Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Benfica travel to France looking to advance in Europa League

Benfica Blog
Benfica get set to travel to France to take on Toulouse in their second leg of the round of 32 Europa League encounter on Thursday as the club arrives in town holding a 2-1 advantage after last week's home victory at the Estadio da Luz.

Benfica are coming off a sparkling performance in league action that saw the club defeat Vizela 6-1, as Roger Schmidt decided to finally rest some of his regular starters with six changes to the starting XI that played last Thursday against Toulouse.

A Benfica victory or draw will move the Eagles into the round of 16 and with the away goal rule removed by UEFA, a one goal loss would see the two clubs go into additional time.

Benfica are hoping that their finishing in this game will mirror their league performance Sunday and not the Thursday performance against the French club, which saw the club fail to capitalize on a host of chances at the Luz. 

The game will kick off at 5:45pm WEST

Saturday, February 17, 2024

Angola approach Benfica midfielder Florentino to join nation

Benfica Blog
Angola's football federation has made an approach towards Benfica midfielder Florentino Luis about playing international football for the African nation that his ancestors are from and turning away from Portugal, a country he has called home since his birth, growing up in Sintra, a district of Lisbon.

Florentino has appeared for Portugal at every youth level since making his first appearance with the nation's under 15 squad and at 24 years old, he still holds the dream of donning the Selecao jersey at the senior level in his heart.

This is not the first approach by Angola towards Florentino, but the answer they have received from the player has always been the same. The gifted defensive midfielder, who first honed his skills playing futsal, joined Benfica's academy in 2010 at the tender age of 10.

Here is hoping that Portugal manager Roberto Martinez recognizes the play of Florentino sooner rather than later in his next round of selections, as the feisty midfielder has deserved a call up for some time now. Angola has already noticed.

Thursday, February 15, 2024

Benfica edge Toulouse in first leg Europa League action

Benfica Blog
Angel di Maria converted his second penalty of the second half, eight minutes into injury time, to hand Benfica a 2-1 first leg victory over French side Toulouse. Benfica were the better club on the night, but Toulouse almost escaped the Estadio da Luz with a draw due to the Lisbon club's failure to convert a host of chances.

Benfica fired 27 total shots on goal, which was more than quadruple the attempts Toulouse managed, but they had to wait until they were awarded a penalty in the 68th minute after Toulouse defender Logan Costa handled the ball with his hand. Angel di Maria converted from the spot with a kick down the middle of the net.

Toulouse would equalize the game just seven minutes later when a chaotic ping pong type of exchange saw the ball land on the foot of right back Mikkel Desler who slid it past Benfica keeper Trubin. Benfica pressed forward, looking to regain the lead, but had to wait until a foul in the box saw defender Mawissa step on striker Marcos Leonardo's foot as the 20 year old attempted a shot on goal.

The two clubs will face off again in the second leg of the encounter in France next Thursday, where Benfica will hope to play to the same level as they did on this night but some minor tweaks should be looked at with the club looking to advance to the round of 16.

In other results involving Portuguese League clubs, Sporting defeated Young Boys 3-1 while Braga lost to Qarabag 4-2.

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Benfica ready themselves to face Toulouse in Europa League

Benfica Blog
Benfica are readying themselves to host French side Toulouse in the first leg of their Europa League round of 32 playoff tomorrow, as the club looks for a victory to kick off their return to the Europa League after missing out on the Champions League round of 16.

Benfica will be looking to take advantage of the first leg at home before traveling to France for the second leg next Thursday. Benfica last appeared in the Europa League during the 2020-21 season, where the club was eliminated at this same stage of the competition by Arsenal.

Monday, February 12, 2024

Orkun Kokcu slowing turning into a bust signing

Benfica Blog

The season is over 60% complete and big summer signing Orkun Kokcu, who just last season was named the Eredivisie's most valuable player, is still trying to find his footing in the Primeira Liga.

The Turkish midfielder has struggled more times than not this season, with some flashes of brilliance and fans are hoping that a player for whom the club paid a near record fee of €25M to arrive from Feyenoord does not turn into the club's all time bust signing.

The 23 year old has appeared in 27 contests across all competitions, scoring twice while providing seven helpers in 1,824 minutes of action, but Kokcu has failed to dominate games on most nights and leaves fans shaking their heads with his wayward performances.

Kokcu will need to learn to become a more sturdy midfielder if he is to succeed at the club and luckily for him and us, he still has four plus seasons to show us if he is the player the club thought they were getting or if he is to become the club's all time bust signing. Only time will answer that question.

Saturday, February 10, 2024

Arthur Cabral finds the net more since arrival of Leonardo

Benfica Blog
It may not be a coincidence that Arthur Cabral's best football since his arrival at Benfica has coincided with the arrival of 20 year old striker Marcos Leonardo during the winter transfer window.

Cabral has scored in three consecutive games across all competitions, just one shy of his season total before this run and it looks like he is finally rounding into the player the club expected when they paid €20M for his arrival from Fiorentina in the summer.

Benfica manager Roger Schmidt feels that Cabral has started to succeed because of an adjustment to his playing style, which is starting to mesh with his Benfica teammates. The striker is now playing a more flexible style and is seeing results because of it.

Cabral's under study Marcos Leonardo has found the net three times in limited playing time and Cabral no doubt knows that his minutes will vanish quickly if his early season form creeps back in.

Wednesday, February 7, 2024

Benfica travel to Vizela for quarter-final Taca game

Benfica Blog

Benfica head up to Vizela to face off in a quarter-final encounter of the Taca de Portugal tomorrow evening, a victory by the Lisbon club will see them move into the semi-finals and face their cross town rivals Sporting in a two legged affair for a spot in the Finals.

Benfica last captured the Taca de Portugal back in 2017 but have not made it further then the quarter-final stage in the past two editions of the tournament. Look for Benfica to go with their regular starting XI which has become a staple of Roger Schmidt's coaching campaign with the club.

Sunday, February 4, 2024

Did Benfica say Yes to the Super League?

Benfica Blog
According to Barcelona President Joao Laporta, Benfica is one of the clubs that is open to joining a newly created European Super League that will look to challenge UEFA's Champions League as the premier soccer club competition in Europe.

Laporta spoke to Spanish radio station RAC1 late last week and was optimistic that the Super League would get off the ground in the next year or two and named Benfica as one of three Portuguese clubs, with Sporting and FC Porto the others.

Benfica have not commented on Laporta's remarks at this time and it is unknown if they actually will. We can clearly see what could have Benfica interested in joining the breakaway league and that is money, loads and loads of money being promised to clubs by the league's organizers.

Will the Super League happen? That is a great question, but with only Barcelona and Real Madrid committing to the league, we are a long way from knowing what that answer might be.

Friday, February 2, 2024

Trubin's stay at Benfica could be short lived

Benfica Blog
Benfica keeper Anatoliy Trubin appeared on a You Tube podcast, where he was interviewed by blogger Povoroznyuk Dmytro and stated his desire to join the Premiership one day. 

Trubin was very complimentary of Benfica during the interview and has enjoyed his time with the club since joining this past summer. Trubin's agent added that he plans to keep an eye on the Premiership when the summer transfer window opens, fueling speculation that the keeper could be on the move sooner rather than later.

Trubin arrived in Lisbon from Shakhtar Donetsk for €10M and became the club's regular starter by Week 5 of the season. Benfica have cashed in on a variety of keepers over the years, with the likes of Jan Oblak and Ederson once donning the Eagles red jersey.

Thursday, February 1, 2024

Benfica ins and outs during the winter transfer window

Benfica Blog
The winter transfer window in most of the world has now officially closed, but Portugal still has one day remaining in their window. A host of smaller leagues do remain open a bit longer, but the big name leagues have all officially closed their doors to player additions until the summer.

Benfica had a busy window, with a bunch of players arriving and departing during the window. Benfica's biggest addition during the winter window was the acquisition of striker Marcus Leonardo, who arrived from Santos and cost the club €18M. Their biggest subtraction was the departure of striker Petar Musa to FC Dallas for €10M up front, with some potential add-ons down the road.

Here is a look at the comings and goings for Benfica during the winter transfer window:

 

Arrivals:

Marcos Leonardo - €18M fee from Santos

Gianluca Prestianni - €9M fee from Velez Sarsfield

Benjamin Rollheiser - Loan with mandatory buy €9.5M from Estudiantes

Alvaro Fernandez - Loan from Manchester United

 

Departures:

Petar Musa - €10M fee to FC Dallas

Lucas Verissimo - €9M fee to Al-Duhail

Joao Victor - €6M fee to Vasco da Gama

Chiquinho - €1M fee to Olympiacos

Gabriel Pires - Free Transfer to Fluminense

David Jurasek - Loan to Hoffenheim

Goncalo Guedes - Loan ended by Wolverhampton

Sunday, January 28, 2024

Benfica not giving up on retaining Rafa Silva

Benfica are not going to go down without a fight when it comes to Rafa Silva, who is set to become a free agent at the conclusion of this season. According to reports out of Portugal, Benfica are making one last gasp to retain Rafa beyond this season, even though they know they can not provide the annual salary rumoured to be offered by Qatari club Al-Sadd.

Rafa is said to not only be on the radar of Al-Sadd, but Lazio, AC Milan and Manchester United have also been linked with the 30 year old attacker. Benfica manager Roger Schmidt is pushing hard to keep Rafa with Benfica and has President Rui Costa looking for creative ways to find a salary structure that can work to the players liking.

Rafa has been at Benfica since the summer of 2016 and has appeared in his 300th game for the club over the past month. Benfica knows that they are in tough to retain Rafa, but they are looking at a salary structure mixed with bonuses that can appease the player and have him continue to represent the club after the season.

Thursday, January 25, 2024

Benfica blow chance to move on in Taca da Liga

Benfica Blog
Benfica failed once again to capture the Taca da Liga Cup after not being able to get past Estoril in yesterday's semi-final encounter. Benfica fell behind in the first half but equalized early in the second, but could not find the winner before being taken to penalties and losing 5-4 to Estoril after a 1-1 regulation draw.

Estoril now advances to face Braga on Saturday, who knocked out Sporting in the other semi-final match, turning this weekend's final into an unexpected affair. Benfica missed a series of chances during the game that could have seen the club move into the final but were unable to capitalize and they will join the host of clubs set to watch the Final on their sofas.

Monday, January 22, 2024

Benfica look to recapture Taca da Liga glory

Benfica Blog

In a competition that Benfica used to have a strangle hold on from its inception, the Lisbon club has now gone almost eight years since capturing this trophy, making the finals only once during this time frame.

Benfica captured the Taca da Liga seven of the first nine years of the competition's existence before going on their current dry spell, they hope to change that this week as the club enters the Final Four stage and gets set to face Estoril on Wednesday while city rivals Sporting take on Braga in the other semi-final game.

The winners of the semi-final games will play one another on Saturday, January 27th, in Leiria. Benfica go into the competition on a thirteen game unbeaten run across all competitions.

Saturday, January 20, 2024

Benfica announce arrival of winger Benjamin Rollheiser

Benfica Blog

Benfica announced earlier today the arrival of winger Benjamin Rollheiser from Argentinian club Estudiantes. Rollheiser arrives on loan with a mandatory option to make the deal permanent at the conclusion of the season for €9.5M, which will give Benfica 90% of the players pass, while Estudiantes will retain 10% to cash in on a future sale.

The 23 year old arrived at the Lisbon club earlier than expected, but with the departures of Goncalo Guedes to Villarreal and Chiquinho to Olympiacos, Benfica made the move to bring the player over now instead of waiting until the summer. Rollheiser is a versatile winger who can also play in an attacking midfield role and as a secondary striker.

Thursday, January 18, 2024

Benfica and Hoffenheim agree loan move for Juracek

Benfica Blog
Benfica and Hoffenheim have agreed to terms in principle for the loan move of left back David Juracek to the German side for the remainder of the season, with an option to make the move permanent for €12M.

The 23 year old Czech only arrived at Benfica in the summer with the hopes of replacing departing long time left back Alex Grimaldo but has not panned out and with Benfica's recent acquisition of left back Alvaro Fernandez earlier this week, Benfica no longer requires his services.

Benfica paid Slavia Prague €14M when they acquired Juracek and the club is hoping to recover a big chunk of their payment with the buy on clause added to the loan. Juracek has played only 478 minutes for the club across all competitions and has not provided much in the way of offense.

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Benfica make bunch of moves during window

Benfica Blog
Benfica were making a host of moves today that will see players come and go from the club over the next couple of weeks. 

Benfica announced the acquisition of left back Alvaro Fernandez from Man United on loan for the remainder of the season. Benfica will have a buy option at the end of the season of €6M or the move will become permanent if Fernandez starts half of the club's remaining games. Man United will retain a percentage of Fernandez's rights for a future sale and have also included a buyback option as part of the deal.

Benfica are also in talks with midfielder Gabriel and look set to rescind the player's contract, Gabriel spent the past season in Brazil on loan with Botafogo. Benfica made the sale of center back Joao Victor to Vasco da Gama official for €6M and is currently in talks with Estudiantes to bring in winger Benjamin Rollheiser before the window closes.

On a sadder note, the club looks set to part ways with forward Goncalo Guedes. The former Seixal academy product who is on loan with the club from Wolves, looks set to have his loan recalled and seems headed back to Spain to join Villarreal.

 

Sunday, January 14, 2024

Benfica need to find themselves a replacement for Rafa Silva

Benfica Blog

Benfica is currently facing a significant challenge, as Rafa Silva, a key player in their squad, will become a free agent this summer. Unfortunately, contract talks between the club and the player have hit an impasse, leaving both parties far apart in negotiations. As such, it is imperative for Benfica to find a suitable replacement for Silva this summer.

Silva has been an integral part of Benfica's success over the years. His pace, skill on the ball, and ability to score crucial goals have made him a fan favorite. Losing such a talented player would undoubtedly be a blow to the team's prospects for future seasons.

Finding an adequate replacement for Silva will not be an easy task. Benfica must identify someone with similar attributes and abilities who can seamlessly integrate into their playing style. The new recruit must possess speed, technical prowess, and goal-scoring instincts to fill the void left by Silva's departure.

Benfica faces a challenging situation with Rafa Silva set to leave as a free agent this summer. The club must act swiftly and decisively to secure a suitable replacement who can contribute effectively on the pitch. By identifying players with similar qualities while considering financial limitations, Benfica can ensure continuity and maintain their competitive edge in domestic and international competitions.

Thursday, January 11, 2024

Former Benfica manager Ericsson diagnosed with cancer

Benfica Blog
Sadly, earlier today, former Benfica manager Sven-Goran Ericsson revealed his cancer diagnosis to the world. The 75 year old announced that he has pancreatic cancer, which is inoperable and, in a best case scenario, has about one year to live. Ericsson is doing his best to not think about his illness and enjoy the time he has left on this earth.

Ericsson managed Benfica on two different occasions during his career, he spent his first stop at the club from the summer of 1982 to the summer of 1984 and the second from the summer of 1989 to the summer of 1992. Ericsson won three league titles, a Taca de Portugal and a Super Cup in his time at the club. 

Ericsson also led Benfica to the 1990 European Cup Final, now known as the Champions League and the 1983 UEFA Cup Final, now known as the Europa League, losing in the finals on both occasions. 

Ericsson had a phenomenal managerial career that took him around the club with stops at Manchester City, Leicester City, Roma, Lazio, Fiorentina, IFK Goteborg and Shanghai SIPG among a handful of others, and managed national sides England, Mexico and the Ivory Coast.

Benfica Blog

Wishing that Ericsson finds peace during these trying times.

Tuesday, January 9, 2024

Benfica in advance talks with Mainz midfielder

Benfica Blog
Benfica are said to be in advanced talks with Mainz midfielder Leonardo Barreiro according, to reports out of Germany. Who's contract will end at the conclusion of the season and he is currently free to sign with any club.

The 24 year old Luxembourg international has been with the German club since joining their youth side in the summer of 2016. He has gone on to star with the main squad, appearing in 134 games across all competitions, scoring nine goals while providing eleven helpers.

Benfica are hoping to land the box to box midfielder as a potential replacement for their own free agent midfielder, in Chiquinho, who is also currently free to sign with any club, although the players differ in style.

Sunday, January 7, 2024

Benfica have agreement for Rollheiser summer move

Benfica and Estudiantes came to an agreement earlier today about winger Benjamin Rollheiser. The 23 year old will not join Benfica right away and will remain with his Argentinian club until the summer, according to press reports from the South American country.

Benfica is set to pay Estudiantes €9M for 90% of Rollheiser's pass, with the Argentinian club retaining 10% for a future sale of the player. The signing of Rollheiser could also signal the end of Angel di Maria's return to the club, as the 35 year old's contract is up in the summer.

Thursday, January 4, 2024

Benfica land Santos striker Marcos Leonardo

Benfica Blog
Benfica wasted no time in making a move once the winter transfer window opened, signing striker Marcos Leonardo from Santos. As the club looks to solve its scoring woes from the striker position this season, Benfica paid €18M for Leonardo's services and signed the striker for five seasons with a buy out clause of €150M.

Santos will also be entitled to 10% of the future sale of the 20 year old by Benfica. Leonardo has scored 54 goals while at Santos, with 42 of those goals coming in the past two seasons. Benfica will now look to move one of their three strikers to make room for Leonardo, with the likely candidate being summer signing Arthur Cabral, who has struggled since joining the club.

Wednesday, January 3, 2024

French club interested in left back Jurasek

Benfica Blog
Benfica are said to be shopping left back David Jurasek for a potential loan move this winter to French side Marseille who is said to be interested in stepping to the plate to take a swing on the 23 year old Czech footballer.

Benfica acquired Jurasek this past summer from Slavia Prague in hopes he could fill the boots of departing left back Alex Grimaldo, but Jurasek has not been able to get his game to the level expected by the club and is now is being shopped around as Benfica turn their attention to Manchester United left back Alvaro Fernandez, who is currently on loan at Granada.

Jurasek has appeared in just 12 games since arriving at Benfica for a total of 480 minutes and has provided little in the club's attack, while Grimaldo is thriving at Leverkusen, scoring nine goals while providing seven helpers.

 

Tuesday, January 2, 2024

Benfica make informal contact with Santos striker

Benfica Blog
Benfica have reached out to 20 year old Santos striker Marcos Leonardo according to reports out of Brazil's Globo Esporte. Santos was recently relegated from the top division in Brazil and will be heading to Serie B for the first time in their history and should see an exodus of its top players over the winter window.

Leonardo's player rights belong to both Santos and Sao Paulo and it is said that the club is looking for between €15M to €20M for the players services. Leonardo scored 21 goals in 2023 across 49 games while providing four helpers. Benfica would need to move out one of its strikers if it were to make this move with Arthur Cabral the likely candidate.

Real Madrid, Arsenal and Newcastle are said to have also inquired about the player.

Monday, January 1, 2024

Rafa Silva now free to sign with any club

When the clock struck midnight, it officially made Rafa Silva a free agent able to negotiate a new contract with any club, with his contract at Benfica coming to an end at the conclusion of the season.

Benfica and Rafa seem far apart on a new contract, as the forward's asking price is out of the range of what the club is open to paying. The 30 year old currently earns €2.5M per season at Benfica and the club seems to have accepted that they will part ways with the player when the season ends.

Rafa turned down an offer during the summer from Qatari side Al-Sadd, which would have paid him a reported €7.5M per season but many feel that the Middle East could be the forward's future destination as clubs there continue to splash high salaries on foreign arrivals.

Rafa has been with Benfica since arriving in the summer of 2016 from Braga and has appeared in 300 games across all competitions for the Lisbon side. Rafa in his time at the club, has scored 81 goals, while setting up an additional 72. Rafa's Instagram account also no longer references Benfica a sign of things to come?