Written by Will Parchman

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There’s no questioning Benfica’s ascendance to the Portuguese throne of fortified wine and caldo verde. After winning just two league titles between 1994-2010, Benfica’s won each of the last three Portuguese domestic titles, and they’re currently in pole position to win a fourth. After a long spell of dominance, Porto’s reign is clearly skewered.

Benfica’s done it by marrying shrewd signings from South America with a development pipeline that’s become arguably the best in Europe. Since 2010, Benfica have somehow pocketed more than $300 million on the sales of just 13 players. Renato Sanches’ $35 million blockbuster to Bayern Munich in 2016 is the latest biggie, but Nemanja Matic, David Luiz, Angel di Maria and Jan Oblak are also on that list. As far as talent identification goes, I’d venture to say Benfica is about as good as anyone on the planet at the moment.

If you’re looking for the next in the pipeline, you’re about to get another chance to see them. Because this just happened on Friday.

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Written by Will Parchman

parks

There’s an American in Portugal.

As far as soccer goes, the sprawling Dallas suburb of Plano is perhaps most famous for producing FCD stalwart and USMNT prospect Kellyn Acosta. But it’s also home to a young American player named Keaton Parks, who committed to SMU in 2015. While moonlighting for Plano-based NPSL side Liverpool Warriors, he was scouted by second division Portuguese club Varzim at a tournament in Portugal.

Soon thereafter, Parks moved to Portugal with the help of his club coach and immediately became perhaps the most under-the-radar American in Europe. While Christian Pulisic started Champions League matches against Real Madrid and Brooks Lennon earned YouTube documentaries at Liverpool, Parks toiled in half-empty stadiums in the Portuguese second division.

And then, on Sept. 4, Parks, 19, made his debut for Varzim.

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Written by Will Parchman

The Portuguese league hasn’t historically gotten the credit it deserves, but that’s slowly changing. The most recent FIFA coefficient ranking had Portugal at 5, an all-time high. That’s just outside the Power 4 leagues in Spain, Germany, England and Italy, and they’re closing in on the latter. They’ve already surpassed France. Is a smash-and-dash into the top four next? Don’t be shocked.

In any case, Benfica is helping to push that reputation, and this ridiculous training exercise helps to show why. A cage. Some LED light patterns. A soccer ball. Magic. This is Benfica’s new 360 simulator in Seixal, and it’s awesome. Can I get one of these in my back yard?

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Written by Will Parchman

This comes to us via outer-space sonar frequency, aka Benfica’s Nicolas Gaitan. You’ve seen panenkas before, but you’ve always seen them on penalties. Pirlo and Zizou say ‘ello.

And yet this is a new level of cheeky. Amidst Benfica’s 3-0 drubbing of Greece’s PAOK in the Europa League, Gaitan did something we all must understand as advancing the human race ever forward. You know, cheers for that.

 

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Written by Dill Pickle

Not sure if you felt it, but an hour ago our entire existence stood still for about 45 seconds. It was like 2002 again, we were all in the Internet Explorer Matrix and it totally glitched.

It was at that exact moment that Lionel Messi went down with a knee injury, as seen above. Let’s try not to freak out; though he was taken off on a stretcher against Benfica the early reports are that it isn’t serious. DID YOU HEAR THAT planet Earth? IT ISN’T SERIOUS! I don’t want to give soccer crazies any reason to go all When Soccer Fans Attack on us.

That means no Molotov cocktails, please. No burning down stadiums. NOBODY PANIC!!!

 

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Written by Administrator

UEFA Champions League
The UEFA Champions League round of 16 is set, and in just about 86,400 minutes the matches will kick off. Here is a look at the match-ups, with our predicted winners in bold:

2/14/2012

  • APOEL at Lyon
  • Barcelona at Bayern Leverkusen

2/15/2012

  • Benfica at Zenit
  • Arsenal at AC Milan

2/21/2012

  • Read Madrid at CSKA Moskva
  • Chelsea at Napoli

2/22/2012

  • Inter Milan at Marseille
  • Bayern Munich at Basel

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Written by Administrator

The yo-yo that has been Freddie Adu’s career, looks like it will continue to go up and down.

Chivas USA is lining up a move to sign Adu as a Designated Player, high-ranking MLS sources told SBI late Tuesday night.

Adu is currently in the final year of his contract with Benfica, but could be allowed to move to MLS on a free transfer as the Portuguese club is looking to unload his contract.

A move to Chivas USA would re-unite Adu with Chivas USA head coach Robin Fraser, who was an assistant coach with Real Salt Lake during Adu’s final season in MLS before heading to Europe in 2007.

Sure, a return the MLS would mean more playing time for Adu, but if comes back to the MLS he isn’t going to progress and get better. Personally, I think he should stay in Europe, and continue to work hard.

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Written by Administrator


Arsene Wenger answers questions from the upcoming match against Benfica, but what everyone wants to know is: What will happen to Cesc Fabregas?

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Written by Administrator

via Washington Post.

Almost forgotten for two years, Freddy Adu reintroduced himself to American soccer with a pair of impressive efforts in the late stages of the CONCACAF Gold Cup. As the 2014 World Cup cycle begins, the 22-year-old midfielder-forward is back in the roster mix and seems certain to receive additional call-ups leading to the start of qualifying next summer. But what about his immediate future? He has a year remaining on his contract with Portuguese club Benfica, which, in recent years, loaned him to clubs in France, Portugal, Greece and Turkey.

“Freddy’s plans have always been to return to Benfica for preseason training [in mid-July], although there are teams that have expressed interest in him,” Richard Motzkin, his Los Angeles-based agent, told the Insider. “We’ll see how the next few weeks play out.”

Motzkin declined to identify the interested parties and wouldn’t speculate about Adu’s chances of sticking with Benfica this season, although another loan seems likely. It’s clear, however, he won’t return to Rizespor, the Turkish second-division club that missed out on promotion. (Had the team moved into the top flight, he might’ve stayed.)

Adu’s willingness to play for a largely anonymous club proved that he’s been humbled by his difficult experiences and is committed to rebuilding his career away from the limelight. And Adu’s Gold Cup performances, as a second-half catalyst against Panama in the semifinals and an influential starter against Mexico in the final, probably boosted his stock in Europe.

“It speaks volumes about his growth as a player and as a person,” Motzkin said of the Gold Cup effort. “But it has to be kept in perspective; it’s one small step. I give [U.S. Coach] Bob Bradley a lot of credit for taking that risk and giving him the chance.”

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Written by Administrator

After Porto won their 25th Poruguese Liga title earlier this week with a 2-1 away win at the defending champions and hated rivals Benfica, the lights went out on the celebration; literally.

You might think it’s a coincidence and it was a power outage or just a simple mistake. I highly doubt it because Benfica also turned on the sprinkler system to dampen Porto’s celebration.

Benfica isn’t the only club to use sprinklers on an away team celebrating, Barcelona turned on the showers when Inter Milan celebrated after knocking them out of the Champions League last season.

I wish something like this would happen in the U.S., could you imagine the Texas Rangers turning out the lights against San Francisco in last years World Series after the Giants won at Texas?

As you can see in the video on the next page, nothing could have stopped Porto from celebrating their historic win. Skip to around :20.

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