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Benfica, Portugal’s most successful club with 36 league titles to their name, will be a welcome part of the 2019 International Champions Cup.
Last summer, a Águias entertained fans in Pittsburgh, PA, with a penalty shootout victory over eventual runners-up Borussia Dortmund.
Benfica came close to a shootout victory over Juventus, too, and were only narrowly beaten by Olympique Lyonnais.
They will be hopeful of taking part in an equally memorable tournament later this year.
Benfica were unable to continue their superb run of domestic success last season, pipped to the Primeira Liga title by rivals FC Porto.
They had, before last season, won the division four times in a row. Porto’s resurgence under Sérgio Conceição has made things more competitive, but Benfica remain a force, playing some of the most exhilarating attacking soccer in Europe this campaign.
New coach Bruno Lage, appointed at the start of year, made an excellent start, guiding his side to two consecutive Lisbon derby victories and overseeing an emphatic 10-0 league win over Nacional.
Only Porto – with 28 league titles – come close to Benfica’s haul of 36 Primeira Liga trophies. A Águias, with victory over FC Barcelona in 1960/61, also became the first Portuguese team to win the European Cup. They won it again the following season, beating a star-studded Real Madrid side in the final.
Some of the great Portuguese players – Eusébio, Nené and Nuno Gomes among them – have worn the red and white of Benfica.
In recent years the club has established itself as a breeding ground for exceptional talent, with Fábio Coentrão, Ángel Di María, David Luiz and Ramires all impressing at Benfica before moving on to win Europe’s premier club competition, the UEFA Champions League.
Stadium – Estádio da Luz
Benfica play their home games at the attractive Estádio da Luz, an impressive 64,642-seater stadium which opened in 2003.
It is the largest stadium of any club in Portugal and has, since its construction, hosted the final of the 2004 UEFA European Championship and the 2014 UEFA Champions League final.
Coach – Bruno Lage
An experienced coach who had previously been in charge of Benfica’s B team team, Lage has made impressive start having been handed the top job in early January.
He has overseen some impressive victories – notably wins over Sporting and Galatasaray – and continued with the tradition of attacking football: Benfica scored 35 goals in his first ten games in charge.
The players have responded well to his ideas and, under Lage, Benfica continue to be one of the most entertaining teams in Europe.
Haris Seferović – The Swiss international is Benfica’s top scorer this season and has established himself as a key player since joining the club from Eintracht Frankfurt in 2017.
A physical presence in attack, equally capable with the ball at his feet or in the air, Seferović has proven himself a handful for even the most capable defences in Portugal.
Pizzi – Midfielder Pizzi has been superb for Benfica this season, his fifth campaign with the club – save for a loan spell at Espanyol during the 2013/14 campaign.
The 13-cap Portugal international is one of the division’s most creative players, a playmaker with the vision to pick out a team-mate or go for goal himself. Pizzi lists Atlético de Madrid, Braga and Bragança among his former clubs. But it's Benfica the 29-year-old calls home.
Jonas – The veteran forward, now 34 years old, remains a goal-scoring machine. Since returning to Portugal with Benfica in 2014 he has netted over 100 times, 37 of which came last season.
Clinical and dependable in front of goal, Jonas previously turned out for LaLiga side Valencia having left his native Brazil in 2011 after four years with Grêmio in which he marked himself out as a prolific scorer.
Ones to watch
Andrija Živković – The Serbian winger, at just 22, remains a player of great potential.
He has been used primarily as a substitute this season, but he is a youngster of undoubted talent. Big things are expected of the former Partizan man.
João Félix – The 2018/19 campaign has been Félix's breakout season for a Águias and, at just 19, he is viewed as one of the most highly rated young forwards in Europe.
A diminutive attacking midfielder, Félix began his career as a wide player but has since been utilised more often as a No.10. He is an accomplished passer of the ball and a clinical finisher.