Praise for Draxler & Silva

    Eleven games, eleven wins and – although they weren’t all league games – 33 points in a figurative sense. Coach Roger Schmidt has come up with this result since his move to Benfica last summer. Since the start of the season in July, no European first division club has won as many competitive games – not even those who have already played more games than the “Adler”. Most recently, the Portuguese record champions won 1-0 at FC Famalicão on Saturday afternoon with a goal by Rafa Silva (63′). Benfica comfortably leads the table with 18 points, three points ahead of defending champions FC Porto.

    “We are very happy. It wasn’t an easy task and games like this between two Champions League games are always difficult. It also makes a big difference to play in the afternoon, without light and at 30 degrees,” said Schmidt on “Sport TV” (quoted via “A bola“) about the compulsory victory. “We didn’t give the opponent many chances and I think it was a deserved win because of the team’s performance. We showed a good attitude, we fought until the end.”

    The fact that his Benfica is ready to start such a series so early in the season is “a good sign,” said Schmidt: “We’re self-confident. But we won’t win in Turin because we’ve won the last eleven games. We have three days to prepare for it and it will be very difficult.” On Wednesday (9:00 p.m.) Benfica will play what are nominally the strongest opponents of the season so far, the Italian record champions Juventus.

    Julian Draxler makes Benfica debut: Roger Schmidt satisfied

    Ex-Bundesliga professional and international Julian Draxler, who started with number 93 on the left wing, also made his debut for Benfica against Famalicão. At half-time, Schmidt took out the 28-year-old and brought in Diogo Gonçalves (25). Schmidt was satisfied with Draxler, who had been absent from regular club PSG for a long time due to a knee injury: “He last played in March, took a long break and didn’t prepare for the season. He has already trained with us and this was just the first step for him. He still has a lot to do in the next few weeks to get in top form, but I’m glad he played 45 minutes.”

    Ex-Wolfsburg player John Anthony Brooks (29), who was also committed on Deadline Day, was on the bench for the second time after the Champions League victory over Maccabi Haifa (2-0). In Benfica’s central defence, another is currently causing a stir: homegrown António Silva, who was in the starting XI for the third time in a row. The 18-year-old extended his contract with the “Adlers” until 2027 just a few days ago – with an exit clause of 100 million euros.

    Enormous maturity: defensive talent António Silva inspires Benfica fans and Roger Schmidt

    Schmidt said about Silva: “We are talking about a young footballer who is only 18 years old, but when you see him on the pitch he seems much more mature. I had the opportunity to see him in preparation and I could see that he has a lot of talent. He’s a great professional who can keep up well under pressure. After the injuries to Lucas Veríssimo and João Victor, he has become a very reliable alternative. We are very happy with him. He is always very calm, very humble and reads the game well.”

    The defensive talent was also praised by the TM community. Portugal forum godfather “Aguia12” wrote: “Since the pre-season I’ve been really surprised by him! So far not a single bad game from him, quite the opposite. Not a matter of course for such a young central defender. The only ‘negative’ action so far was the early yellow card against Boavista. But that’s where he really showed maturity and finished the game well with a few saves. Hope he develops the same way, then he should be a regular! Otamendi will most likely move home after the season.” Nothing seems to stand in the way of Silva continuing to develop well, also in terms of market value.

    In terms of the further course of the season, “Aguia12” noted that the strain on the players in the starting eleven could become a problem after many English weeks: “Our center in particular urgently needs a break. Would go on the bench against Marítimo Enzo Fernández and Rafa Silva and only come on when really needed. Enzo in particular has more than 30 games under his belt (incl. River Plate; editor’s note). This can’t go well for long. Above all, in Fredrik Aursnes we have someone very competent for central midfield. Of course I don’t want to complain after eleven wins in eleven games. The boys just seem really tired.”

    With Núñez and Witsel: Benfica’s most expensive departures

    From David Luiz to Axel Witsel to Darwin Núñez…

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    …this gallery shows the 20 most expensive sales in the history of Benfica Lisbon.

    As of September 11, 2022

    20 Luka Jovic | Eintracht Frankfurt | Transfer fee: €22.34 million

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    19 Raúl de Tomas | Espanol Barcelona | Transfer fee: €22.5 million

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    17 Enzo Perez | Valencia FC | Transfer fee: €25 million

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    17 Nicolás Gaitán | Atlético Madrid | Transfer fee: €25 million

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    16 Nemanja Matic | Chelsea FC | Transfer fee: €25 million

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    15 David Luis | Chelsea FC | Transfer fee: €25 million

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    14 Lazar Markovic | Liverpool FC | Transfer fee: €25 million

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    13 Rodrigo | Valencia FC | Transfer fee: €30 million

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    12 Fabio Coentrão | Madrid | Transfer fee: €30 million

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    11 Gonçalo Guedes | PSG | Transfer fee: €30 million

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    10 Angel Di Maria | Madrid | Transfer fee: €33 million

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    2010/2011

    8 Renato Sanches | Bayern Munich | Transfer fee: €35 million

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    2017/2018

    8 Victor Lindelöf | Manchester United | Transfer fee: €35 million

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    2017/2018

    7 Nelson Semedo | FC Barcelona | Transfer fee: €35.7 million

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    2017/2018

    6 Raúl Jiménez | Wolves | Transfer fee: €38 million

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    2019/2020

    4 Axel Witsel | FC Zenit | Transfer fee: €40 million

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    2012/2013

    4 Ederson | Manchester City | Transfer fee: €40 million

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    2017/2018

    3 Ruben Dias | Manchester City | Transfer fee: €71.6 million

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    2020/2021

    2 Darwin Nunez | Liverpool FC | Transfer fee: €75 million

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    2022/2023

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