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S.L. Benfica

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Benfica
SL Benfica logo.svg
Full name Sport Lisboa e Benfica
Nickname(s) Águias (Eagles)
Encarnados (Reds)
Glorioso (Glorious)
Short name SLB
Founded 28 February 1904
(112 years ago)
 (1904-02-28)
as Sport Lisboa
Ground Estádio da Luz
Ground Capacity 64,642
President Luís Filipe Vieira
Manager Rui Vitória
League Primeira Liga
2015–16 Primeira Liga, 1st
Website Club home page
Current season
Active departments of
Sport Lisboa e Benfica
Football pictogram.svg Football pictogram.svg Football pictogram.svg
Football Football B Football U-19
Futsal pictogram.svg Roller hockey pictogram.svg Basketball pictogram.svg
Futsal Roller hockey Basketball
Handball pictogram.svg Volleyball (indoor) pictogram.svg Athletics pictogram.svg
Handball Volleyball Athletics
Swimming pictogram.svg Rugby union pictogram.svg Table tennis pictogram.svg
Swimming Rugby union Table tennis
Cue sports pictogram.svg Canoeing (slalom) pictogram.svg
Billiards Canoeing

Sport Lisboa e Benfica (Portuguese pronunciation: [spɔɾ liʒˈboɐ i bɐ̃ȷ̃ˈfikɐ]), commonly known as Benfica, is a Portuguese sports club based in Lisbon, Portugal. It is best known for the professional football team playing in the Primeira Liga, the top flight of Portuguese football. Benfica are the current Portuguese champions, having won three consecutive league titles.

Founded in 1904 by a group of people led by Cosme Damião, Benfica is one of the "Big Three" clubs in Portugal that have never been relegated from the Primeira Liga – the other two are rivals FC Porto and Sporting CP. The team is nicknamed Águias (Eagles) for the symbol atop the club's crest, and Encarnados (Reds) for the shirt colour. Since 2003, their home ground has been the Estádio da Luz, which replaced the original one. Benfica is the most supported Portuguese club, with an estimated fan base of 14 million supporters worldwide, and the European club with the highest percentage of supporters in its own country. By August 2015, it had 156,916 paying members. The club's official anthem, "Ser Benfiquista", refers to its supporters who are called Benfiquistas. Benfica is honoured in three Portuguese Orders: those of Christ, of Merit and of Prince Henry.

Benfica is the most successful Portuguese club in terms of both domestic (76) and overall titles (78) – 79 including the Latin Cup – and is the only one to have won all national competitions. They have won a record 35 Primeira Liga titles, a record 25 Taça de Portugal (10 doubles), a record 7 Taça da Liga (one treble), 6 Supertaça Cândido de Oliveira and 3 Campeonato de Portugal. Internationally, Benfica won two consecutive European Cup titles, in 1961 and 1962, a unique feat in Portuguese football. In addition, they were runners-up at the Intercontinental Cup in 1961 and '62, at the European Cup in 1963, '65, '68, '88 and '90, and at the UEFA Cup/Europa League in 1983, 2013 and '14. They have reached ten European finals, which ranks seventh all-time among UEFA clubs and is a domestic record.[1] Furthermore, they hold the European record for the most consecutive wins in domestic league (29) and the longest unbeaten run in the Portuguese league (56 matches).

In 2000, Benfica was ranked twelfth in the FIFA Club of the Century award.[2] In 2009, it was ranked ninth in "Europe's Club of the Century" by IFFHS.[3] Benfica is ranked sixth in the current UEFA club coefficient rankings – the best position of a Portuguese club[4] – and have the second most participations in the European Cup/UEFA Champions League (35), after Real Madrid.[5] Benfica's all-time top goalscorer is Eusébio, who won one Ballon d'Or and two European Golden Boots while at the club.

History

Inception and first national titles (1904–50)

The first Benfica team, in 1904

On 28 February 1904, a group of former students from the Real Casa Pia de Lisboa and members of Associação do Bem met at the back of Farmácia Franco on Rua de Belém. Their goal was to form a social and cultural football club, which would be called Sport Lisboa. There were a total of 24 people who attended the meeting, including the 18-year-old co-founder and future soul of the club, Cosme Damião. In this meeting, José Rosa Rodrigues was appointed as club president, along with Daniel Brito as secretary and Manuel Gourlade as treasurer. It was defined that the club's colours would be red for bravery and white for peace. The founders also decided that the crest would be composed of an eagle (symbolising high aspirations), the motto "E pluribus unum" (defining union between all club members) and a football.[6][7][8] On 1 January 1905, Benfica played their first match ever, winning 1–0 against Campo de Ourique. Despite important victories in the first few years, the club suffered because of poor operating conditions, namely the football dirt field Terras do Desembargador.[9] As a result, in 1907, eight players joined Sporting CP, located across the city. This event started the rivalry between the clubs.

On 13 September 1908, Sport Lisboa acquired Grupo Sport Benfica by mutual agreement and changed its name to Sport Lisboa e Benfica. Despite the club merger, they continued their respective club operations. For Sport Lisboa they maintained the football team, the shirt colours, the eagle symbol and the motto. For Grupo Sport Benfica they maintained the field Campo da Feiteira,[9] the main directors and the club's house. Both clubs determined that the foundation date should coincide with Sport Lisboa's (1904) given that it was the most recognised club and quite popular in Lisbon because of its football merits. In regard to the crest, a cycling wheel was added to Sport Lisboa's to represent the most important sport of Grupo Sport Benfica. Furthermore, the two entities of the new club had simultaneous members who helped stabilise operations, which later increased the success of the merger.

However, problems with the club's rented field remained. In 1913, Benfica moved to their first football grass field, Campo de Sete Rios. Four years later they moved to Campo de Benfica because of a high rent. They then moved to their own stadium, Estádio das Amoreiras, in 1925.[9] The Portuguese league began in 1934, and after finishing third in the first edition, Benfica won the next three championships in a row (1935–36, 1936–37, 1937–38). In 1940, Benfica won their first Taça de Portugal, a year before moving to Estádio do Campo Grande.[9] Throughout the 1940s, Benfica won three Primeira Liga (1941–42, 1942–43, 1944–45) and four Taça de Portugal (1940, '43, '44, '49). János Biri achieved the first double for the club in 1943.

International successes and league dominance (1950–70)

Eusébio won the Ballon d'Or in 1965.

Benfica's first international success happened in 1950 when they won the Latin Cup (the only Portuguese club to do so), defeating Bordeaux with a golden goal from Julinho[10] at the Estádio Nacional in Lisbon,[11] with Ted Smith as coach.[12] It was the first international trophy won by a Portuguese club.[13] They reached another final of the competition in 1957 but lost to Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabéu.[11] With Joaquim Ferreira Bogalho elected as president in 1952 and the arrival of coach Otto Glória in 1954,[12] Benfica became more modernised and professional, and moved in to the original Estádio da Luz with an initial seating capacity of 40,000; expanded to 70,000 in 1960.[9][14][15]

During the 1950s, Benfica won three Primeira Liga (1949–50, 1954–55, 1956–57 – they were champions in 1955 but Sporting played the 1955–56 European Cup instead) and six Taça de Portugal (1951, 1952, 1953, 1955, 1957, 1959), achieving the second double in 1955 and the third one in 1957. In addition to these successes, Benfica was able to end the decade with the basic foundations in place, enabling its team to enter the 1960s as one of the best in European football.

Led by coach Béla Guttmann,[12] Benfica were one of two teams, along with Barcelona, to break Real Madrid's dominance in the European Champion Clubs' Cup by winning two consecutive European Cup, the first against Barcelona in 1961 (3–2) at the Wankdorf Stadium[16] and the second one against Real Madrid in 1962 (5–3) at the Olympic Stadium.[17] Later on, Benfica reached another three European Cup finals but lost them to Milan in 1963 (2–1) at the Wembley Stadium, to Inter Milan in 1965 (1–0) at the San Siro, and to Manchester United in 1968 (4–1) again at the Wembley Stadium, where they were presented with European Team of the Year by France Football.

The 1960s were the best period of the club, in which Benfica won eight Primeira Liga (1959–60, 1960–61, 1962–63, 1963–64, 1964–65, 1966–67, 1967–68, 1968–69), three Taça de Portugal (1962, 1964, 1969) and two European Cups (1960–61, 1961–62). Their fourth domestic double was achieved in 1964 with Lajos Czeizler and the fifth one in 1969 with Otto Glória. Many of their successes in this decade were achieved with Eusébio – the only player to win the Ballon d'Or for a Portuguese club[18] – Coluna, José Águas, José Augusto, Simões, Torres (who were part of Os Magriços) and other notable players, who formed the team of 1963–64 that set a club record of 103 goals in 26 league matches.[19] During the 1960s, Benfica was ranked first in European football three times: in 1965, 1966 and 1969.[20][21][22]

League dominance and European Cup finals (1970–94)

Shéu spent his entire player career with Benfica, winning 17 major titles.

During the 1970s, Benfica faded slightly from the European scene, but remained as the main force of Portuguese football, winning six Primeira Liga (1970–71, 1971–72, 1972–73, 1974–75, 1975–76, 1976–77) and two Taça de Portugal (1970, 1972). Jimmy Hagan led the club to three consecutive Primeira Liga and one Taça de Portugal between 1970 and 1973, achieving the club's sixth double in 1972. In the same year, Benfica attracted Europe-wide attention when they reached the semi-finals of the European Cup, where they were eliminated on aggregate (1–0) by Ajax of Johan Cruyff. In 1972–73, Benfica became the first club in Portugal to win the league without defeat,[19] winning 28 matches – 23 consecutively – out of 30, and drawing 2. In that season, Eusébio became Europe's top scorer with 40 goals, in what was his penultimate season as a Benfica player. They scored 101 goals, breaking the 100 goals mark for the second time in the club's history.

In the late 1970s, early 1980s, the club had some corporate management problems but the team managed to keep up to their standards. In 1981, Lajos Baróti secured the seventh double for Benfica by winning the Primeira Liga and the Taça de Portugal. Later, under the guidance of Sven-Göran Eriksson, they won two consecutive Primeira Liga (1982–83, 1983–84) and one Taça de Portugal (1983), achieving their eighth double. Additionally, they reached the final of the UEFA Cup in 1983 but lost on aggregate to Anderlecht. In the same year, Benfica also won the Iberian Cup II, beating Athletic Bilbao on aggregate. Eight years later, they were runners-up against Atlético de Madrid in the Iberian Cup III.

Following the completion of improvements to the Estádio da Luz, Benfica opened the stadium's third tier (Terceiro Anel) in 1985, transforming it into the largest stadium in Europe and third largest in the world,[23] with a 120,000 seating capacity[15] (up to 135,000 when spectators stood behind the goals). In 1986–87, John Moltimore won the Primeira Liga and Taça de Portugal, obtaining the ninth double for Benfica. From 1988 to 1994, Benfica made a huge financial investment in an effort to win another European Cup, reaching two European Cup finals in 1988 and 1990 but lost them to PSV Eindhoven (on penalties) and Milan (1–0) respectively. During the same period of time, Benfica won three Primeira Liga (1988–89, 1990–91, 1993–94) and one Taça de Portugal (1993). In 1988–89, led by coach Toni, they only conceded 15 goals in 38 league matches, a club record.[19]

Crisis and return to domestic success (1994–2009)

Benfica fans celebrate their 31st league title (2005).

Financial trouble dating back to the 1980s when Benfica completed its stadium's third tier,[23][24] along with large investments on players, started to deteriorate the club's finances.[25][26] The rampant spending and a questionable signing policy – over 100 players during Manuel Damásio's presidency[27] – which allowed for squads composed of well over 30 players, further aggravated the problem.[28][29] Consequently, the period from 1994 through 2003 was the most difficult in its history. During this time, Benfica only won the Taça de Portugal in 1996, suffered their biggest defeat in European competitions (7–0 against Celta de Vigo) in 1999,[30] and had their lowest Primeira Liga finishing positions, such as sixth in 2000–01 and fourth in 2001–02. The club entered in default during João Vale e Azevedo's presidency,[31] which further damaged the finances of the club.[32] From 1994 to 2003, eleven managers shared the seat including Mário Wilson, thrice.[12] It was also during this period, in 2001, that Benfica signed Simão for €12 million,[33] and decided to build the new Estádio da Luz, which would eventually cost €162 million, €25 million more than the planned.[34]

In the 2003–04 season, with president Luís Filipe Vieira, who succeeded Manuel Vilarinho,[35] and coach José Antonio Camacho, who had joined in 2002,[12] Benfica won their 24th Taça de Portugal defeating José Mourinho's Porto in the final (2–1).[36] They ended an eight-year silverware drought and dedicated the trophy to Miklós Fehér, who had died in January 2004.[37] In 2004–05, with Giovanni Trapattoni as coach,[38] Benfica won their 31st league title, ending an eleven-year title drought.[39] Later on, the president, the coach and the first-team squad travelled to Hungary to deliver the Portuguese championship gold medal to Fehér's parents.[40] In 2005–06, Benfica won their fourth Supertaça against Vitória de Setúbal (1–0).[41] In Europe, Benfica reached the quarter-finals of UEFA Champions League by beating Manchester United 2–1 in the decisive group stage encounter[42] and overcoming the then European champions Liverpool 3–0 on aggregate in the round of 16.[43] However, Benfica lost in the quarter-finals to Barcelona by an aggregate of 2–0, both goals coming during the second leg at Camp Nou.[44]

In 2006–07, Benfica found themselves again facing Manchester United in a decisive Champions League group match in which the winners would advance. However, this time the Red Devils prevailed, gaining revenge in a 3–1 win.[45] In 2007–08, Camacho returned to Benfica on a two-year contract, following the sacking of Fernando Santos after one match in the Primeira Liga (a tie at promoted Leixões),[46] at a time when Benfica were facing a vital Champions League qualifying match against Copenhagen; a successful move since Benfica guaranteed a place in the Champions League after beating Copenhagen 1–0,[47] but then exited the competition at the group stage and were put into the UEFA Cup, where they lost to Getafe, twice.[48] Camacho resigned in March 2008.[49] Afterwards, with Fernando Chalana as an interim manager,[50] they finished fourth in the league and were placed into the UEFA Cup. In 2008–09, Quique Sánchez Flores was appointed as coach,[51] who won the club's first Taça da Liga, defeating Sporting. In the Primeira Liga they finished third and got a place in the UEFA Europa League. In June 2009, Flores and his staff resigned after agreeing to a friendly contractual termination.[52]

Return to European finals and back-to-back titles (2009–present)

Benfiquistas celebrate their 32nd league title (2010).

In the 2009–10 season, Benfica signed Jorge Jesus as coach.[53] In March 2010, Benfica beat Porto 3–0 in the Taça da Liga final and won their second consecutive league cup trophy.[54] In Europe, Benfica were drawn against Liverpool in the quarter-finals of the Europa League. At the Estádio da Luz, Benfica defeated Liverpool 2–1 but were eliminated after a 4–1 loss at Anfield.[55][56] In May 2010, Benfica won their final league match, against Rio Ave, and became champions of the 2009–10 Primeira Liga,[57] conquering their 32nd league title and securing a direct entry into the 2010–11 UEFA Champions League. Óscar Cardozo finished as top scorer of the Primeira Liga with 26 goals.[58] In 2010–11, after finishing third in the group stage of UEFA Champions League, Benfica moved to the Europa League and progressed to their first European semi-final in eighteen years, seeing off PSV.[59][60] Nevertheless, they were eliminated on away goals after an aggregate score of 2–2 against Braga.[61] In April 2011, Benfica won the Taça da Liga final against Paços de Ferreira, clinching their third consecutive title in the competition.[62] Then, they finished second in the Primeira Liga.

In 2011–12, Benfica reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League, being eliminated by Chelsea;[63] won their fourth consecutive Taça da Liga,[64] and were second in the Primeira Liga, qualifying directly to the 2012–13 UEFA Champions League. Cardozo was the top scorer of the Primeira Liga with 20 goals.[65] In 2012–13, after coming third in the Champions League group stage, they reached the Europa League final eliminating Fenerbahçe,[66] but lost 2–1 to 2012 European champions Chelsea.[67] It was the ninth European final overall for Benfica, their first since the 1990 European Cup final.[68] Domestically, Benfica were second in the Primeira Liga by one point, despite leading before the penultimate day.[69] They reached the semi-finals of the Taça da Liga but lost on penalty shoot-out against Braga.[70] Furthermore, they reached the final of the Taça de Portugal but lost (1–2) against Vitória de Guimarães.[71]

Benfica won their third league and league cup double (centre) in 2015.

In the 2013–14 season, Benfica won their 33rd league title;[72][73] won their fifth Taça da Liga, without conceding a goal (record);[74][75] reached the Europa League final for a second consecutive time,[76] without defeat (record),[77] losing it on penalties to Sevilla;[78][79] and won their 25th Taça de Portugal, achieving their tenth double[80] and an unprecedented treble in Portuguese football.[81] They completed the season unbeaten at home in all five competitions,[82] and had the best defence of all European leagues with 18 goals conceded.[83] 2014 was also marked by the deaths of club legends Eusébio and Coluna.[84][85] Benfica started the 2014–15 season by winning the Supertaça Cândido de Oliveira,[86][87] thus establishing a Portuguese record of all four domestic titles won in a year. In August 2014, RSSSF ranked Benfica as the best team in UEFA competitions since 2009, fourth since 2004, and seventh in the all-time ranking.[88] On 17 May 2015, Benfica won their 34th league title, clinching their first back-to-back titles since 1984.[89][90] On 29 May, Benfica won their sixth Taça da Liga, defeating Marítimo 2–1, and became the Portuguese club with most titles won (75, according to UEFA)[91] – 76 titles including the Latin Cup.[92][93]

In June 2015, Benfica signed Rui Vitória as coach.[94] They started the 2015–16 season by losing the domestic Super Cup to Sporting (1–0).[95] On 15 May 2016, Benfica sealed their third consecutive league title (for the sixth time in their history and first since 1977) and were crowned Portuguese champions for a record 35th time, also setting a league record of 88 points from 34 matches.[96][97] Jonas finished as the league top scorer with 32 goals.[98] Back in April, they had reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League but were eliminated by Bayern Munich on aggregate (2–3) after a 2–2 draw at home, on the second leg.[99] On their last match of the season, Benfica beat Marítimo 6–2 in the Taça da Liga final and secured a record seventh trophy in nine editions of the competition,[100][101] and the club's 78th title overall.[102]

Crest and shirt

Benfica's crest is composed of an eagle (as a symbol of independence, authority and nobility), positioned atop the shield with the colours red and white (symbolising bravery and peace respectively); the motto "E pluribus unum" ("Out of many, one" – defining union between all members); and the club's initials ("S.L.B.") over a football; everything superimposed on a bicycle wheel (representing one of the first sports in the club, cycling).[7][103]

The club has had four main crests since its inception in 1904. The origin of the current crest goes back to 1908 when Sport Lisboa merged with Grupo Sport Benfica. Back then, only red and white colours were displayed on the crest. In 1930, the crest was altered and the colours from the flag of Portugal were added. Sixty-nine years later, in 1999, the crest was changed again. The most significant changes were the modification and repositioning of the eagle, and the reduction of the size of the wheel.[104] Benfica have used commemorative crests since 2010 by adding stars on top of it. They started by adding one star to celebrate their first European Cup. In 2011, they added two stars to commemorate their second European Cup. In 2012, they started using three stars, each star representing 10 league titles won by the club.[105][106]

Period Kit manufacturer Shirt sponsor
1977–1984 Adidas
1984–1987 Shell
1987–1990 FNAC
1990–1992 Hummel
1992–1994 Casino Estoril
1994–1996 Olympic Parmalat
1996–1997 Telecel
1997–2000 Adidas
2000–2001 Netc
2001–2002 Telecel/Vodafone
2002–2005 Vodafone
2005–2008 PT
2008–2012 TMN
2012–2015 MEO
2015– Emirates

Benfica have always worn red shirts. During the Estado Novo, the Censorship Services prohibited the fans from referring to the team as Vermelhos (Reds) so it was not confused with communism, instead being referred as Encarnados (Flesh-coloured), which is still used, even after the Carnation Revolution.[107]

Benfica have had a total of three kit manufacturers since 1977 and eleven distinct shirt sponsors since 1984.[108][109][110] Their first kit manufacturer was Adidas, from 1977 to 1990 (thirteen seasons), and their first shirt sponsor was Shell, from 1984 to 1987 (three seasons). Fábrica Nacional de Ar Condicionado (FNAC) was the next sponsor until 1992 (five seasons), followed by Casino Estoril (two seasons). In 1990 the kit manufacturer changed to Hummel, and lasted four seasons. In 1994 both the kit manufacturer and shirt sponsor changed; the former was Olympic until 1997 (three seasons) and the latter was Parmalat until 1996 (two seasons). In 1997 Adidas started manufacturing the kit again. One year before, Telecel became the new sponsor until 2000 (four seasons). In the 2000–01 season, the sponsor was Netc (netcetera). In 2001–02, the sponsor was shared between Telecel and Vodafone. The following year, Vodafone continued to be the sponsor until 2005 (four seasons). Then, Portugal Telecom (PT) was the sponsor for the next three seasons. In 2008, the sponsor changed to TMN, also for three seasons. In 2012, MEO became the shirt sponsor until 2015.[111]

On 19 April 2014, it was announced that Benfica and Adidas had renewed the previous ten-season contract of 2003 until 2021.[112] On 19 May 2015, Emirates signed a three-year shirt sponsorship deal worth up to €30 million to become Benfica's main jersey sponsor until 2018.[113][114]

Grounds

During their history, Benfica had to play (mostly) in rented fields until 1925. Then, after their own stadium was built (Estádio das Amoreiras), they played there until 1940. In 1941, they started playing at a rented municipal stadium (Estádio do Campo Grande) before moving to their own second stadium, thirteen years later.[9][15] From 1954 to 2003, Benfica played at the previous Estádio da Luz, the largest stadium in Europe and the third largest in the world in terms of capacity at the time. It was demolished in 2003 and the new stadium was built in the same year, with a construction cost of almost €119 million.[115] Since then, Benfica have played at the Estádio da Luz (officially named Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica), located in Lisbon, Portugal.

A UEFA category four stadium,[116][117] the current Estádio da Luz hosted several matches of the UEFA Euro 2004, including the final. On 20 March 2012, the stadium was designated the venue for the 2014 UEFA Champions League Final, which was played on 24 May.[118] The stadium was built with a full seating capacity of 65,647[119][120] but it currently has 64,642 seats.[121]

A panorama of the Estádio da Luz in 2009

Training centre

Main article: Futebol Campus

Benfica's training centre and youth academy, named Caixa Futebol Campus, is located in Seixal, Lisbon Region. It was built in 2005 and opened on 22 September 2006.[122] In 2015, Benfica received the award for Best Academy of the year at the Globe Soccer Awards.[123]

Museum

Main article: Museu Benfica

The Museu Benfica – Cosme Damião, located near the stadium, was inaugurated on 26 July 2013 and opened to the public on 29 July.[124] It was considered the Best Portuguese Museum of 2014 by the Portuguese Association of Museology.[125]

Support

Benfica fans at the Estádio da Luz

The supporters of Benfica are known as Benfiquistas. They sing the club's anthem at the start of every home match and sometimes during the match.[126] They call the club o Glorioso (the Glorious One)[127] hence the popular chant "Glorioso SLB". In some countries, Benfica has supporters' clubs known as Casas do Benfica (Benfica Houses), which are places where Benfiquistas gather.[128] Benfica is also supported by the Diabos Vermelhos and the No Name Name Boys, two unlegalised supporters' groups.[129]

Benfica is the most popular club in Portugal.[130] According to a study done by Vox Populi, the Instituto Nacional de Estatística (INE) and Secretaria de Estado das Comunidades, Benfica has 14 million supporters worldwide: over 5.5 million in Europe (4.7 in Portugal); over 6 million in Mozambique (3.8) and Angola (2.7); over 1 million in the United States and Canada; with the rest of supporters located in Brazil, Venezuela, Caribbean, Indochina, China, Australia and India.[127][131][132][133][134] It has always been seen as the working-class club of Portugal.[135] According to a study performed for UEFA in 2012, Benfica is the European club with the highest percentage of supporters in its own country (47%).[130]

In the 2015–16 season, Benfica had an average home attendance of 50,322 in the Portuguese league and set a record at the Estádio da Luz. This average was the highest of the competition and the 12th highest among other European clubs.[136][137]

Members

The members of Benfica, who are called sócios, democratically elect the club president for a four-year term by voting in each candidate list, forming the highest governing body of the club. They also participate in the general assemblies, submit proposals, take part in discussions, and so forth. They can be elected for the governing bodies, to be designated for positions or functions at the club, etc.[7] In 2003 they switched to electronic voting.[138]

On 9 November 2006, Benfica set the Guinness World Record for "the most widely supported football club" with 160,398 paid-up members.[139] In 2014, according to a study by Movimento por um Futebol Melhor, Benfica had 270,000 members and was the biggest club in the world in membership terms.[140][141] On 31 March 2015, Benfica reported to have 246,401 members.[142] In August 2015, after a scheduled renumbering by the club, the number decreased to 156,916.[143]

Rivalries

Main articles: Derby de Lisboa and O Clássico

Benfica has rivalries with Sporting CP and FC Porto, with whom it forms the "Big Three": Portugal's most successful clubs. None of them have been relegated from the Portuguese league since its establishment in 1934.[144][145]

The Derby de Lisboa is the most important football derby in Portugal,[135] and is played between the Lisbon-based teams of Benfica and Sporting, for over a century. It is followed in Europe, Africa and the Americas.[146]

The rivalry between Benfica and FC Porto comes about as Lisbon and Porto are the largest Portuguese cities respectively, although Benfica also has a bigger fan base than Porto in the north of the country. They are the two most successful clubs in Portugal.[134] Any match between them is called O Clássico.[147]

Media

Benfica TV logo

Benfica TV or BTV is a sports-oriented television network launched in 2008 and operated by Benfica since.[148][149] Its premium channel broadcasts Benfica's live matches at home in the Primeira Liga, home matches from Benfica B and Farense in the Segunda Liga,[150] from the under-19 team and below, as well as matches from other sports of the club, including youth categories.[151] Until 2016, it broadcast three seasons of the English Premier League,[152] and one season of the Italian Serie A and French Ligue 1.[153]

Moreover, the club publishes the weekly newspaper O Benfica each Friday, since 28 November 1942. It contains information about everything in the club, mostly news. By 2005, it had a circulation of close to 10,000.[154][155] Benfica also publishes the quarterly magazine Mística since 6 December 2007. It includes interviews with players and personnel of the club, reports about the club's history and recent events, news, opinion pieces, overviews of different sports of the club, with football being its main focus, and a section dedicated to members of Benfica (sócios).[156] Issue 28 had a circulation of 97,600 in mainland Portugal.[157]

Finances

Sport Lisboa e Benfica – Futebol, SAD (a public limited company)[158] was created by João Vale e Azevedo on 10 February 2000 with an initial equity of €75 million.[159][160] There were five major reasons for creating an autonomous entity to manage the professional football team:[161]

  • Participation in professional football competitions at domestic and international level.
  • Development of football players.
  • Exploration of TV rights on open and closed channels.
  • Management of the players' image rights.
  • Exploitation of the Benfica brand by the professional football team and at sporting events.

Benfica SAD entered the PSI-20 on 21 May 2007[162] with an initial stock value of €5 on 15,000,001 shares. On 15 June 2007, Joe Berardo launched a partial takeover of Benfica SAD (60%) for €3.50 a share,[163][164] which was unsuccessful. On 23 December 2009, after a vote of its members, Benfica SAD increased the equity to €115 million by absorbing Benfica Estádio, SA. The initial equity of €75 million was by then completely lost, when the SAD was in balance sheet insolvency. This increase in equity meant that more than 7,999,999 shares were on the stock market, whose value was €5 each.[165] They were admitted to the stock market on 14 June 2012. (In Portugal, companies in the stock market index are obligated to provide information to their shareholders and the Portuguese Securities Market Commission, and every semester a more detailed report is published.)[166]

In 2009–10, the SAD posted losses of €11.3 million, an improvement from the nearly €30 million loss in 2008–09. In 2010–11, Benfica continued in the red, posting losses of €7.6 million,[167] even after the transfer of David Luiz to Chelsea for €25 million.[168] In 2011–12, SAD posted losses of €11.7 million,[169] after earning €20 million from the UEFA Champions League,[170] €30 million for Fábio Coentrão,[171] and €8.6 million for Roberto.[172] In 2012–13, SAD posted losses of €10.3 million and generated a club record €51.5 million with the transfers of Javi García and Axel Witsel for a total revenue of more than €145 million.[173] On 31 July 2014, the SAD completed the acquisition of Benfica Stars Fund by spending around €28.9 million for 85%, thus purchasing the remaining economic rights of nine players.[174][175] In 2013–14, SAD posted profits of €14.1 million, the total revenue was of €185 million with expenses of €151 million, both a club record. It was the first record profit since 2006–07.[176]

In 2015, Benfica was ranked by Deloitte as the twenty-sixth richest football club, with an annual revenue of €126 million,[177] and by Brand Finance as the fortieth most valuable football brand, valued at €85 million.[178]

Records and statistics

For more details on this topic, see List of S.L. Benfica records and statistics.

Individual

Statue of Benfica's all-time top goalscorer, Eusébio

Eusébio is the club's all-time top goalscorer[179] with 473 goals in 440 competitive matches.[180] He is also Benfica's top scorer in UEFA club competitions with 56 goals.[30] Nené has the most official appearances (575) and is the player with most titles won (19: 10 leagues, 7 cups, 2 super cups).[181] Luisão has the most appearances in European matches and is the captain with most matches.[30][182] Cosme Damião is the longest-serving coach (18 consecutive years).[183] Otto Glória is the coach with the most league titles won (4).[184] Jorge Jesus is the coach with most titles (10: 3 leagues, 1 cup, 5 league cups, 1 super cup).[185] Rui Vitória is the coach with the highest percentage of wins in the domestic league with a minimum 34 matches played (85.29%).[186]

Team

Benfica became the first team in Portuguese league history to complete two 30-game seasons without defeat, namely the 1972–73 and 1977–78 seasons. In the former, they achieved two records: 58 points in 30 matches, the most ever obtained (96.7% efficiency), and the largest difference of points ever between champions and runners-up (18 points) in a two-points-per-win system.[187] In the 2015–16 campaign, Benfica amassed 88 points in 34 matches and set the points record since the league is contested by 18 teams.[97][188]

Benfica holds the European record for the most consecutive wins in domestic league (29), between 1971–72 and 1972–73,[189] as well as the record for the longest unbeaten run in domestic league (56 matches), from 24 October 1976 to 1 September 1978.[190][191]

In the 1965–66 European Cup, Benfica scored 18 goals against Stade Dudelange and achieved the highest goal margin on aggregate in European Cup[192] and their biggest win in UEFA competitions.[30] In the UEFA Europa League, Benfica was the first club to reach two finals consecutively, the latter without defeat.[77] As of the 2015–16 season, Benfica have 35 appearances in UEFA Champions League and 19 appearances in UEFA Europa League.[30]

Recent seasons

Further information: List of S.L. Benfica seasons

Benfica's season-by-season performance over the last ten (completed) seasons:

Season Pos Pld W D L GF GA Pts Top league scorer Goals Top overall scorer Goals TP TL ST UCL UEL Refs
2006–07 3rd 30 20 7 3 55 20 67 Simão 11 Simão 16 R16 GS QF [193][194][195]
2007–08 4th 30 13 13 4 45 21 52 Óscar Cardozo 13 Óscar Cardozo 22 SF R4 GS R16 [196][197][198]
2008–09 3rd 30 17 8 5 54 32 59 Óscar Cardozo 17 Óscar Cardozo 17 R16 W GS [199][200][201]
2009–10 1st 30 24 4 2 78 20 76 Óscar Cardozo 26 Óscar Cardozo 38 R32 W QF [202][203][204]
2010–11 2nd 30 20 3 7 61 31 63 Óscar Cardozo 12 Óscar Cardozo 23 SF W RU GS SF [205][206][207]
2011–12 2nd 30 21 6 3 66 27 69 Óscar Cardozo 20 Óscar Cardozo 28 R16 W QF [208][209][210]
2012–13 2nd 30 24 5 1 77 20 77 Lima 20 Óscar Cardozo 33 RU SF GS RU [211][212][213]
2013–14 1st 30 23 5 2 58 18 74 Lima 14 Lima 21 W W GS RU [214][215][216]
2014–15 1st 34 27 4 3 86 16 85 Jonas 20 Jonas 31 R16 W W GS [217][218][219]
2015–16 1st 34 29 1 4 88 22 88 Jonas 32 Jonas 36 R32 W RU QF [220][221][222]
  • R4 = Fourth round, Q3 = Third qualifying round, GS = Group stage, R64 = Round of 64, R32 = Round of 32, R16 = Round of 16, QF = Quarter-finals, SF = Semi-finals, RU = Runners-up, W = Winners

Honours

Benfica's two European Cups at the club museum

Benfica have won a record 35 Primeira Liga,[223] a record 25 Taça de Portugal (and 4 consecutively), a record 7 Taça da Liga (and 4 consecutively), 6 Supertaça Cândido de Oliveira, 3 Campeonato de Portugal (a record 2 consecutive) – totalling 76 domestic titles – and 2 European Cups – totalling 78 titles overall,[13] or 78 titles with the Latin Cup.[102] (The latter is excluded from the trophy count by FIFA,[13] although its official website did include it.)[224] In 2014, Benfica achieved a historic treble of Primeira Liga, Taça de Portugal and Taça da Liga.[225][226] They also won the Supertaça,[86][87] becoming the only club to win all four domestic titles in a year. Benfica is also the only club to have won the Primeira Liga and Taça da Liga, moreover, four times.

Domestic competitions

Winners (35) – record: 1935–36, 1936–37, 1937–38, 1941–42, 1942–43, 1944–45, 1949–50, 1954–55, 1956–57, 1959–60, 1960–61, 1962–63, 1963–64, 1964–65, 1966–67, 1967–68, 1968–69, 1970–71, 1971–72, 1972–73, 1974–75, 1975–76, 1976–77, 1980–81, 1982–83, 1983–84, 1986–87, 1988–89, 1990–91, 1993–94, 2004–05, 2009–10, 2013–14, 2014–15, 2015–16
Winners (25) – record: 1939–40, 1942–43, 1943–44, 1948–49, 1950–51, 1951–52, 1952–53, 1954–55, 1956–57, 1958–59, 1961–62, 1963–64, 1968–69, 1969–70, 1971–72, 1979–80, 1980–81, 1982–83, 1984–85, 1985–86, 1986–87, 1992–93, 1995–96, 2003–04, 2013–14
Winners (7) – record: 2008–09, 2009–10, 2010–11, 2011–12, 2013–14, 2014–15, 2015–16
Winners (6): 1980, 1985, 1989, 2005, 2014, 2016
Winners (3): 1929–30, 1930–31, 1934–35

European competitions

Winners (2): 1960–61, 1961–62

Other competitions

Winners (1): 1950

Doubles and Trebles

10 – record: 1942–43, 1954–55, 1956–57, 1963–64, 1968–69, 1971–72, 1980–81, 1982–83, 1986–87, 2013–14
4 – record: 2009–10, 2013–14, 2014–15, 2015–16
1: 1960–61
1 – record: 2013–14

Orders

Players

First-team squad

As of 23 August 2016[229][230]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 Brazil GK Ederson
2 Argentina DF Lisandro López
3 Spain DF Álex Grimaldo
4 Brazil DF Luisão (captain)
5 Serbia MF Ljubomir Fejsa
7 Greece MF Andreas Samaris
8 Portugal MF André Horta
9 Mexico FW Raúl Jiménez
10 Brazil FW Jonas
11 Greece FW Konstantinos Mitroglou
12 Brazil GK Júlio César
13 Portugal GK Paulo Lopes
14 Sweden DF Victor Lindelöf
15 Peru MF André Carrillo
16 Croatia DF Branimir Kalaica
17 Serbia MF Andrija Živković
18 Argentina MF Eduardo Salvio (4th captain)
No. Position Player
19 Portugal DF Eliseu
20 Portugal FW Gonçalo Guedes
21 Portugal MF Pizzi
22 Argentina MF Franco Cervi
23 Argentina MF Oscar Benítez
25 Portugal FW Rui Fonte
28 Colombia MF Guillermo Celis
33 Brazil DF Jardel (vice-captain)
34 Portugal MF André Almeida (3rd captain)
35 Serbia FW Luka Jović
37 Brazil MF Danilo (on loan from Braga)
39 Morocco MF Mehdi Carcela-González
50 Portugal DF Nélson Semedo
Portugal MF Pelé
(6) Portugal MF Rúben Amorim
Portugal FW Nélson Oliveira

Out on loan

For reserve team players on loan, see S.L. Benfica B § Out on loan.

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
24 Italy MF Bryan Cristante (at Pescara until 30 June 2017)
27 Brazil DF Marçal (at Guingamp until 30 June 2017)
30 Brazil MF Talisca (at Beşiktaş until 30 June 2018)
38 Portugal FW Nuno Santos (at Vitória de Setúbal until 30 June 2017)
Brazil DF Luís Felipe (at Oeste until 31 December 2016)
Portugal MF Daniel Candeias (at Alanyaspor until 30 June 2017)
Brazil MF Diego Lopes (at América until 31 December 2016)
No. Position Player
Serbia MF Filip Đuričić (at Sampdoria until 30 June 2017)
Germany MF Hany Mukhtar (at Brøndby until 30 June 2017)
Argentina MF Luis Fariña (at Asteras Tripoli until 30 June 2017)
Netherlands MF Ola John (at Wolverhampton Wanderers until 30 June 2017)
Brazil FW Derley (at Chiapas until 30 June 2017)
Venezuela FW Jhon Murillo (at Tondela until 30 June 2017)
Austria FW Kevin Friesenbichler (at Austria Wien until 30 June 2017)

Former players

Retired numbers

No. Player Position Benfica debut Last match
29 Hungary Miklós Fehér FW 24 August 2002 25 January 2004

On 27 January 2004, the club retired the squad number 29 in memory of Miklós Fehér, who died while playing a Benfica match on 25 January 2004.[37][231][232]

Personnel

Technical staff

Rui Vitória is the current manager.
Position Name
Head coach Rui Vitória
Assistant coach Arnaldo Teixeira
Sérgio Botelho
Minervino Pietra
Marco Pedroso
Fitness coach Paulo Mourão
Goalkeeping coach Luís Esteves
Benfica LAB coordinator Bruno Mendes

Source: [233]

Management

Luís Filipe Vieira is the current president.
Position Name
President Luís Filipe Vieira
Vice-president Rui Cunha
Rui Gomes da Silva
Domingos Almeida Lima
José Eduardo Moniz
Nuno Gaioso
João Varandas Fernandes
Alcino António
Sílvio Cérvan
President of general assembly Luís Nazaré
President of fiscal board Nuno Afonso Henriques

Source: [234]

See also

References

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Further reading

  • Correio da Manhã (2004). Benfica Centenarium 100 nomes 100 histórias [Centenarium Benfica 100 names 100 stories] (in Portuguese). Portugal: Heska Portuguesa, S.A. (published January 2004). ISBN 972-99026-1-5. 
  • Pereira, Luís Miguel (2014). Bíblia do Benfica [Benfica Bible] (in Portuguese). Portugal: PrimeBooks. ISBN 978-989-655-215-2. 
  • Tovar, Rui Miguel (2014). Almanaque do Benfica [Benfica Almanac] (in Portuguese). Portugal: Lua de Papel. ISBN 978-989-23-2764-8. 

External links