S.L. Benfica (basketball)

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Benfica logo
Leagues Liga Portuguesa de Basquetebol,
FIBA Europe Cup
Founded 20 March 1927 (91 years ago) (1927-03-20)[1]
History S.L. Benfica
Arena Pavilhão Fidelidade
Capacity 2,400
Location Lisbon, Portugal
Team colours Red, White, Black
President José Tomaz
Head coach José Ricardo[2]
Championships 27 Portuguese Leagues
22 Portuguese Cups
Website slbenfica.pt

Sport Lisboa e Benfica, commonly known as Benfica, is a professional basketball team based in Lisbon, Portugal, who play in the Liga Portuguesa de Basquetebol (LPB). In June 2007 the team decided to leave the professional top league, then known as LCB, and join the Proliga, a league organized by the Portuguese Basketball Federation. From 2008 onwards, they returned to the LPB after the federation took over the realms of the competition.

Founded in 1927, Benfica is the most successful Portuguese club, having the record for most championships, cups, league cups, super cups, and other national competitions, with a total of 80 domestic titles. It is also the Portuguese team that advanced the furthest in the European top club championship, now known as the EuroLeague.

Some of their most memorable moments were when they won European clashes against the likes of European clubs which have won the Euroleague, such as Virtus Bologna, Real Madrid, Cantù, Cibona, Joventut Badalona, Panathinaikos, Partizan, CSKA Moscow or Varese.[1][3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10] Despite basketball not being nearly as popular as football among the Portuguese population, Benfica has a major rivalry with FC Porto in this sport. (The rivalry was interrupted in 2012 and resumed in 2015.)

Along with its several junior teams that play in their respective top division championships, Benfica also has a developmental basketball team, Benfica B, that plays in the Proliga, the second highest tier in Portugal after the LPB, in which the main team competes.[11]


Early years[edit]

Created on 20 March 1927,[1] the basketball team followed the steps of many other sports that were supported by the club, achieving great success almost immediately. The team established itself as a main contender by the 1940s and during the whole 1960s gained the status of championship favourite and was already the club with the most titles won. By this time the club had won eight national championships and eight cups. This dominating spell decreased the following decade until the early 1980s. In this time-span Benfica could only win two championships, in the 1969–70 and the 1974–75 season, but won four national cups, the second most prestigious Portuguese tournament, in 1969–70, 1971–72, 1972–73 and 1973–74. After these years, Benfica again dominated the national scene.

Golden years[edit]

The most successful period of the club was between 1985 and 1995. In eleven seasons, the team won ten national titles, seven of which in a row, five national cups, five league cups and six super cups, achieving the best season ever by a Portuguese basketball team in 1994–95 winning the Portuguese League, Portuguese League Cup, Portuguese Super Cup, Portuguese Basketball Cup and finishing the European Champions' Cup in the Top 16. One of the highlight from that European Champions' Cup season was a 22-point victory (102–80) against CSKA Moscow in Lisbon on 12 January 1995.[10] Benfica also made successful international campaigns in the other seasons considering the budget the team had compared with other European big teams. Some of the most successful of those campaigns include the 1993–94, when Benfica was close to reach the Top 8,[12] and for a third season in a row Benfica managed to reach the Top 16 again in the European Champions' Cup, in 1995–96, grabbing a win against Panathinaikos, the eventual champions.[13][8]

Decline in the late 1990s[edit]

This period was followed by a dark era in which Benfica was internally overshadowed by Ovarense, Portugal Telecom and FC Porto. Even though this period is considered to be a dark one, Benfica did manage to reach the LPB final once as well as winning Super Cups and finishing runners-up in the national cup and in the league cup. Also noteworthy is an away win against Real Madrid, in the 1996–97 EuroCup, the same season the Spaniards won the competition.[4] The team finally decided to withdraw from the top tier and applied for the second league, the Proliga, which was the highest division run by the Federação Portuguesa de Basquetebol. However the first division was folded and the LPB (league) was again being overviewed by the national federation. This allowed the team to make a comeback to the main league.

Revival in the late 2000s[edit]

After more than a decade without any titles and in the same season Benfica had made a return to the first league, the 2008–09 season, the team won the Portuguese League, with a perfect score of 100% wins during the regular season, becoming the second team in the world to do so, after Maccabi Tel Aviv in the 1970s, and thrashing Ovarense 4–0 in the best-of-four game final. Benfica won the championship again the following season with a 91% winning record in the regular stage and a 4–1 final against Porto. The recent success brought the team to participate in the EuroChallenge, thus marking the end of a mid-term long hiatus from Portuguese clubs in European basketball competitions. The following year, Benfica won the League Cup and the Super Cup but did not renew the championship as it lost 4–3 in the final to Porto.

Recent years[edit]

In the next season Benfica regained the title of Portuguese champion after defeating Porto in their home court Dragão Caixa (53–56) in the last best-of-five series game following a 2–2 playoff tie. Benfica retained the title the following season, having only lost two games, one in the regular season, and the other in the play-off final, which they won 3–1 against Académica de Coimbra, both defeats coming only in overtime. Overall Benfica won every title except the Cup, losing against Vitória de Guimarães in the final, amassing only three losses in the entire season in all competitions. On 23 May 2014, Benfica defeated Vitória de Guimarães (3–0) and conquered its 25th champions title (third consecutive), completing the domestic treble of League, Portuguese Cup and Hugo dos Santos Cup. In this season they won a total of 4 titles (including the 2013 Super Cup).

In the 2014–15 season, Benfica returned to the European competitions, playing in EuroChallenge where they finished in third place of Group E. At domestic level, Benfica won all the five competitions.[14][15] Starting the 2015–16 season, they won their fifth and fourth consecutive António Pratas Trophy, setting a club record of ten consecutive Portuguese trophies won.[16]


Domestic competitions[edit]

Winners (27) – record:[17] 1939–40, 1945–46, 1946–47, 1960–61, 1961–62, 1962–63, 1963–64, 1964–65, 1969–70, 1974–75, 1984–85, 1985–86, 1986–87, 1988–89, 1989–90, 1990–91, 1991–92, 1992–93, 1993–94, 1994–95, 2008–09, 2009–10, 2011–12, 2012–13, 2013–14, 2014–15, 2016–17
Winners (22) – record:[17] 1945–46, 1946–47, 1960–61, 1963–64, 1964–65, 1965–66, 1967–68, 1968–69, 1969–70, 1971–72, 1972–73, 1973–74, 1980–81, 1991–92, 1992–93, 1993–94, 1994–95, 1995–96, 2013–14, 2014–15, 2015–16, 2016–17
Winners (12) – record:[17] 1989–90, 1990–91, 1992–93, 1993–94, 1994–95, 1995–96, 2010–11, 2012–13, 2013–14, 2014–15, 2016–17, 2017–18
Winners (14) – record:[17] 1985, 1989, 1991, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1998, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017
Winners (5) – record:[17] 2008–09, 2011–12, 2012–13, 2014–15, 2015–16
Winners (1):[17] 2007–08

International competitions[edit]

Winners (1): 2010


Current roster[edit]

S.L. Benfica roster
Players Coaches
Pos. No. Nat. Name Ht. Wt. Age
SF 4 Portugal Vilhena, José 1.94 m (6 ft 4 in) 92 kg (203 lb) 29 – (1989-04-16)16 April 1989
PG 5 Slovenia Slutej, Aljaz 1.92 m (6 ft 4 in) 85 kg (187 lb) 22 – (1996-01-09)9 January 1996
SG 6 Angola Morais, Carlos 1.93 m (6 ft 4 in) 91 kg (201 lb) 32 – (1985-10-16)16 October 1985
C 8 Portugal Gonçalo, Delgado 2.04 m (6 ft 8 in) 91 kg (201 lb) 20 – (1998-01-22)22 January 1998
C 10 Portugal Queta, Neemias 2.08 m (6 ft 10 in) 18 – (1999-07-13)13 July 1999
PG 11 Portugal Oliveira, Nuno 1.86 m (6 ft 1 in) 85 kg (187 lb) 28 – (1989-08-20)20 August 1989
C 15 Portugal Fonseca, Cláudio 2.08 m (6 ft 10 in) 102 kg (225 lb) 29 – (1989-01-22)22 January 1989
SF 17 Portugal Soares, João 2.03 m (6 ft 8 in) 91 kg (201 lb) 28 – (1990-03-27)27 March 1990
PG 21 Portugal Barroso, Tomás (C) 1.85 m (6 ft 1 in) 88 kg (194 lb) 27 – (1990-11-02)2 November 1990
SF 23 Portugal Andrade, Carlos 1.97 m (6 ft 6 in) 109 kg (240 lb) 40 – (1978-04-27)27 April 1978
PG 25 United States Sanders, Jesse 1.90 m (6 ft 3 in) 91 kg (201 lb) 29 – (1989-06-05)5 June 1989
C 35 United States Barber, Raven 2.06 m (6 ft 9 in) 110 kg (243 lb) 26 – (1991-10-02)2 October 1991
PF 77 Switzerland Dos Santos, Nicolas 2.01 m (6 ft 7 in) 107 kg (236 lb) 31 – (1987-04-10)10 April 1987
PG United States Pitts, Damier 1.78 m (5 ft 10 in) 75 kg (165 lb) 28 – (1989-12-03)3 December 1989
PF Bosnia and Herzegovina Todić, Miroslav 2.06 m (6 ft 9 in) 105 kg (231 lb) 33 – (1985-01-06)6 January 1985
Head coach

José Ricardo

Assistant coach(es)

Nuno Ferreira
Carlos Seixas

  • (C) Team captain
  • Injured Injured

Updated: 26 February 2018

Home arenas[edit]

Results in European competitions[edit]


Former coaches[edit]

Former notable players[edit]

Won an official title or individual titles


  1. ^ a b c "The History" (in Portuguese). glorioso-triplo.blogspot.com. Retrieved 17 September 2010. 
  2. ^ José Ricardo: "To keep the winning mentality" S.L. Benfica
  3. ^ "Benfica vs Virtus Bologna final score". fibaeurope.com. Retrieved 18 September 2010. 
  4. ^ a b "Real Madrid vs Benfica final score". fibaeurope.com. Retrieved 24 October 2010. 
  5. ^ "Benfica vs Pallacanestro Cantù final score". fibaeurope.com. Retrieved 26 January 2013. 
  6. ^ "Benfica vs Cibona final score". fibaeurope.com. Retrieved 26 January 2013. 
  7. ^ "Joventut Badalona vs Benfica final score". fibaeurope.com. Retrieved 18 September 2010. 
  8. ^ a b "Benfica vs Panathinaikos final score". fibaeurope.com. Retrieved 18 September 2010. 
  9. ^ "Benfica vs Partizan final score". fibaeurope.com. Retrieved 26 January 2013. 
  10. ^ a b "Benfica vs CSKA final score". fibaeurope.com. Retrieved 17 September 2010. 
  11. ^ "SL Benfica B". Federação Portuguesa de Basquetebol (in Portuguese). Retrieved 2 October 2012. 
  12. ^ "Semi-final round 1993–94". fibaeurope.com. Retrieved 17 September 2010. 
  13. ^ "Semi-final round 1995–96". fibaeurope.com. Retrieved 17 September 2010. 
  14. ^ "Basquetebol é Tetracampeão!" [Benfica are champions for the fourth consecutive time] (in Portuguese). S.L. Benfica. 30 May 2015. Retrieved 30 May 2015. Supertaça, Taça de Portugal, Troféu Hugo dos Santos, Troféu António Pratas e Campeonato Nacional 
  15. ^ "Benfica derrota V. Guimarães e sagra-se tetracampeão nacional" [Benfica beat V. Guimarães and become national champions four times in a row] (in Portuguese). A Bola. 30 May 2015. Retrieved 31 May 2015. tendo conquistado todos os troféus que houve em disputa. 
  16. ^ "Troféu António Pratas vem para a Luz" [Troféu António Pratas goes to Luz]. S.L. Benfica (in Portuguese). 29 September 2015. Retrieved 16 November 2016. 
  17. ^ a b c d e f "Honours". S.L. Benfica (in Portuguese). Retrieved 25 April 2016. 
  18. ^ "Participations in FIBA Europe competitions". fibaeurope.com. Retrieved 19 October 2016. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Perdigão, Carlos; Pires, Fernando (2004). 100 Anos de Lenda [100 Years of Legend] (in Portuguese) (First ed.). Diário de Notícias. pp. 242–247. ISBN 972-9335-52-4. 

External links[edit]