October 1, 2023
″If a president doesn’t have feelings for the club, I don’t know what he’s doing there″

″If a president doesn’t have feelings for the club, I don’t know what he’s doing there″

Statements by Rui Costa, president of Benfica, in his participation, recorded on video, at the Thinking Football Summit

The president of Benfica, Rui Costa, acknowledged this Thursday that a Champions League title “is increasingly difficult” in the face of the power of financial colossus, such as City, but considers that “nothing can be a utopia”.

After a European campaign that ended in the quarter-finals of the main European club competition against Inter, in 2022/2023, the red squad will again face the Italian emblem in group E of the competition, along with Salzburg and Real Sociedad, in an edition that will Rui Costa dream again.

“In this club, nothing can be considered a utopia. We know the difficulties, we have to be realistic, people have to interpret this correctly, in the current model, it is increasingly difficult for Benfica to reach or win a Champions League final Just look at the big financial giants across Europe struggling to win the trophy. Manchester City won their first ever trophy last year, so you can see the difficulty in reaching the final. Feeding the dream in a club of this size and magnitude would be stupid. Difficult, but not impossible”, he reiterated, during his participation, recorded on video, at the Thinking Football Summit.

Although a third European title, after 1961 and 1962, may not be on the immediate horizon of Benfica’s president, the revalidation of the title of national champion is a concrete objective, although Rui Costa considers it “extraordinarily difficult”.

“The day I’m sitting in this chair and I don’t say that Benfica is a candidate for the title, take me out of it, because something is not right. Obviously we are looking for the second consecutive championship, in a year that will be extraordinarily difficult, but we have our ambitions. Apart from when we won the four championships in a row (from 2013 to 2017), it’s been a long time since we’ve done the “bi””, he recalled.

In the aftermath of almost three years since he was elected the club’s 34th president, Rui Costa still showed his willingness to be an agent of change, not wanting to enter, however, “into clashes” with the red structure.

“The governance model will be adjusted to the current reality, in the same way that it has to be adapted to my model of work and operation, so it will undergo changes, but it is part of the changes and the only thing I want is for them to be guided by responsibility and dynamism within the club, without major shocks”, he explained.

The leader also showed reservations regarding the centralization of audiovisual rights, which, according to the Portuguese Professional Football League, should be completed by 2028/2029 at most, in order to reduce asymmetries between the ‘big’ and other clubs, thus offering a greater competitiveness to the I Liga.

“We can only have a completely valid opinion when we are sure what might be out there. The only things we know is that, first, it is a government law and, second, the League has given the guarantee that all clubs would benefit from it. Given that Benfica always favors growth within Portuguese football, it has to be within this process, but always with these premises”, he reiterated.

For all his past as a player at Benfica and a fan of the club, Rui Costa still faced the label of ‘fan president’, which he is often attributed, with naturalness

“I don’t know what it’s like to be a ‘fan president’. If a president doesn’t have feelings for the club, I don’t know what he’s doing there. If that’s the expression, then I’ll always be proud, but always a responsible president”.

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