working on bringing back Florentino

Benfica Blog
The times have changed at Benfica with the departure of Jorge Jesus, as the club under intern manager Nelson Verissimo seems ready to give more of their youth a chance to show what they can do as we have seen so far with Goncalo Ramos, Paulo Bernardo and Morato all getting more minutes under Verissimo. 

The next youngster that the club looks ready to give some playing time to is defensive midfielder Florentino Luis who is currently on loan with Spanish side Getafe until the end of the season. The club is in talks to end the loan spell early and have Florentino return to Lisbon. Florentino who is still only 22 years old was a key piece in Benfica's last league title who stepped in to fill an injury voud in the clubs final ten games of that season.

Friday, January 21, 2022

Five players could say good-bye to Benfica this month

Benfica Blog
Benfica are looking to slim down the squad as intern manager Nelson Verissimo looks to work with a smaller group of players as he finishes off the season on the clubs sideline. Reports from Portugal have named five current squad players as the more likely to depart before the winter transfer window closes on the 31st of this month.

The five players reported to be set to move on from the club is sparingly used loanee Nemanja Radonjic, youngsters Ferro and Gedson Fernandes who both look set to be loaned to other clubs for some playing time. The final two names are players Benfica hope to sell during the window with both Moroccan midfielder Taarabt and Swiss striker Haris Seferovic available, the latter should have been sold during the summer when his value was at an all time high after a good Euro 2020 performance.

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Brazilian clubs circle Benfica's Everton

Benfica Blog

Benfica's Brazilian winger Everton is coveted by a trio of clubs from Brazil who are interested in landing the 25 year old's services at the conclusion of this season. Current league Champions Atletico Mineiro, Flamengo and Palmeiras are the clubs linked with Everton but Benfica have no interest in moving the player known as Cebolinha if their €20M price tag is not met which is the same sum the club paid Gremio to acquire the player in the summer of 2019.

Everton's time at Benfica has had moments of flash and skill but overall his time at the club has been on the more disappointing side as he has struggled to find his footing, amid rave reviews on his arrival to the Lisbon club. Everton has appeared in seventy-five games with Benfica across all competitions, scoring twelve goals while setting up sixteen. Benfica will owe Gremio 20% of any future sale of the player as was agreed when the two clubs came to the original agreement.

Monday, January 17, 2022

Benfica makes proposal to Shevchenko?

Benfica Blog
Benfica will be in the market for a new club manager when the season concludes and according to agent and Italian TV personality Alex Velikikh, the Lisbon club has made a proposal to former Ukraine national team member Andriy Shevchenko. Benfica have denied the claims and state that the club only approached current intern manager Nelson Verissimo to take over the club until at least the end of this current season.

The 45 year old Shevchenko is a former teammate of current club President Rui Costa. The two played together at AC Milan from 2001 to 2006 were they captured a Champions League title during the 2002-03 season along with other silverware. Shevchenko spent 52 games in charge of the Ukraine national team before signing with Italian club Genoa this past November but was let go this weekend after a mere 11 games.

Saturday, January 15, 2022

Benfica's shot at league title dims

Benfica Blog

Benfica's hope of recapturing the Portuguese League title continues to get further and further away after the club dropped points once again in league action earlier today. Benfica could be as far back as nine points from top spot once Week 18 in Portugal wraps up depending what happens with league leader FC Porto in their encounter tomorrow.

The season has just passed the half way point and with sixteen games of action left to go, anything is still possible but Benfica will need to go on a remarkable run and get help along the way, since they no longer control their own destiny. Benfica have been on what would be considered a mediocre run in league play with a 5-2-2 record in their last nine league games after starting the first nine 8-0-1.

Benfica who are currently led by intern manager Nelson Verissimo after the dismissal of Jorge Jesus, look like a club that is in need of a make over not a total overhaul. The club has some great young pieces and quality veteran presence but need to clear out some spare parts (which I will name in a future article) to get back on track and capture their 38th league crown, just don't expect it this season.

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Benfica linked to Famalicao's left back

Benfica blog
According to reports from Spanish daily AS, Benfica have been linked with Famalicao left back Adrian Marian who is currently spending the season with the Portuguese club on loan from Granada. Benfica are not alone in their pursuit of the 25 year old as Braga are also a club that are said to be interested in Marin's services.

Marin has appeared in 17 games across all competitions for Famalicao, scoring one goal. Marin came up through Villareal's youth system before moving onto Leganes, Alaves and then Granada. Famalicao has an undisclosed option to make Marin's loan move permanent at seasons end, in which time they can then flip the player for a profit to one of it's league rivals.

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Benfica linked to Flamengo left back Ramon

Benfica Blog

Benfica are said to have their eye on Flamengo's 20 year old left back Ramon Ramos Lima as a potential replacement for current left back Alex Grimaldo who is currently in stalled contract talks with the club. Grimaldo's contract is set to expire at the end of next season and Benfica are doing their best to lock up the 26 year old with other clubs already hovering.

Ramon is a player that Benfica have had their eye on for some time and is considered a jewel of the Flamengo club but although the Lisbon side is interested they have not made any formal offer for the player's services. Ramon joined Flamengo in the winter of 2017 and appeared in 30 games across all competitions last season.

Monday, January 10, 2022

Verissimo looking at Ramos to be Felix?

Benfica Blog

New intern manager Nelson Verissimo looks to have taken a page out of former Benfica skipper Bruno Lage's playbook when he inserted 20 year old Goncalo Ramos into the starting eleven this weekend in a formation that resembles Benfica's last winning championship under Lage going back to the 2018-19 season.

Lage made his debut with Benfica in January 6, 2019 replacing Rui Vitoria and on his drive home while preparing for his first game, the former manager decided to bet on a 19 year old kid named Joao Felix to shake things up at the club. We all know how that turned out as Felix exploded onto the scene, finishing the season with twenty goals across all competitions while setting up an additional fourteen as Benfica regained their league crown.

Felix would then depart during the summer months joining Spanish club Atletico Madrid in a record setting sale that would see Benfica add €127M to its coffer. Verissimo sees the highly regarded Ramos as playing the same type of role in the secondary striker position as Felix did during that magical season returning the club to the 4-4-2 formation over Jesus' preferred 3-5-2 system.

Ramos has already seen an uptick in playing time over Verissimo's first two games appearing in 125 minutes compared to 881 under Jesus's tenure this season which covered 30 games across all competitions. Ramos has chipped in a modest goal and assist to date but with regular playing minutes and a gain of confidence could Ramos bring to Benfica what Felix did, only time will tell and we have half a season to find out.

Friday, January 7, 2022

Benfica dealing with another COVID-19 outbreak

Benfica Blog

As the COVID-19 pandemic's case count continues to soar around the world with a new and more contagious variant, Benfica has not been spared in their dealings with the virus as the club has been hit once again with an outbreak. The outbreak at this time is not at the extent of last season's outbreak and with vaccines in the picture we hope that the case count continues to remain at the current level. 

Benfica will be without players Vlachodimos, Pizzi, Meite, Radonjic, Yaremchuk and Svilar, who have all tested postive over the last 72 hours while left back Alex Grimaldo has returned to training since his positive result over a week ago. Benfica have called up B squad keeper Leo Kokubo to back up Helton Leite with the club down to one keeper as they prepare for Sunday's league encounter against Pacos Ferreira.

Update: Jan Vertonghen has also tested positive for COVID-19

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Atletico Madrid interested in Benfica keeper

Benfica Blog
Spanish club Atletico Madrid is once again linked with a player from Benfica as the Lisbon club looks set to negotiate another move with the Madrid giants. Atletico are looking for a keeper to push current number one and former Benfica shot stopper Jan Oblak and feel that the clubs Greek starter is the perfect player for the job.

Atletico are said to be willing to offer Benfica their choice of current club players Hector Herrera and Geoffrey Kondogbia as part of the negotiation which could be valued at €20M according to Atletico and Benfica's last player negotiation was the €127.8M deal that saw Joao Felix move from Benfica to Atletico in the summer of 2019. 

Monday, January 3, 2022

Benfica looking at Atletico Mineiro defender

Benfica Blog

Benfica is interested in Atletico Mineiro center back Nathan Silva according to reports coming out of his native country Brazil. Benfica are in negotiations for a loan move for the 24 year old defender with a purchase option of around €5M to make the move permanent at the end of the season. 

Nathan appeared in 52 games across all competitions in 2021 between the Brazilian Champions and Goianiense, scoring 4 goals while setting up another. Nathan has been a member of Mineiro for many seasons but only earned regular playing minutes with the Belo Horizonte side this season, catching the attention of Benfica.