Sunday, February 27, 2022

Benfica fans and club show their class in Yaremchuk support

Benfica fans gave Ukrainian striker Roman Yaremchuk a standing ovation when he entered today's 3-0 victory over Guimaraes in a rare sporting moment that was more then just about football bringing the 26 year old to tears as he acknowledged the fans support for his homeland who is currently at war with Russia after being attacked just a few days past.

Yaremchuk was also given the captain's arm band by Jan Vertonghen as he entered along with a hug in support of the striker who I am sure is dealing with sleepless nights worrying about loved ones back home. Many Benfica fans attending today's game wore Ukraine's blue and yellow colours along with signs in support of Ukraine in the on going conflict.

Yaremchuk made the news all over the world Wednesday when he removed his jersey after scoring the tying goal for Benfica in their Champions League draw, revealing a black t-shirt with the Ukrainian coat of arms that he was wearing underneath. Although Yaremchuk did receive a yellow card for his actions, he escaped any punishment by UEFA with his political display.

Thursday, February 24, 2022

Benfica head to Amsterdam with hope

Benfica Blog
Benfica with a strong second half performance in their Champions League round of 16 encounter against Ajax yesterday has given their fans something to talk about, some may say even some hope going into their second leg encounter in Amsterdam after the 2-2 draw. Benfica's second half, had the favoured Dutch side on the ropes and they could have even won the game if a break or two had gone their way. This coming after a first half that saw the club for the most part, hanging on for dear life.

The club that emerged from the half came out with a purpose and surprised many fans, myself included with their fine play. Benfica will now need to duplicate that second half as they travel to Amsterdam to face the Dutch club on March 15 if they are to have any chance of advancing to the quarter-final stage and pocketing an additional €10.6M from UEFA for doing so. With the away goal rule abolished this season, Benfica has one less thing to be concerned about heading into the game that looks like a winner take all affair.


Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Botafogo in talks with Benfica for Gilberto

Benfica Blog
Brazilian club Botafogo are looking to land Benfica's 28 year old right back Gilberto as businessman and new club owner John Textor is set to travel to Lisbon to meet with Benfica officials to seal the move. Textor is the same Textor who had his advancements to purchase a percentage of Benfica rejected late last year by the board. Botafogo are said to be ready to pay Benfica around €4M for the services of Gilberto.

Gilberto joined Benfica in the summer of 2020 for €3M from Brazilian side Fluminense but has failed to wrestle away the regular starting role at the club. Gilberto has appeared in 59 games across all competitions since his arrival, scoring four goals while setting up an additional three. The Brazilian transfer window closes April 12 so Gilberto would be able to leave immediately if terms are agreed.


Sunday, February 20, 2022

Benfica set for Ajax with little hope of advancing

Benfica Blog
Benfica get set to face Dutch side Ajax in the first leg of the Champions League round of 16 in Lisbon and head into the game having dropped points in four out of their last eight league games with the latest poor performance happening just this past Friday that saw the club blow a two goal lead to draw against Boavista.

Current intern manager Nelson Verissimo looks out of his league managing this club and that gives us Benfica supporters little hope that the club will advance past current Dutch league leaders and Champions League group stage winners Ajax. Benfica have conceded ten goals in nine games across all competitions in 2022 and take on an Ajax side that has scored 28 goals in 2022 in just seven games across all competitions.

Benfica will have their hands full in Lisbon on Wednesday in what looks set to be a high scoring affair but even if the club can miraculously escape the game with a draw or a surprising win. They will then need to head to Amsterdam for the second leg of this encounter were Ajax have not dropped any points since early November 2021. Benfica fans have hope as that is all you can find in the Pandora box of the season the club has had.

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Joao Mario set to return to starting XI

Benfica Blog
Joao Mario is set to return to Benfica's starting XI this weekend as Benfica get set to travel to Bessa to take on Boavista in Week 23 action. The 29 year old midfielder was out of action the past two league games, the first after testing positive for COVID-19 and the second saw youngster Paulo Bernardo play in his place as he sat on the bench for the clubs full 90 minutes. Joao Mario has started 17 out of the clubs 22 league games this season, scoring two goals in league play while also setting up a pair.

Sunday, February 13, 2022

Benfica ready to bring Angel Di Maria home

Benfica Blog
Benfica are ready to make an offer to former winger Angel Di Maria this summer when the current PSG player becomes a free agent, as the club looks to bolster it's attack for next season. Twelve years have now past since the 33 year old wore Benfica colours but his fondness of his first club in Europe still remains high but Benfica will not be alone in their pursuit of Di Maria who also has interest from Spanish club Atletico Madrid and Italian side Juventus.

Di Maria arrived in Portugal from Argentinian club Rosario Central in the summer of 2007 to join Benfica after the club purchased the player for €8M. Di Maria went on to play three seasons at Benfica before departing to join the likes of Real Madrid, Manchester United and his current club PSG. Di Maria appeared in 119 games across all competitions for Benfica, scoring 19 goals while setting up an additional 28 and was a key member of Benfica's 2009/10 Portuguese League title.

Benfica's hopes of landing Di Maria may well depend on the clubs ability to qualify for next seasons Champions League group stage as the Argentinian has made it known that he wants to remain in Europe with his sights set on being called up to his country's national team for their run at next winters World Cup in Qatar. Benfica fans can only hope that a reunion with the magician is in the cards this summer.

Thursday, February 10, 2022

Benfica have quiet winter transfer window

Benfica Blog
Benfica have had a quiet winter transfer window, leaving their current squad mainly intact as the majority of most major league transfer windows have closed except for the Russian, Ukraine and Swiss leagues who have days to weeks before they close their own windows. Benfica did see the departure of a trio of players on loan until seasons end with Gedson Fernandes joining Rizespor, Ferro landing at Hadjuk Split and Pizzi moving to Istanbul Basaksehir.

Pizzi the long time Benfica midfielder and former league MVP has seen his playing time diminish this season to the point that he was barely seeing any action while Gedson and Ferro barely even touched their cleats to grass with the club this season. The conclusion of these moves, is that they will have little to any effect on the current squad and will give the club the opportunity to see what they have in their own systems as youngsters Paulo Bernardo and Henrique Araujo get a look.

Monday, February 7, 2022

Pizzi set to depart Benfica for Turkey

Benfica Blog
Long time Benfica midfielder Pizzi is set to depart the club on loan for the remainder of the season and join Turkish side Istanbul Basaksehir. The 32 year old was left off today's squad list for the clubs league game and is expected in Istanbul over the next few hours to complete the move to the 2019/20 Turkish Champions who currently sit in fifth spot in the league.

Pizzi has fallen out of favour this season starting two league games out of twenty the club has played thus far, having not been a first choice of former manager Jorge Jesus or current intern manager Nelson Verissimo. Pizzi has made 30 appearances for Benfica this season across all competitions, scoring twice while setting up four goals. He has played a total of 943 minutes which averages out to about 35 minutes per game.

Pizzi first joined Benfica in the summer of 2013 from Atletico Madrid for €14M and spent his first season on loan at Espanyol before sticking with the Lisbon club since that time. Pizzi has appeared in 360 games with Benfica across all competitions, scoring 94 goals while setting up an additional 96. Pizzi was named the league's most valuable player during the 2016/17 season and has captured ten trophies, including four league titles in his time with Benfica.  


Saturday, February 5, 2022

Benfica searching for Portuguese manager

Benfica Blog
Benfica President Rui Costa has announced that he is currently searching for a manager to take over the club for next season and his preference is a manager who is Portuguese and understands the game in Portugal. Costa speaking to reporters is expecting the manager to be able to work with the clubs youth as he looks to use more Seixal academy youngsters and is looking at reducing the squad numbers to a more work able number.

Costa has taken a lot of heat of late as Benfica continue to spiral this season with no end in sight and with the club set to take on Ajax in the Champions League round of 16 over the next few weeks. The expectations are as low as they have been in recent memory for the club to advance to the quarter-final stage. Benfica recently lost in the Taca da Liga Final to city rivals Sporting and their form leaves alot to be desired.

Costa is also looking at changing the clubs focus on transfers as he plans to look within the league for reinforcements before looking abroad as has been the case over the past few seasons. Costa looks set to remove all memory of Jorge Jesus' second stint with the club which saw the club spend a record haul on players which produced no return on their investment with the club failing to capture any hardware.

Thursday, February 3, 2022

Benfica's issues start at home

Benfica Blog

Benfica's chances of capturing the league title this season has become a far fetched dream, after the club lost their fourth game of the season to Gil Vicente in Week 20 action and an unheard of third league game loss at the Estadio da Luz in only ten games played there to date. This is the same organization that went a remarkable nine seasons between 2010/11 to 2018/19 losing a grand total of just eight league home games, the run included an unbeaten streak of three seasons without a defeat between 2012/13 to 2014/15. 

We fast forward to today and this has become a club who has lost the same eight games at home in just two and half seasons and have turned what was once a fortress were club's came to town nervous, hoping not to be embarrassed and expecting to lose into an all inclusive resort were visiting clubs now come ready to take advantage of the all you can eat buffets and the late night menus. Benfica is broken and a complete revamp is required, the first step is finding a manager with a vision, players with the passion and pride of wearing the jersey and more importantly turning what was once their unstoppable ground back into the fortress we became so accustomed to over the past decade. The balls in your court now Rui Costa.

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Benfica make the right move, keeping Darwin

Benfica Blog
Benfica for one of the rare times this season made a right move when they turned away all offers for 22 year old striker Darwin Nunez during the winter transfer window, even when clubs like West Ham hounded them until the final hours. Benfica is reported to have had a deal on the table similar to the one Liverpool made to acquire Luis Diaz from FC Porto which was €45M plus €15M in add ons but unlike Porto, Benfica are not in the financial trouble that their northern rivals currently face and said no.

Nunez's days at Benfica will more then likely not extend past this season but with the world of football slowly getting back to normal and money trickling back into clubs coffers, Benfica's no right now could see an additional €20M-€30M added to clubs current offers when the summer rolls around. Nunez is currently the leading scorer in Portugal with 15 goals and has chipped in 20 across all competitions this season in just 25 games.

Premiership clubs West Ham and Newcastle have been heavily linked with Nunez along with Spanish clubs Barcelona and Atletico Madrid. The assumption is that more big name clubs will enter the sweepstakes during the summer months, driving up the price of the Uruguayan international who is constantly compared to compatriot Edinson Cavani.