Benfica make history with 100th European win

Their make-or-break Champions League tie against Monaco in front of their fans created pressure and high expectations on Benfica’s shoulders, but it also placed Portugal’s most successful club on the cusp of a prestigious record.

The two time winners stood on 99 victories in all European competitions which is an achievement in itself, but reaching the century would mark another historic landmark for a club that is renowned across the world.

 

Talisca’s 82nd minute goal made sure Benfica secured an important victory that not only gives them a better chance of qualifying from Group C, but also ensured the century landmark was achieved.

The club may continue to be overshadowed by the curse of Bela Guttmann, but there can be no doubt that Benfica are one of the most prestigious clubs in European history, with 100 victories testament to the unparalleled success they enjoyed with the likes of Eusebio in their prime during the 1960s and 1970s.

Prestigious history

Founded in 1904, Benfica have long remained one of the big clubs in Portuguese football alongside Porto and Sporting Libson, and hold the proud record of never been relegated from the Primera Liga since its establishment in 1933.

They remain the country’s most supported team and continue to be high on the list of richest clubs in world football in terms of revenue. It is this stature that helped Benfica develop into the most successful club in Portuguese football history, with no fewer than 73 trophies won during their illustrious 110 year history.

Although success in domestic competitions may not compare to the rich level of success the club enjoyed from their very first trophy in the Campeonato de Portugal in 1930 all the way up to 1990, Benfica hold the record for most league (33 titles) and Taca de Portugal (25 cups) won.

They are the only team in Portugal to win every domestic competition, although the UEFA Cup (now commonly known as the Europa League) continues to allude them; defeats in the 2013 and 2014 Final against Chelsea and Sevilla respectively ensured the 52-year wait for a European trophy continues.

It created more belief that Bela Guttmann’s apparent suggestion that Benfica would not win another European competition in 100 years, after he led the club to Champions League glory in 1962, is a curse that will never be broken.

Current day

Although Benfica’s days as the number one team in European football may be behind them, the current crop of players have shown enough quality to show they understand what it means to represent such a prestigious club and create more success on the pitch.

Benfica remain financially strong off the pitch, with President Luis Filipe Vieira stabilising the club following his arrival in 2003 and being the main figure behind Benfica’s revival in the 21st century.

In Jorge Jesus, they have one of the most charismatic, yet talented managers in world football, with the 60-year-old enjoying considerable success in every domestic competition and leading Benfica to consecutive Europa League finals.

His arrival in 2009 resulted in Benfica’s first Primera Liga title in five years, with last season’s title success illustrating a potential change of the guard in Portuguese football.

Benfica have made a superb start to the 2014/2015 season, shooting straight to the Primera Liga summit after just nine games.

Closest rivals Porto are inevitably just a point behind in second, but Benfica have enough quality at their disposal to extend their wonderful record to 34 league titles and Sundays match against National should not change that status either, the bookies see Benfica as clear favourites.

Jorge Jesus may have lost world class talent in previous years, such as Angel Di Maria and David Luiz who now play a starring role in the biggest domestic leagues in Europe, but Nicolas Gaitan and Eduardo Salvio remain jewels in the crown for Benfica.

The club have also invested heavily in a number of youth prospects from across South America, with 20-year-old Talisca already linked with a big-money move elsewhere following a superb start to life in Portugal.

Eight goals in nine league games, combined with the all important winner against Monaco, illustrates his considerable talent for scoring goals at such a young age and is a player that could lead Benfica to glory for many years to come.

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