Enzo Fernandez’s behaviour to seal record-breaking Chelsea move berated by Benfica president Rui Costa

Enzo Fernandez's behaviour to seal record-breaking Chelsea move berated by Benfica president Rui Costa

Image of Enzo Fernandez. Credit: Twitter@ChelseaFC

Benfica president Rui Costa berated the manner in which Enzo Fernandez’s move to Chelsea was conducted.

The manner in which Enzo Fernandez’s move to the English Premier League club Chelsea was conducted provoked a strong reaction from Benfica’s president Rui Costa on Thursday, February 2.

The Argentinian defender sealed a record-breaking £107 million transfer to Stamford Bridge just minutes before the window slammed shut on Tuesday, January 31. However, speaking with the bwin_portugal football site on Twitter, Costa explained that he believed the 22-year-old would stay in Lisbon until the end of the season.

It was rumoured though that the player snubbed requests for him to return to training with the Eagles after winning the World Cup, instead deciding to fly to Argentina. Suggestions in the media said that move was probably designed to push through a deal to England.

“Everything was done to make sure it didn’t happen. I am sad to have lost the player, but I have a clear conscience that I did the best for Benfica”, explained Costa. “Enzo didn’t show any desire to stay at Benfica”, he continued.

Chelsea had been chasing Brighton’s Moises Caicedo but once that hit a brick wall, Todd Boehly’s team quickly turned their attention to the Argentine and didn’t waste time making their huge offer. Roger Schmidt, the Benfica manager previously claimed that their player would be going nowhere in January.

It became obvious to Benfica that once Chelsea came back with a fee matching Enzo’s full release clause that the player would insist on a move to London. “We feared that someone would break the clause. We tried to attract the player to get a salary increase, but the proposal that Enzo had from Chelsea was unfeasible for us”, Costa lamented.

Costa was clearly irked at the way the whole deal went down. “From the moment Enzo realized he had the value of the clause, he was intransigent. We insisted, but the player did not even show openness to continue at Benfica”, he pointed out.

He explained that he urged Fernandez to stay at least until the Summer, but the mood changed he said. “I proposed to Chelsea that he stay until the summer for a lower sale price. The player, even so, did not want to continue at Benfica. And this is where everything changed”.

The president then took the stance of not wanting any player at Benfica who did not want to be at his club. “A player who, even with the possibility of not losing a euro and with a secure Chelsea contract, does not want to continue, could never stay at Benfica. This player could no longer enter the locker room”, he insisted.

His mood darkened once it became clear that Enzo wanted to leave right away. “I had the hope that Enzo would want to fight for the championship title with us. When I realized that he didn’t want to, I also didn’t want him to wear the Benfica shirt again”.

Benfica is a genuine giant of European football with a long legacy of success, and Costa is obviously very proud of the club’s history. “At Benfica, and this also applies to the youth team, there are only players who are proud to wear the Benfica jersey”, he stressed.

“The commitment is not to hit the chest when it’s convenient. Commitment is what we did in Arouca”, Costa added.

It now remains to see how Fernandez fares with his new club, where he will wear the N05 jersey vacated by Jorginho, who signed for Arsenal. He was voted the best young player of the Qatar World Cup and joins a team currently languishing in tenth position in the table.

Speaking on the Chelsea FC website, Enzo said: “Chelsea is a big club, it’s a club that is always fighting for trophies and has won the Champions League in recent years. Together, we will look to achieve everything the club wants and take it to the next level”.

“Myself and my family are really happy to be here in London and to be able to enjoy the city. I think it’s a really beautiful city, so we will enjoy it and have a good time”, he continued.

He added: “I haven’t yet played against any of my new team-mates and I haven’t yet had the chance to chat with any of them but I do know who they are and I’m looking forward to working with them all!”.


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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at editorial@euroweeklynews.com