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S.L. Benfica

Sport Lisboa e Benfica (commonly referred to as simply Benfica, S.L. Benfica and in many fan anthems as SLB ) is a multisports club based in Lisboa (Lisbon), Portugal, best known for its football team. Sport Lisboa e Benfica was founded in 1904 by a group of twenty-four men. The club's main stadium is the Estádio da Luz in the Luz area of Lisbon.

They were founding members of Portuguese Liga in 1933, and, together with FC Porto and Sporting CP, they have not yet been relegated from the Primeira Divisão.

Benfica is the most successful club in Portugal with a total of 31 Portuguese Liga, 27 Portuguese Cup, 4 SuperCup Cândido de Oliveira, 2 UEFA Champions League and 1 Latin Cup. The club has 7 UEFA Champions League finals an one Uefa cup.

As a club oriented to multiple sports, Benfica has departments for athletics, basketball, cycling, football, futsal, handball, judo, rink hockey, rugby, swimming, volleyball, and others. Benfica has won several titles in these sports.

SL Benfica has the biggest fan base among Portuguese clubs, having also the largest number of supporters outside of Portugal for a Portuguese club, with a total of 14 million Benfica's supporters worldwide with 6 million in Portugal alone.

History

Foundation and first years (1904-1910)

On February 28, 1904, a reunion took place in Rua de Belém, in the southwest of Lisbon, with the goal to form a new football club, that would be called Grupo Sport Lisboa. There were 24 people in that reunion including the co-founder and the future soul of the club, Cosme Damião. José Rosa Rodrigues was also appointed the first president.

The first game was played in January 1905. Despite important football victories in the first years, the club suffered from poor conditions. In 1907, several players from the first team joined the wealthy Sporting CP.

In 1908, the Grupo Sport Lisboa (GSL) acquired by mutual agreement the Sport Clube de Benfica (SCB). None of the clubs were destroyed: the first maintained the football team, the red and white shirt colours, the eagle as a symbol, the E Pluribus Unum as the motto, and the logo. The latter the football field, the main directors, and the club's house; the foundation date was chosen the one of the Grupo Sport Lisboa, as it was the most important club of the reunion, being also already quite popular around Lisbon because of is football merits. Sport Lisboa e Benfica is the only club of the “Big Three” that never changed its foundation date. A bycicle wheel was then chosen to join the GSL's logo, as it was the most important sport of SCB (a club founded in 1906 as Grupo Sport Benfica, would change later the name) and Benfica was added to the Sport Lisboa name. The club moved from the Belém area to the Benfica area, a suburb located north of the city. Both clubs had simultaneous associates, something that increased the success of this decision.

In October 1908, a month after the agreement, the club won the first game ever against Sporting. In the 1909/10 season, Carcavelos Club' reign in the last three years as the Lisbon Champions was over; this season was considered a "golden one", as the club won all the three regional championships in dispute, establishing a first record.

An early age of achievements (1910-1922)

Between 1910 and 1922, the club won eleven regional titles in the football first category Lisbon championships, failing only two titles.

Meanwhile, the club’s popularity increased outside of Lisbon borders. Several affiliate clubs were created, mainly in the Algarve.

The 1913/14 season was very successful, as the club was the first to win the regional Lisbon championships' in all the four categories.

The first international matches were played with some relevant results: in 1913, the club won their first international football trophy, named "Torneio 3 cidades" (Three cities' Tournament).

The Rink Hockey department was created in 1917. In 1919, the club organized the first ever football game played at night in Portugal.

It was not until the 1920s decade that the club became more known as Benfica. A falling out within the club regarding some football players led to several members leaving the club and founding Belenenses, which is now Lisbon's third largest football club. This is regarded as the second major crisis within the club.

Football crisis and cycling dominance (1922-1930)

The national football competitions only began in the 1920s. The impact of the defection of players to Belenenses' was made worse by further losses due to the creation of the Casa Pia Atletico Clube club in Lisbon. This exodus of players left Sport Lisboa e Benfica struggling in the following years and the club would only win two regional titles until 1930.

Fortunately for Benfica, cycling took up the slack and became an important source of victories. Spearheading the team was Alfredo Luís Piedade, considered to be one of the greatest names in Portuguese cycling.

In 1925, the club inaugurated the Amoreiras Stadium. The departments of Field Hockey, Rugby and Basketball were created in this decade; only the first mentioned doesn’t have official activities today.

The first national football titles (the 1930’s)

The 1930s were a much kinder decade to Benfica. The club's football team started the decade by winning two national championships (for the first time) in 1930 and 1931 and one regional championship.

After losing the first national championship to FCPorto in the 1934/35 season, Benfica won the next three championships in a row (1935/36, 1936/37 and 1937/38), and the first Portuguese cup, in 1939/40.

Cycling continued to be the key sport within the club. The duels between Benfica's José Maria Nicolau and Sporting Lisbon's Alfredo Trinidade on the road throughout the country entralled many fans and were a critical factor for the ascendance of popularity of not only Benfica but also Sporting Lisbon. José Maria Nicolau is regarded as one of Benfica's greatest ever cyclist and won two Volta a Portugal's titles in 1931 and 1934.

The 1940’s

The 1940s saw the domination by Benfica and Sporting in the country's football championship to an extent never seen before. Between 1941 and 1950, the two clubs finished first and second in every championship save the 1945/6 season. During this period, Benfica and Sporting each won four titles. By now, football was clearly the club's most important sport.

The 1950’s

Benfica's first major international football success happened in 1950 when they won the Latin Cup by defeating Girondins de Bordeaux in the final. The Latin Cup was then seen as one of Europe's most prestigious European Cups in a time when UEFA had yet to launch its unified European Cups.

Another highlight came in 1954 when Benfica moved into its first own stadium, the famous Estádio da Luz. It initially had capacity for 40,000 spectators, but this was gradually expanded due to club's growing success and fan base.

Benfica won three championships during the 1950s and were runner-ups three times. They also gathered six Portuguese Cups, and their accomplishments included a series of four consecutive victories between 1948 and 1953. The Portuguese cup was not held in 1950 due to the Latin Cup being organised in Portugal.

In addition to all these successes, Benfica was able to end the decade with the foundations in place enabling the club to enter the 1960s with one of the best teams in Europe.

The Golden Era (1960-1970)

Benfica was the first team to break Real Madrid's dominance in the early European Champions' Cup. Having won two European Cups in a row against FC Barcelona (1961) and Real Madrid (1962).

During this decade Benfica would reach another 3 European Champions' Cup finals, but the Lisbon club never managed to win a European trophy again. Having lost against A.C. Milan (1963), Internazionale (1965) and Manchester United (1968).

In 1968, Benfica was considered the best European team by France Football despite its defeat in the Champions Cup. Many of its successes in the 1960s were achieved with all-time football great Eusébio playing for the Lisbon side. In fact, the 60's were the best period of Benfica history, in which the club won an astonishing 8 Championships (1960, 61, 63, 64, 65, 67, 68 and 69), 3 Portuguese Cups (1961, 64 and 69) and 2 European Champions Cup (1961 and 62).

The Silver Era (1970-1994)

During the 1970s, the team faded slightly from the European scene, but remained the main force inside Portuguese football, winning 6 championships (1971, 72, 73, 75, 76 and 77) and 2 Portuguese cups (1970 and 72). Jimmy Hagan led the club to three successive Portuguese championships, and once to the national cup between 1970 and 1973. Benfica also attracted Europe-wide attention when the team reached the semi-finals of the European Cup of Champions, where the team was only narrowly defeated 0-1 on aggregate by the legendary Ajax of that era.

In 1972-73 Benfica became the only ever club in Portugal to last a whole season without defeat and won 28 matches - 23 consecutively - out of 30, and drew two. In that year Eusébio also became Europe's top scorer with 40 goals, in what was his penultimate season as a Benfica player. The team scored 101 goals, breaking 100 only for the second time in their history.

The club had some problems in the late 70s, early 80s, but managed to stand up to its standards again, this time under the guidance of Sven-Göran Eriksson. In 2 years (1983 and 1984) the club won 2 championships, 1 Portuguese cup and reached the final of the UEFA Cup in 1983 against Anderlecht.

In 1985 the board decided to close the third level in the Estádio da Luz, which transformed the stadium into one of the biggest in Europe, with a standing room capacity of 120.000 and in 1987 Benfica won another double (championship+Portuguese cup), an achievement done for the ninth time in their history.

During the period from 1988-94 Benfica made a huge financial investment in an effort to win another European cup, but the club failed to meet its expectations. While they did reach the European cup final in 1988 & 1990, Benfica lost in the final against PSV Eindhoven and AC Milan respectively. Domestically, Benfica won 3 more championships (1989, 1991 and 1994) and 1 Portuguese cup (1993).

The Dark Years (1994-2003)

Financial trouble began to undermine the club due to rampant spending and a questionable signing policy which allowed for squads composed of well over 30 players. Consequently the period from 1994 through 2003 was arguably the darkest in the history of Benfica. During this time Benfica only won one Portuguese cup ('96) and finished in embarrassing positions such as 6th in '00/'01 and 4th in '01/'02. The debts were accumulating, and nearly every year saw the hire of a new Benfica coach and the addition of high-priced but under-performing players.

The New Era (2004-Present)

In 2004 the club regained some of its sporting prowess, with a new president and the manager Jose Antonio Camacho, winning the first title in eight years (the Portuguese cup, won against Mourinho's FC Porto in the final), and in 2004–2005 the first national championship in eleven years, this time with Giovanni Trapattoni as coach. In 2005/2006 Benfica won the Portuguese supercup for the 4th time.

In the 2005-06 Champions League, Benfica managed to reach the quarter-finals, defeating Manchester United 2-1 in the decisive group stage encounter, and then overcoming the 2005 European champions Liverpool F.C. 3-0 on aggregate. However Benfica lost in the Quarter Finals to the eventual winner F.C. Barcelona by an aggregate of 2-0, both goals coming during the second leg in Camp Nou. In the 2006 -07 season Benfica found themselves again facing Manchester United in a decisive Champions League group match in which the winner would advance. However, this time it was Manchester United who prevailed, gaining revenge in a 3 - 1 win. On 20th August 2007 Jose Antonio Camacho returned to SL Benfica on a 2-year contract, following the sacking of Fernando Santos after only one match in the league (a tie against the recently promoted Leixões), at time when Benfica was facing a vital Champions League qualifying game against F.C. Copenhagen. Benfica granted a place in the Champions League after defeating F.C. Copenhagen for 1-0, but eventually exited the competition at the group stage. They then parachuted to the UEFA Cup where they were defeated by Spanish debutants, Getafe CF. Camacho resigned a few months later, in March, with Benfica 14 points behind the leaders Porto in the Portuguese League. Benfica failed to gain a top three finish in the Portuguese Liga 2007-08, placing the team in the UEFA Cup for the upcoming season.

On May 22nd 2008, the former Valencia manager, Quique Sanchez Flores was appointed as the clubs new manager for the new season.

Stadium

The Estádio da Luz officially named the Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica which translated means, "Stadium of Light", is a football stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, the home of SL Benfica. It is also called A Catedral ("The Cathedral") by Benfica's supporters due to historical reasons.

The term "Luz" refers, historically, to the parish of the Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Luz (the Church of Our Lady of the Light). The Stadium of Light in Sunderland, England may well have been inspired by the name of this Lisbon stadium.

Some people mistakenly believe the stadium is mistranslated as "The Stadium of Light", however, they are incorrect.

In Spanish and Portuguese, the word "Luz" means "Light". Although the stadium was named in honor of the parish, the words "da Luz" in the parish name translates to "of the Light". Hence, the name is not mistranslated and is correctly translated. It is incorrect grammatically, to refer to this naming as a "misnomer".

It hosted several matches in the 2004 European Football Championship, including the final. The previous Benfica stadium (also called "Estádio da Luz" and one of the largest stadiums in the world with 120,000 seats) was demolished and the new one was built for the tournament with a capacity of 65,400.

Training center and youth academy

Benfica has state-of-the-art training facilities in Seixal. The complex is called Caixa Futebol Campus, named for sponsoring reasons after Caixa Geral de Depósitos which is the largest banking corporation of Portugal. It is here that the professional team trains daily and also the home of all Benfica's youth academy.

Supporters

In Portugal, a majority of the population who likes competitive football, are said to be Benfica sympathisers. Almost every municipality of Portugal has its own Casa do Benfica (House of Benfica), which can also be found in many cities and towns of countries worldwide (Andorra, Angola, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Cape Verde, England, France, Germany, Guinea-Bissau, Luxembourg, Macau, South Africa, Switzerland, and United States).

Since the 2004-2005 championship, club membership figures have seen a significant increase (See reasons above). In April 2006 the number of club members surpassed 140,000. In July 2006, S.L. Benfica had 143,000 members, 1,000 more than Manchester United. S.L. Benfica is since 2006, the club with the most associates (registered paying supporters) in the world, with over 160,000 members.

Like all major Portuguese football clubs, Benfica has an organized group of supporters (claque, in Portugal), including the Diabos Vermelhos (Red Devils), which is affiliated with the club, and the No Name Boys, which maintains an independent line.

Benfica has also the highest average attendance in Portuguese top league with about 40 thousand supporters in season 2006-07.

Organization and finances

Sport Lisboa e Benfica is organized by sports department and has a number of specific businesses. The holding company for all Sport Lisboa e Benfica's departments and businesses is the Sport Lisboa e Benfica SGPS, S.A. that has participations in all branches and businesses of the club.

Sport Lisboa e Benfica - Futebol, S.A.D., the football department, is the largest by number of athletes, allocated budget, attendance and sponsoring contract's receipts. Portuguese stock market authority CMVM approved in 2007 the Benfica's prospectus for the initial public offering (IPO) for up to 15 mln shares in the Futebol, S.A.D., a 33% free-float. Sport Lisboa e Benfica - Futebol, S.A.D. (ticker: SLBEN) debuted on Euronext Lisbon on 22 May 2007 and is since then a publicly traded company. In June 2007, after the share price has fallen from an initial 5€/share to nearly 2,69€/share, Portuguese businessman Joe Berardo made a takeover offer of 60% of the stock for 3,5€/share. Benfica's president Luís Filipe Vieira refused the offer saying "Benfica will always have the majority of the stock".

During the 2005-06 season, SL Benfica was ranked 20th in the Deloitte Football Money League with an estimated revenue of €85.1 million, being the third in the Iberian Peninsula behind only Spain's Real Madrid and F.C. Barcelona, and becoming the first Portuguese football club to appear in the Money League.

In the last five years Benfica more than double their revenues.

Benfica's revenue sources and percentages:

  • 2002 - €42 mln
  • 2003 - €40 mln
  • 2004 - €55 mln
  • 2005 - €63 mln
  • 2006 - €85.1 mln

The other sports departments have their own budget policy, sponsoring contracts and government bodies. Although being traditionally referred to as "the amateur sports departments", many of their main competitive teams are composed of full-time professional athletes and coaches. They develop also instructional and youth sport programmes at both men's and women's sports events.

The businesses include a network of Benfica's merchandising shops (Loja do Benfica) across the country, the online shop and Benfica's stadium management. Other projects like a S.L. Benfica TV channel, which as already been approved and starts broadcasting in November, a radio station and even a motorsports team have been discussed and are possibilities for the future.

Structure:

  • Sport Lisboa e Benfica (the sports club)
  • Sport Lisboa e Benfica – Futebol, SAD (company for football) - 40% owned by Sport Lisboa e Benfica; 10,04% owned by Sport Lisboa e Benfica, SGPS, SA
  • Sport Lisboa e Benfica, SGPS, SA (holding company)
  • Sport Lisboa e Benfica – Multimédia, SA (multimedia)
  • Benfica Estádio – Construção e Gestão de Estádios, SA (stadium management)
  • Sport Lisboa e Benfica – Comercial – Gestão e Exploração da Marca Benfica, SA (brand management/merchandising)

Notable figures

Some notable personalities in S.L. Benfica's history include (chronological order):

  • Cosme Damião: Co-founder of the Sport Lisboa in February 28th, 1904, player and captain of the team (he retired as a player (midfielder) in 1916, aged 30), and coach for a record 18 years, Cosme Damião would become the heart and soul of the club in the first twenty-two years of the club's existence. A charismatic figure, he was also one of the directors of the club that eventually became SL Benfica, and it is not easy to fully understand all his contributions to the club, as he was involved in all Benfica's departments; despite this, he never became President. He was behind all the club's major issues during that period; in 1908, as Sport Lisboa barely struggled to create a new football team after the departure of many players to newly founded and wealthier Sporting CP (one of the reasons for that being that Sport Lisboa didn't have a football field of their own), he literally saved Sport Lisboa from collapse. Thanks to his efforts, the main assets of Grupo Sport Benfica were acquired by Sport Lisboa (the football field, the club house, and even the board of directors), thus creating Sport Lisboa e Benfica. Cosme Damião had a clear vision for SL Benfica's future: he was in favour of sports eclecticism, of the founding of regional houses and increasing the number of associates (thus laying the groundstone to the Club's national dimension), and also of playing international football games. This merit is extraordinary, as virtually all of the first Lisbon clubs disappeared, with the exception of Sporting C.P., Belenenses and Casa Pia A.C., all of them founded with players contracted at Sport Lisboa e Benfica. Cândido de Oliveira said about him: "He made of Benfica the biggest Portuguese club". He was later awarded with the Golden Eagle, the most important Benfica award for lifetime achievements in favour of the Club. Benfica annually celebrates his name on a sports gala in which the club's athletes and personalities of the year are nominated and receive the Cosme Damião awards.
  • Ribeiro dos Reis: One of the players in Portugal's very first international friendly (against Spain) in 1921, he played for Benfica in the years 1914-1925. He was also an athlete, making good use of his impressive speed. Ribeiro dos Reis was also a remarkable sports journalist, debuting at this parallel career in 1915. He would as well give his personal mark as a coach, a director in Benfica and in FPF, and as a prestigious referee and national coach. A man of culture, he was nominated for the FIFA Referees' Committee and was co-founder of the oldest sports newspaper still active today, A Bola. He is one of the few personalities awarded with the Golden Eagle, the main award given by SL Benfica, recognizing notable achievements in favour of the club.
  • José Maria Nicolau: It wasn't any football achievement to give national recognition to Benfica, but cycling, by giving continued sport days along many cities and villages of Portugal. This was incarnated by a strong man, whose days on a bicycle since 1929 and through the next decade contributed uncountable memories to the people. Nicolau gave to Portugal's sport many passionate and unforgettable days competing on a bicycle, especially with his friend although teams rival Trindade. Nicolau in the thirties was considered a national sport hero, and he alone conceded to the club a human patrimony that still is today one of the Benfica's trademark: it's huge popularity. He won two times the Volta a Portugal as well as many other smaller competitions and classics.
  • Espírito Santo: A living legend of Benfica's History. He was the perfect example of an eclectic athlete: as a footballer, he represented the club for 12 seasons, between 1936 and 1950, winning seven titles overall. Because of his gentleness and capabilities inside of the field, he soon became known as “the Black Pearl". Meanwhile, he proved his immense talent in sports elsewhere: in 1938, just two years after arriving, he was honoured with the award “Silver Eagle”, for remarkable achievements in athletics events – he beat three national records in all the jumps categories; he would later became the Iberian record holder of the high jump. In the beginning of the 1940s, he was the most popular player of Benfica and one of the top Portuguese athletes. He also practiced tennis and later was awarded with the Golden Eagle Award. He was congratulated honourable president in a symbolical gesture during Benfica's celebration of the club's centenary, in 2004.
  • Rogério: Probably the greatest Portuguese footballer in the beginning of the 1950s, he was known as a skilled dribbler and a fine crosser. Rogério was also a great goalscorer. He has the record for more goals in the Portuguese cups and was part of the Benfica team that won the first international cup, the Latin Cup. He lifted the cup, despite not being the captain. He made with Arsénio a great duo. He was properly nicknamed Pipi, from a team mate, because that was a common Portuguese name referring to an elegant and fashionable man (as Rogério was inside and outside of the field). One of Benfica's legends, he played more than 300 games in 12 seasons at the club, with an impressive record of more than 200 goals scored.
  • Otto Glória: The man that brought professionalism to Benfica in the 50's and many said that without his influence in the structure, no Champions Cup would be won. Using the 4-4-2 tactic, imported from Brazil, as well as new training techniques, the Brazilian master shaped Benfica in such a way that he granted the pillars to Portuguese domination and international rising.
  • Costa Pereira: An eclectic athlete, before fixing himself in the football world, Costa Pereira was Benfica's keeper for thirteen years, and is one of the club's legendary names. Was European champion twice, Portuguese national champion seven times, and won five Portuguese cups, with more than 350 games played at the club. Was an international player between 1955 and 1965.
  • Mário Coluna: was a Mozambican-born Portuguese footballer, perhaps the best midfielder his country has ever had. His footballer nickname is O Monstro Sagrado (The Holy Monster). In 1999, he was voted 60th in the European Player of the Century election held by the IFFHS ahead of Gunnar Gren. He moved to Benfica in 1954/55, where he played until 1969/70. He won 10 National Championships, and 6 Portuguese Cups. He won the European Cup twice with Benfica, in 1961 and 1962, and also played in the finals of 1963, 1965 and 1968, this last time as the captain. He played 57 times for the Portugal national team, scoring 8 goals.
  • José Águas: The legendary captain that won and had the destiny of rising the most important cup of Benfica history. Known for being a spectacular header and a tireless worker, Águas marked an era and confessed years later that he played football like it was a normal job. His son, Rui Águas, who played for FC Porto in 1988 and return to Benfica in 1990, scored 2 goals against Steaua Bucaresti in the 1988 Champions Cup semi-final to take Benfica to the final after 20 years of absence.
  • Torcato Ferreira: A legendary coach of the Portuguese rink hockey, he is responsible for 8 national championships and the appearance of players like Garrancho, Livramento and Ramalhete.
  • Béla Guttmann: This Hungarian coach arrived at Benfica in 1959 and led the club to the Portuguese title in his very first year. Better then that, in the following two years, with a team that included Eusébio, José Águas, José Augusto, Costa Pereira, António Simões, Germano and Mário Coluna, the club won the European Cup twice in a row. In 1961 they beat Barcelona 3-2 in the final and in 1962 they retained the title, coming from 2-0 and 3-2 down to beat Real Madrid 5-3. But after this game he decided to leave the club, because of monetarial controversy with the Benfica directors and that's when, the legend says, he cursed the club: "Not in a hundred years from now, will Benfica win a European Cup again.". The truth is that despite being finalists on six occasions - 1963 (A.C. Milan, 1-2 in Wembley), 1965 (Inter Milan, 0-1 in San Siro), 1968 (Manchester United, 1-4 AET in Wembley), 1983 (Anderlecht, 0-1 in Belgium, 1-1 in Portugal), 1988 (PSV Eindhoven, in Neckarstadion 0-0 , 5-6 pk) and 1990 (AC Milan 0-1, in Ernst Happel Stadion) - Benfica have never won any European competition again. In fact, before the 1990 final, which was played in Vienna, where Guttmann was buried, Eusébio prayed at his grave to ask for the curse to be broken. It wasn't.
  • António Livramento: Recognized as the greatest rink hockey player ever, he made a career in Benfica for 15 years (1959-74) winning 8 championships and several cups. He was part of one of the best hockey teams ever in Portugal, with the goalkeeper Ramalhete, Garrancho, Casimiro and Jorge Vicente, in the 1960s.
  • Ramalhete: Considered one of best rink hockey keepers ever, Ramalhete played for Benfica between 1960-74 and 1979-81. Won eight national championships and 3 Portuguese cups. The team never won any international title, despite being in three European Cups finals.
  • José Torres: The Bom Gigante (Good Giant) made a legacy that no one can forget. He and Eusébio made one of the more lethal duos of the 60's, and scored the goal that granted the bronze medal in 1966. He was the coach of the Portuguese team in the World Cup 1986 and before the miracle of Stuttgart he asked the press to let him dream of an impossible win against the powerful Germany; and eventually, Carlos Manuel, against all odds, scored the goal that made that dream possible.
  • José Augusto: The Portuguese Garrincha, considered in the 60's one of the best right wingers of the world by the European press. He scored the goal in the first Portuguese win against Brazil and was known for his speed and dribbling and for being a good scorer. He was part of the "Fabulous Five" of Benfica (Coluna, José Augusto, António Simões, José Torres and Eusébio).
  • António Simões: One of the greatest left wingers the world has met. With 18 years he was part of the team that beat 5-3 Real Madrid at the 1962 Champions Cup Final and the Portuguese team of "Magriços" in the 1966 World Cup. Known for his perfect assists to Eusébio, even today many say that more than half of the Black Panther goals belong as well to Simões.

  • Eusébio: The days of the Portuguese international Eusébio were Benfica's most glory filled years. In 1962, he won the Champions Cup, scoring two goals in the final against Ferenc Puskás and Alfredo Di Stéfano's Real Madrid. Benfica won 5-3. He scored 46 goals for Portugal in 64 appearances, and hit 317 goals in 291 League games for Benfica. He was the leading scorer in the 1966 World Cup where he scored nine goals, four of those against North Korea. He was the 1965 European Footballer of the Year, and in 1968 was the first winner of the Golden Boot Award, as Europe's leading scorer, a feat he repeated five years later. The Portuguese Liga's top scorer seven times from 1964 to 1973, he helped Benfica to 11 league championships and 5 cup wins. He scored an outrageous 727 goals in 715 matches wearing Benfica's jersey. Eusébio was the all-time leading scorer for his country, with 41 goals (in 64 matches), until Pauleta surpassed his record against Latvia on October 12, 2005. His last game for the Selecção was a 2-2 draw with Bulgaria on October 19, 1973 in a World Cup qualifier. There is a statue of Eusebio at the main entrance of the Estádio da Luz.
  • Humberto Coelho: Considered by many as the best Portuguese defender of all times, Humberto played for Benfica from 1968/69 to 1974/75, and from 1977/78 to 1984/85. He won 8 National Champion titles and 7 Portuguese Cups and was Portuguese Footballer of the Year in 1974. Unfortunately he never played in a major competition (he had a chance in 84 but had a terrible injury). He was compared by his coaches (Pavic, Baroti, Hagan) to Franz Beckenbauer. Later, he coached Portugal in a spectacular campaign in the Euro 2000.
  • Toni: Known as "The Bearer of the Mística", Toni was known in-game as a force of nature, due to his stamina and strength. Captain and coach, he is the man that represented Benfica more times than anyone else with nearly 400 games as a player and 300 as a coach. He guided the team to great games like Leverkusen (4-4) or Sporting (6-3 in alvalade). His stint in 2001-2002 didn't go well and many said that was because he didn't evolve in his coaching skills. Even the less he still is considered a legend.
  • Manuel Bento: Probably the greatest Portuguese keeper ever. Since his debut in the Selecção until his last game against England in the World Cup 1986 he played 63 of the 65 games that the national team played since his debut. He played more than 400 games for Benfica. He was considered one of the best keepers of the Euro 84 specially after a spectacular exhibition against France (2-3). He was hired in 1972 and ended his career in 1991.
  • Shéu Han: The red general, of Mozambican and Chinese heritage, Shéu Han played more than 400 times for Benfica and was known for his finesse in the game. He scored the goal in the 1983 UEFA Cup final that didn't prevent Anderlecht from winning the trophy. Even today he is the team secretary and very popular among the fans.
  • Jimmy Hagan: Invincible should be his name, after winning the Portuguese Championship in 1972/73 with an unbeaten run (28 wins and 2 draws, with 23 of those victories in a row). He won 3 titles (70-73) and created a team that rivaled with none in Portugal.
  • Borges Coutinho: The most notorious president of Benfica. He led the club from 1969 to 1977 and in that period the club won 6 championships and 3 Portuguese cups, maintaining the club finances in a very good state.
  • Chalana: His first appearance in the senior team was at the age of 17 years old. He played in the club from 1975/76 to 1983/84 and 1987/88 to 1989/90 and won 6 championships and 3 Portuguese cups. He made one of the best left wing duos of Portugal and Europe (because of exibithions in euro 84) with Álvaro Magalhães. He played more than 300 and is still remembered for his incredible dribbling style and speed. The peak of his career was at Euro 84, where he was one the leading figures of the National Team that reached the semi-finals.
  • António Leitão: Athlete specialized in middle distance, he is an undeniable name of the Portuguese 1980's athletics generation. Was national champion and record holder of the main distances. Won the European Cup twice in a row, in the 5000 metres distance, in the 1983 and 1985 events. In the Los Angeles' Olympic Games, held in 1984, he was bronze medalist in the 5000 metres event, placing his name as the first and until now the only one of Benfica's athletes to won Olympic medals.
  • Alexandre Yokochi: A notable name of Benfica and one of Portugal's greatest sportsmen, Yokochi is considered the best Portuguese swimmer of all-time; he was specialized in the 100 and 200 metres breaststroke. Was many times national champion and achieved international status by fulfilling great results in several competitions, including Latin titles and a silver medal on the European Championships. He also accomplished remarkable results at the World Championships and at the Olympics Games, where he was a finalist in 1984 and winner of the B final in 1988, both in the 200 metres breaststroke events.
  • Carlos Manuel: The Barreiro Express. He played more than 300 times for Benfica and was known for his technique, resistance, shooting skills and strength (years as a train rail worker). Crucial as both leader and scorer, he his also known for his decisive goal against Germany during the last game of the 1986 Football World Cup Qualifiers, placing the national team in the competition for the second time and ending an absence of twenty years. He won 4 national championships and was part of the Barreiro Group (Bento, Diamantino, Chalana, Frederico).
  • Diamantino Miranda: Even today Benfica supporters still cry of his absence in the Stuttgart Champions Cup Final of 88, specially because before his injury against Vitória Guimarães he was in a spectacular form. Known for his fantasy, Diamantino was also known for being a rebel but always giving his best for the team.
  • António Veloso: One of the few players that surpassed 500 games for Benfica in all competitions. Known for being resourceful, he played in various positions throughout his career. Veloso was the player that was most times team captain and bearer of the "Mística". He was the player who missed the penalty kick in the penalty shootout of the 1988 Champions Cup Final, and he missed the 1990 Final due to seeing a yellow card in the semi-final against Marseille, after fouling a player that was about to score a goal that would prevent Benfica from reaching the final.
  • Sven-Göran Eriksson: Success at other clubs in Sweden got him into a bigger job in Portugal as he took over Benfica. While at Benfica Eriksson had what many considerer a quick impact at the Estádio da Luz when in his first season he won the Portuguese Championship, the Portuguese cup and finished runner-up in the 1983 UEFA Cup. After a second Championship the following year, Eriksson moved to Italy with A.S. Roma where he won the Coppa Italia in 1986. In 1989 Benfica once again was where the Swedish coach began using his managing power. In 1990 Sven led Benfica to the European Cup final with players like prolific striker Mats Magnusson, and where they were runners-up to A.C. Milan, Sven also won another league title in 1991.
  • Carlos Lisboa: Recognized by the Basketball specialists as the greatest Portuguese player of all-time, Lisboa was the leading figure of the most gifted team of the Portuguese Basketball. Between 1985 and 1996, Benfica basketball team dominated the national competitions, having won an astonishing number of trophies, surpassing more than twenty official titles. At Europe competitions, Benfica won against European giants. Lisboa was a talented player, with huge percentages in the 3-point line. A famous line from the Fado song "Cheira a Lisboa" was adopted by the fans to cheer Lisboa and the Benfica team ("It smells of Lisbon", simple translation, as "Lisboa" literally means "Lisbon"): Cheira bem, cheira a Lisboa! (... it smells good, it smells of Lisbon!...).
  • Carlos Mozer: One of the best foreigner defenders in Benfica's History, Mozer was known for being tough and skillful. He played for the club in two different periods (1987-89 and 1992-95) and today still has a close relation with the club.
  • Ricardo Gomes: The Brazilian central defender arrived in the summer of 1988 and quickly became a key figure in the team. Although they only played a season together, he made with Carlos Mozer an important duo in the club's History. He represented Benfica until the end of the 1991 season, and returned to the club to fulfill another season (199596). With a total of four titles won in four seasons, probably his greatest achievement in the club was realized in April 1991, when he became the first foreigner to be the captain of a football team of Benfica.
  • Rui Costa: Known as The Maestro by Benfica fans, has a life long love affair with the club. He arrived at the club as a 10 year old, and debuted at 20 years old with the senior team in 1991. He spent more 3 years at the club winning one Portuguese league and one Portuguese cup. He then moved to Fiorentina in the biggest transfer of Portuguese football, back then. A famous episode took place when he returned to Estadio da Luz to a friendly between Benfica and Fiorentina, and after he scored a goal for the Italians, he started to cry, as the Benfica fans cheered in applauses. In 2006 he returned to Benfica. He retired from football at the end of the 2007/2008 season and immediately took up a position as a club Director at Benfica.
  • Luís Ferreira: Captain of Benfica Hockey team during the 1990-2002 period, Luis Ferreira was one of the best players of the team. He retired in 2002, with thirty-seven years, after 18 official titles won.
  • Mário Palma: The legendary Basketball coach who led Benfica in the 1990s to great results in Europe, beating teams like Cibona Zagreb, Panathinaikos, Pao Orthez, Paok, Real Madrid, Joventut, Buckler, Olimpija Ljubilana, CSKA Moscow and Partizan; a list of international results that was considered rather impossible or very hard to achieve to many specialized viewers, during that time. He succeeded Tim Shea and organized a team that is easily recognizable in Portugal as the most successful team ever, with Carlos Lisboa, Pedro Miguel, Jean Jacques, José Carlos Guimarães, Mike Plowden, Henrique Vieira, among other players. The group won 11 national championships in 12 years (with a period of seven titles won in a row). Palma was responsible for 5 of those titles and the referred European victories.
  • Carlos Dantas: Led Benfica to 5 national rink hockey championships, 7 Portuguese cups, 5 supercups and one CERS cup during 1988 and 2003. He returned to Benfica in the 2006 season.
  • Jean-Jacques: One of the best Angolan players ever and a symbol of Benfica's Basketball. He won 7 championships and 4 cups and is still remembered for his skills among the fans.
  • Pedro Miguel: The point guard of the Portuguese Basketball "dream-team", in the 1990s period (5 national championships, 9 Portuguese cups). He was the player responsible for the victory against Real Madrid in October 1996, in Spain, by scoring two decisive points in the last moments of the game.
  • Vitor Fortunato: One of the best defenders of the hockey World during his stint in Benfica and a regular in the national team during the 1990s. He stayed in the team until 2002.
  • João Vieira Pinto: Undoubtedly one of the top three players of Benfica along the 1990 decade, he was Benfica's last player to be eight consecutive seasons in the club. In the first period in Benfica (1992-1996) he climbed fast to be the central player, and was nicknamed The Golden Boy. By that time he was surely the top name in the Portuguese golden generation, just before other names arise into planetary level. He was the key figure in the 199394 championship, and in the decisive game at home of the national title's main opponent (Sporting-3 Benfica-6), he demolish any fears of Benfica to lose the title. He scored 3 goals that night, assisted in another, and was involved in another goal. The Portuguese' sports newspaper A BOLA give him 10 points in 10 to his overall play, the first time ever this happened, since the newspaper started given the game-by-game regularity award, in the 196768 season. He would be also the key player in the final of the 199596 Portuguese cup, having then completely surpassed a serious injury he suffered in the last season. He already was then the captain of the team. The last four years at the club were not successful at all, not only by the absence of titles, but also because of the ultimate degradation of Benfica's football department; JVP, as he was also known, was only one of the few gifted players in the teams that were changed almost completely every season, alongside Preud´Homme or Poborsky. He controversially left Benfica in 2000, without any glory whatsoever, despite being the horsepower of the team by many years. As a free agent, would later sign to Lisbon rival's Sporting.
  • Michel Preud'homme: was a famous goalkeeper from Belgium known for his great saves and agility. Preud'homme was also at his best while at Benfica. He was the first keeper ever to win the prestigious Yashin Award for his terrific saves in the net, during the 1994 World Cup where he was part of the most valuable players (MVP's). He signed for Benfica after that World Cup, and won the Cup of Portugal in 1996 with the team. He was considered by many people the best goalkeeper at the time, an icon in his native Belgium and Benfica.
  • Panchito Velasquez: the Argentinian player was crucial in several moments between 1998 and 2002 of the Benfica team. He made a great duo with Filipe Gaidão. He is mostly remembered for his skills, placing him in the top of the rink hockey best players of the time. He never won the Portuguese national championship, something that cannot be separated of the beginning of the crisis and the almost ultimate decline in the Benfica's rink hockey department.
  • Simão Sabrosa: Simão was probably the best player of Benfica in the last decade. In 2001, after a comparatively low-key tenure at FC Barcelona, Simão moved to Benfica, on a deal reportedly worth €12 million. He became an instant fan-favorite, quickly acquired the status of captain and was often acclaimed as Benfica's top player during the six years he spent at the club and also one of the Portuguese championship's best. Since he arrived at Benfica, Simão always ended seasons as the best goalscorer of the squad. He scored a total of 72 goals in 172 matches for Benfica, an extraordinary record for a winger. In the 2007-2008 season Simão was sold to Atlético Madrid for a €20 million fee plus the choice of 2 players during the next 4 years.
  • Nélson Évora: Portuguese athlete who specializes in the triple jump and long jump, he is the World Champion (title conquered in Osaka, Japan) and Olympic Champion (title conquered in Beijing, China). He is the first ever athlete of Benfica to win an Olympic Gold Medal and the first Portuguese to win an Olympic Gold Medal in a Jump competition and only the 4th to win it in all events.
  • Vanessa Fernandes: Winner of the 2006 Triathlon World Cup and the virtual winner of the 2007 World Cup ranking. She also won the World Champion Title in Hamburg, Germany, on September 1, 2007 and the Duathlon World Champion Title in Hungary, on May 19, 2007. In the 2008 Olympic games, Vanessa won a fantastic silver medal at only 22 years old.
  • Telma Monteiro: Winner of the silver medal in the under-52 kg category, on the World Championships, held in Rio de Janeiro, on 15th September 2007. This is the best Portuguese result ever, at international level. She is already classified to the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.
  • Carlos Carneiro: One of the best handball players of his generation, in his first season in Benfica (with 26 years old) he leaded Benfica to the 1st championship title in 18 years, the President's Cup and was selected the MVP of the 2007/2008 Handball League. In previous club (Madeira SAD) was also champion in the 2004/2005 season.

Historical results

  • Benfica-7 Madrid Football Club-0 in 1913: Still not known by the royal name, the Spanish side traveled to Portugal, after being invited to play against Lisbon clubs. In January 26th, despite being in its dawn of international games, Benfica would achieve one of the heaviest defeats ever of Real Madrid's international historic record.
  • Benfica-12 FC Porto-2 in 1943: in the 5th round of the 194243 national championship, FC Porto suffered their biggest defeat ever in the championships. Julinho scored four times, Manuel da Costa, Valadas and Teixeira twice and Francisco Ferreira one. Alfredo scored an own goal. At half time, the score was 4-0. Benfica would eventually win the title in the end.
  • Benfica-7 Sporting-2 in 1946: The longest series of consecutive defeats (5) against the historical rival ended in style, in the 18th round of the 194546 championship. Both Arsénio and Mário Rui achieved a hat-trick while Rogério scored one goal. It was the first time in History either team scored more than 5 goals against the other.
  • Benfica-2 Girondins Bordeaux-1 in 1950: Breaking an unprecedent four years hiatus by winning the 194950 national league championships, the club played the recently formed Latin Cup, held in Portugal, in the national stadium. Surpassing S.S. Lazio in semi-finals, Benfica met the French champions, Bordeaux, in the final game. The final 3-3 result after extra time obliged both teams to play another game, one week later. In June 18th, 1950, Benfica won 2-1, with a goal from Julinho, on the 146th minute, after a late tie in the regular time. The game was added 30 minutes scheduled in extra time which didn't produce any goals, followed by a 10-minute extra period until one of the teams scored the winning goal. With 266 minutes in total, this was easily one of the longest finals in Football History. It was the very first international success of Benfica as well as the Portuguese football.
  • FCPorto-2 SL Benfica-8 in 1952: In the inauguration of the old "Estádio das Antas" (Antas Stadium), Benfica humiliated the rival team in its new home. This was not an official game but Benfica, that some weeks before had lost the Portuguese Championship to Sporting, played with its best team and giving no chances to the weak Porto team.
  • Heart Of Midlothian-1 SL Benfica-2 in 1960: The first victory of Benfica in the European Champion Clubs' Cup, and also in UEFA competitions, in the second time that Benfica competed. Considering all Portuguese clubs´ poor behaviour in the first five years, as only once the first round was surpassed, the expectations were not very high at start; however, Guttmann's strong personality made Benfica's directors formally agree to pay money awards if the club won the cup, something no one imagined possible. But in the 29th of September, 1960, in Edinburgh's Tynecastle Park, home of the Scottish champions, goals from José Águas and José Augusto were turning a dream into reality. On the return match (victory by 3-0), the famous third tier of the Stadium of Light was inaugurated, on his first expansion phase, increasing the crowd-capacity to seventy thousand.
  • Benfica-3 Barcelona-2 in 1961: For the first time, Benfica reached an European Cup final in 1960/61. Their opposition was the giant and highly favorited Barcelona. Benfica defeated Barca 3-2, becoming the first club to win the European Cup besides Real Madrid, who had won the previous 5 finals.
  • Benfica-5 Real Madrid-3 in 1962: In 61/62 Benfica reached the European Cup final again, in one of the most anticipated finals of all time: The current champions against the former 5 times winners Real Madrid. With Eusébio on one side and Di Stéfano on the other. The game was a very emotional one, with Benfica coming from 2-0 and 3-2 down to beat Real Madrid 5-3 and becoming European champions for the second time in a row. Eusébio scored 2 goals in this historic victory. As twice European champion, Benfica proved such success wasn't random, but a long-term effort, established since Otto Gloria's arrival at the club in 1954.
  • Benfica-5 Real Madrid-1 in 1965: Game for the 1/4 finals of the 1964/65 Champions Cup's season and Benfica demolished the Spanish giants, with Eusébio scoring 2 goals. It was an attendance record in Portugal, only estimated at seventy thousand, certainly a number incorrectly quantified, because extra seats were mounted, increasing crowd figures near 85-90 thousand. Despite expensive tickets, it has been said that if there were enough seats to 300 thousand people, the Stadium would also be sell-out. Benfica was at top form in Europe, probably the best ever, and the career was promising a happy ending.
  • Internazionale-1 Benfica-0 in 1965: The fourth European Cup final in five years was a succession of misfortune incidents, and the defeat was considered a "glorious one" by some newspapers. The game was held at Milan Stadium, San Siro, home of Inter. Furthermore, it rained severely, and in a muddied field, the higher technical skills of Benfica players were conditioned, helping the Italian catenaccio side. In the 42th minute, Benfica's keeper Costa Pereira easily conceded a goal. In the 57th minute, the Benfica's keeper was out of the game, seriously injured (he returned to Lisbon in a wheel-chair), being replaced by the central defender Germano. Eusébio was also physically down, and received special treatment prior to the game. Despite of the bad luck, Benfica dominated by far the game. Benfica's president conceded later the game's prize to the Portuguese players, as well as a symbolical trophy to the club, considering Benfica the "morally victorious" side of this strange final.
  • Ajax-1 Benfica-3 in 1969: Counting for the first leg of 196869 Champion's Cup´ quarter-finals, Benfica won in a heavily snowed field, beating Johan Cruijff ´s side with a great performance. This win is historically significant, as Benfica was the first club in Europe to be able to defeat the Amsterdam team in his homeland for UEFA competitions, and was the only European club to achieve such success for a long time: Ajax wouldn't lose another European match at home until September 1981, in the first round of 198182 Cup Winners' Cup edition, when Tottenham Hotspur beat them 2-1. Despite the important victory, Benfica didn't secure the two goals advantage, losing by the same score in the return match in Lisbon, and by 0-3 after extra time in Paris, in the decision match, not managing to follow to the semi-final for the sixth time in nine years.
  • Benfica-5 Feyenoord-1 in 1972: In the first hand, Benfica had lost 0-1 to Feyenoord, but in the return leg, Benfica were able to win 5-1, with 3 goals scored in the last 10 minutes.
  • Benfica-6 FCPorto-0 in 1972: Game for the 1/4 finals of the Portuguese Cup. And it was one of the biggest victories of Benfica over rivals FC Porto.
  • Benfica-5 Sporting-0 in 1978: A very famous victory of Benfica over the all-time-rivals Sporting. At half-time Benfica were already winning 5-0.
  • AS Roma-1 Benfica-2 in 1983: A magnificent victory in Italy over a great Roma team that became Italian champions that year, and reached the Champions cup final in the following year.
  • Benfica-5 Sporting-0 in 1986: Game for the 1/4 finals of the Portuguese Cup and Benfica were able to equal the victory of 1978.
  • Benfica-2 Steaua-0 in 1988: 2ª hand of the semi-finals of the Champions Cup of the 87/88 season. With an astonishing attendance of 120.000, Benfica won 2-0 at Gheorghe Hagi's Steaua and reached the final.
  • Benfica-1 Marseille-0 in 1990: 2ª hand of the semi-finals of the Champions Cup of the 89/90 season. In France, Benfica had lost 1-2 and in this game, Benfica scored the winning goal, only five minutes to the end, in a polemic goal. Vata scored with his hand, which wasn't spotted by the official.
  • Arsenal-1 Benfica-3 in 1991: Game for the 2° round of the Champions Cup. After a 1-1 draw at Lisbon, the teams drew again in London after 90 minutes. However, Benfica were able to score 2 goals in extra-time and eliminated the English champions from the most important competition in Europe.
  • Leverkusen-4 Benfica-4 in 1994: One of the most emotional matches of Benfica's History. A total of eight goals in the end of this game, as Benfica got the passport to the semi-finals of the Cup winners Cup.
  • Sporting-3 Benfica-6 in 1994: In the game that decided the 93/94 championship, Benfica made one of the best performances of all times, winning in an astonishing way in the home of their arch-rivals.
  • Benfica-2 Manchester United-1 in 2005: For the first time, Benfica were able to defeat the mighty Man Utd, gaining the right to play the next round of the Champions League, and even more impressive: leaving Man Utd out of European competitions for the season.
  • Liverpool-0 Benfica-2 in 2006: Benfica is one of the few European clubs that can proudly say that were able to defeat Liverpool at Anfield.

Team honours

For more details on this topic, see S.L. Benfica trophies

From 1922-1938 the Portuguese Championship was carried out as a knock-out competition. In 1934, an experimental and unofficial League Championship (Campeonato da I Liga) was introduced. This tournament was the precursor of the Portuguese League which started with the 1938-1939 season. The previous format continued in renamed form as the cup competition.

National

  • Portuguese League (I Divisão, I Liga, Superliga, Liga): 31(record).
    • Winners: 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 1980/81 1982/83 1983/84 1986/87 1988/89 1990/91 1993/94 2004/05
    • Runners-up (27): 1943/44 1945/46 1946/47 1947/48 1948/49 1951/52 1952/53 1955/56 1958/59 1965/66 1969/70 1973/74 1977/78 1978/79 1981/82 1985/86 1987/88 1989/90 1991/92 1992/93 1995/96 1997/98 2002/03 2003/04
  • Portuguese Cup: 24(record).
    • Winners: 1929/30 1930/31 1934/35 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
    • Runners-up (9): 1938/39 1957/58 1964/65 1970/71 1973/74 1974/75 1988/89 1996/97 2004/05
  • SuperCup Cândido de Oliveira : 4
    • Winners: 1980 1985 1989 2005
    • Runner-up (11) 1 1981 1983 1984 1986 1987 1991 1993 1994 1996 2004

1unofficial

European titles

International

Retired numbers

S.L. Benfica has retired the number of Hungarian player Miklós Fehér, who died of cardiac arrhythmia in January 2004 after falling unconscious during a match for the Portuguese Liga.

Non-playing staff

Current squad

Junior team "A"

Notable former players

The legendary Eusébio, whose statue stands near Benfica's stadium is a symbol of the club and of Portuguese football.

List of notable football players of Benfica's history:

1904 - 1950

1951 - 1970

1971 - 1990

1990s

2000s

Former football coaches

Other sports

Athletics

Athletics is a sport with a great tradition in Benfica's history. Nowadays, olympic champion and national recordist Nelson Évora in triple jump and silver olympic medalist Vanessa Fernandes in the triathlon are among Benfica's athletics biggest names. By the number of regional, national and international titles, it is the most successful sport of the club.

Basketball

S.L. Benfica are a top club in Portugal. One of its most memorable moments was when Benfica's basketball team won a European Cup clash against Italian giants Buckler Bologna, beating the Italians 102-90, in 4 December 1993 at Pavilhão da Luz in Lisbon. However, due to Portugal's popularity in football, basketball is not nearly as popular with the population as football. Just as in football, Benfica has a major rivalry with F.C. Porto's basketball team and it usually leads to arguments between the fans and players. S.L. Benfica have won in his basketball history 20 Portuguese championships, 18 Portuguese cups, 5 League Cups and 7 Portuguese Supercups and are currently one of the best teams in the league.

Billiards

Benfica has a long and rich tradition on Billiards. The new board of the section was elected in April 2007.

Cycling

Cycling was the second modality established within the club, and along with football, is one of only two sports referenced in the club logo. The sport was in activity from 1906 to 1941, 1947 to 1978, and once again for two seasons in 1999 and 2000. Benfica last won the Volta a Portugal in 1999, with Spanish cyclist David Plaza capturing the leader's yellow jersey. Historically, the club has had great national successes in cycling, and after some interruptions and delays, approved in 2006 the re-introduction of a cycling department to start in 2007. The team will join the UCI Professional Continental Division. The Head of this department is the former cyclist Orlando Rodrigues.

Futsal

Benfica have a professional futsal team since 2002. The club has won, in 5 years, 4 Portuguese championships, 3 Portuguese cups and 3 Portuguese Supercups. Benfica also reached the final of the UEFA Cup in the 2003/04 season. In 2007 season, Benfica was national champion and also won the Portuguese cup. In the Women's section, Benfica was also national champion.

Women's Futsal National trophies:

  • Taça Nacional winner: 2004/2005, 2005/2006, 2006/2007, 2007/2008
  • Taça Distrital AFL winner: 2004/2005, 2005/2006, 2006/2007
  • Campeão Distrital (District of Lisbon Champion): 2004/2005, 2005/2006, 2006/2007
  • Taça Ibérica winner: 2007

Handball

The Men's national Handball honours of Benfica include 7 championships, 3 cups, 3 supercups and 1 league cup. The club gave up of the sport between 1997 and 2004. Until the 1992/93 season, the club's variant of seven achieved the 100th trophy mark. 30 of them were conquered by seniors teams. In the 2007 season, Benfica ended a period of sixteen seasons without any national title won on men's seniors, after the conquest of the league cup, on 28th January 2007. Benfica won the national championship in the 2008 season, after 18 years without achieving that status.

Gymnastics

The club has a gymnastics department, with the following activities: Aerobics, Acrobatic, Aerominis, Ballet, Ballroom dance, Dance, Gymnastics of maintenance, Hapkido, Haidong Gumdo, Hip Hop, "Os Madrugadores", PlayGym, Rhythmic gymnastics, Silhouettes, Taekwondo, Trampoline, Yoga, Youth Gymnastics.

Every year, the club organises the sarau Gimnáguia, known as one of the biggest and most important gymnastics event in Portugal, with the participation of several clubs. The event celebrates in 2007 the twenty-fifth anniversary.

Judo

European champion in the women's under-52 kg category, Telma Monteiro, has joined Benfica.. The section is fully established on January, 21, 2008, when the club will inaugurate their first ever Tatami mat. Ana Monteiro, Sandra Borges, Teresa Mirrado and André Januário are among other athletes of the section.

Rink hockey

Benfica has practiced this sport without interruption for longer than any other club in the world. The team are currently playing in the Primeira Divisão (First Division). The club has won many domestic competitions (20 Portuguese championships, 12 Portuguese Cups and 6 Portuguese Supercups), and European competitions (1 CERS Cup). The club's rink hockey team is considered one of the best in Portugal and rivalizes at national level with F.C. Porto and Óquei Clube de Barcelos rink hockey teams, in Europe they are also a title disputing team although they have only won the second most important cup once, CERS Cup.

Rugby

Benfica have won many Portuguese championships in rugby, with Académica de Coimbra, C.D.U.P., Direito and Belenenses being other powerful competitors. Benfica have also won the Iberian Cup. Benfica is the oldest Portuguese club with a rugby section. In the 2008 season, the men's senior team ended in the 4th position in the national championship, while the women's section was the national champion for the second consecutive year.

Swimming

S.L. Benfica's swimming department is among the best in Portugal. Benfica's swimmer Alexandre Yokochi is considered the best Portuguese swimmer of all-time, achieving remarkable results at international level. In the eighties, Benfica achieved relevant results, both in national and international levels. In 2007, the club won several medals in different competitions, at youth and seniors levels. Benfica has a men's and women's department.

Triathlon

World champion Vanessa Fernandes in women's triathlon is currently the most notable athlete of this department.

Table tennis

The club has a table tennis department, with a men's and women's section. Benfica dominated this sport at national level for a long period of time, with several titles won.

Volleyball

Benfica has achieved a certain importance in Portuguese volleyball in the last years after investing in hiring a winning team. The club won 3 Portuguese championships (the last one in 2004/05) and 10 Portuguese cups.

References

See also

External links

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