Extremo opened the book and relived an experience that cost 4.7 million per minute; The young Norwegian considers that “football is a sick world” and says that “nothing went” as he had planned at Benfica, to the point where he had no answer for the lack of minutes. He has played three since January…
He left Benfica on the last day of the transfer window, remained silent, but his frustration has now come to the surface. Schjelderup did not hold back and, while serving the Norwegian under-21 team, he gave a negative assessment of his time at Benfica, with criticism and several adjectives that rhyme with “frustration” and even “demotivation”, which he said during an interview with TV2 in his country, even evaluating what he experienced as “very strange”.
Reinforcement hired in January by the Reds, the 19-year-old winger arrived and did not play. In fact, from then until August 31st, he had three minutes with an eagle on his chest, against Marítimo and Inter last season and FC Porto, in the Super Cup this season. Schjelderup was an investment of 14 million euros, which dictates an expense of 4.7 million for every minute on the field. This cost decreased by 2.5 million with the return to its origin, Nordsjaelland, which assumed this discount when receiving it on loan.
The story even began with many dreams mixed in and great expectations, especially when he was informed “on New Year’s Eve, that something could happen”, that being a transfer to the Eagles. Schjelderup didn’t even sleep. “I think I only really realized that I had signed for Benfica a few weeks later when I was already there”, recalled the young forward who has now returned to play for Nordsjaelland, the club he left as top scorer (and also in the Danish championship), and scored a hat-trick for the Norwegian under-21s, against San Marino.
The state of grace lasted a short time, as you described. “It took me a month to get in the right shape to play, but I clearly expected to have played more. They told me I would be released and play a few minutes. I hoped that would have happened, but things didn’t go that way. Why ? I really don’t have an answer for that. I feel like I always gave everything in training and that I would have opportunities. But at that time Benfica was one of the best teams in Europe, they won every league game 3 or 4-0 and played the Champions League. It was a little difficult to join the team”, he said.
The ninth to enter opened the door to let the Light
Initially, “not everything went according to plan” and, although he is aware that “anything can happen in football”, this led to a negative conclusion. “The world of football is a sick world”, he said without explaining, but then describing what he experienced in the pre-season. “I was the ninth player to join Feyenoord (friendly game). It was at that moment that the thoughts began: will I have enough opportunities here this season or should I look at other possibilities elsewhere? From then on, it was up to my agent to look for possibilities and talk to Benfica about whether they would allow me to leave”, he pointed out.
Schjelderup confessed that he was “in a positive spirit and immensely motivated”, but more competitors knocked on the squad’s door, such as Di María and Gonçalo Guedes. “I felt like I did everything well in pre-season and showed what I can do. But suddenly the competition increased more. And it all felt immensely tough. At my age, I need to play more than a minute per game. It was very important for me to go out somewhere and play”, he considered, whilst criticizing the delay in resolving the problem: “It was strange because I didn’t know if they would allow me to leave. They only gave me the green light on the last day. It was very strange. “
The number 21 repeated several times that he felt “frustrated and upset” because his plans did not come to fruition. “It was a little tough. I can’t lie. It was a little tough mentally. It affects you. It weighs on your head when a lot of things happen. You try to concentrate and do your best, but there were a lot of things going on behind the scenes and in my head. It’s hard to concentrate when things are uncertain. I demand a lot of myself. I don’t care what people say. I get upset with myself and think about what I could have done differently. But I come to the conclusion that I did everything well, that I did everything I could”, he concluded.
Four goals and relax in the under-21 bubble
Called up to the under-21s, Schjelderup responded with three goals against San Marino and yesterday another against Latvia. “Coming to the national team is the best thing that could have happened to me, I can completely relax in this little bubble with my teammates, talk about everything and nothing and calm down. It’s very good for my mind after the period I’ve been through”, he commented.