“We want players who respect Benfica”

Rui Costa has not bitten his tongue. Just over a day after the winter transfer window closed, on the last day of which Enzo Fernández left the Lisbon team in exchange for 121 million euros, the president of Benfica has appeared in the club’s official media to take stock of the market. A presentation that has been marked, and practically dedicated, to the signing of the Argentine midfielder by Chelsea. “Everything possible was done so that this sale did not take place. I am sad that he has left, but with a clear conscience of having done the best for Benfica. We tried not to sell it in the middle of the year, but it showed that he didn’t want to stay.”began by declaring Rui Costa in BTVofficial television of the club.

Faced with the refusal to accept offers less than its termination clause, the Blues They decided to throw the house up for sale and go all out for the reigning world champion. The moment in which Benfica began to give up the player: “From the beginning we feared the value of the termination clause. We feared that some club, in this case Chelsea, would bring the value of the clause. Every time Chelsea came closer, he showed that he did not want to stay. There was talk of the salary increase, an offer was made, but half of Chelsea’s offer was already unfeasible for us.

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Of course, from the Estádio de Luz, as explained by the president Rui Costa, they did everything possible for Enzo Fernández to continue in Lisbon, at least until the end of the season. Even making him see that if he remained in Portugal after the winter market to end up heading to Stamford Bridge in the summer, he would not lose money or the opportunity to sign for Chelsea: “We tried to explain it to him, he is an extraordinary player. Would he lose value at Benfica at the end of the season? Absolutely. A lot of Chelseas were coming. I don’t have the slightest debt. But I also understand that this player wants to reach an agreement immediately, afraid of losing a proposal that he would consider enormous. We never managed to convince him.”

In his appearance in the club’s official media, Rui Costa explains that the Argentine “He was very incisive when he said that he wanted to leave Benfica. He was adamant. But I respected his decision. We showed him all the possibilities, but he was never open to continue. We came up with a solution so that he could stay until the end without losing a penny. On the 31st, at lunchtime, I put on the table the proposal that Chelsea buy him now and take him away in the summer. Even so, he was negative to stay ”.

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It was then that “things change”, admits Rui Costa. And it is that the president of Benfica says he respects “the fear of losing a big contract, but another thing is that he doesn’t lose a euro and doesn’t want to stay, and this is where I change”. According to the former Portuguese soccer player, Enzo Fernández “did not show any commitment to Benfica.” Given the firm position of the player and the problems that this situation could cause in the dressing room if it did not come to fruition, Rui Costa realized that, then, yes, the time had come to sell: “I thought I couldn’t play for Benfica anymore.” Despite the intransigent position maintained during all the negotiations, the maximum leader of the Portuguese cadre gave his arm to twist.

“As a fan, I no longer wanted this player. As a manager I believed that it was not a solution either, and I could no longer enter the dressing room. It’s not a matter of beating your chest when it matters. That’s when I made the decision to sell. Although in Lisbon they are aware that they have lost “a great player”, the president of Benfica sentences that “I am not going to cry for a player who does not want to represent Benfica. They educated me in this club telling me that you have to honor the shirt “.

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With the passing of the interventions, the forcefulness with which Rui Costa attacked the former player of the Eagles It only increased: “Everyone treated Enzo well from the time he arrived until he left. He hoped that it would give Enzo pleasure to fight for the (Portuguese league) title. When it became very clear that he was not committed, I did not want him to wear the Benfica shirt again. We want a team committed to the fans. Although the players knew what was happening, in Arouca they gave it their all. That’s the commitment I want across the board.” The same day that the winter transfer market closed, the Águilas had a league commitment, which they solved by thrashing Arouca 0-3, now without the Argentine midfielder in the team.

“I respect Enzo, but his choice was not to stay. We only want players who want to respect Benfica, only the players who feel proud to represent the Benfica shirt will be here”Rui Costa declared on the club’s official television. At the end of his appearance, the Lisbon president confirmed that the transfer payment has been divided into installments –six, according to what was published from England, with an advance of 40 million pounds–, as well as acknowledging that they demanded from Chelsea “a sum of 5 million pounds on top of the 120 million.”

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