As Nemanja Matic met up with his new team-mates yesterday, Benfica coach Jorge Jesus was left to dwell on yet another star player leaving the club.
Jorge Jesus, a former Portuguese right midfielder who played primarily in the Portuguese top division throughout the Seventies and Eighties, has been in charge of Benfica since 2009.
During that time, the popular manager has seen the club sell off a host of top players as Angel Di Maria and Fabio Coentrao joined Real Madrid, and Chelsea snapped up a further three – David Luiz, Ramires and new signing Nemanja Matic.
The current Benfica boss can surely understand the need for these top players to prove themselves in a more competitive league such as the Premier League, yet speaking to the Portuguese press over the recent sale of the Serb, Jorge Jesus is adamant that Nemanja Matic hasn’t joined a better club than the Lisbon-based giants.
"He (Matic) has not gone to a better club than Benfica. There are very few teams in the world better than Benfica. However, economic power is different".
"Nevertheless, there are only few clubs (with more economic power) but Benfica have difficulty in keeping players Portugal."
The frustrations of the Benfica coach are understandable, as when Benfica are on the verge of having a great team, it is then broken up by Europe’s leading clubs.
The recent top of the table clash between Porto and Benfica demonstated the lack of Portuguese quality still plying their trade in their national league. Porto fielded just two national players, whereas Benfica had a full non-Portuguese starting XI – a frightening and rather sad state of affairs.
Jorge Jesus has used the market well, bringing in players from South America and taking advantage of those with European relatives. However, it is Serbian-born defensive midfielder Nemanja Matic who is the latest to be sold off for a big fee, and the Benfica boss had nothing but praise for Chelsea’s new signing – rating him one of the best defensive midfielders in the world
"We have to give a chance to another player. We have to find solutions whether it is in the transfer market or not. To me Matic is the best defensive midfielder in the world. Currently, he doesn’t have an equal, be it in the market or in the Benfica B team"