Sevilla will be Benfica’s opponents in today’s (Wednesday) Europa League final, yet many of the Portuguese Team’s fans believe that other forces will be at work as they attempt to win their first continental cup in 52 years.
After winning the old European Cup in 1961 and 1962, Benfica have played in seven European Cup finals and lost all, with many blaming the failure on the so –called curse of Bela Guttman.
Gutmann, a Hungarian, led Benfica to their two European titles but left the club in acrimonious circumstances after a pay dispute, swore that “Benfica will not win another European final without me”.
Since then, Benfica has played in seven finals and lost all.
The Portuguese side lost to AC Milan (1965), Inter Milan (1965), and Manchester United (1968) before Gutman died in 1981.
After his death, the club continued in the losing spree and lost to Anderlecht (1983), PSV Eindhoven (1988), AC Milan (1990) and Chelsea (2013).
However to break the curse, late club legend, Eusebio, famously prayed at Guttman’s grave in Vienna asking for the curse to be broken and the club unveiled a statue of Guttmann in front of the Stadium of Light.
Benfica have bounced back this season from a disastrous end to last season when they the Europa League, Portuguese Cup fianls and were pipped to the Portuguese league by FC Porto.
“The decision to retire is one that I have thought a great deal about and one that I have not taken lightly. It is the right time.
“It was important to me to leave an organisation in the strongest possible shape and I believe I have done so. The quality of this league winning squad, and the balance of ages within it, bodes well for continued success at the highest level whilst the structure of the youth set-up will ensure that the long-term future of the club remains a bright one.”
With these words, Manchester United Coach, Alex Ferguson announced his retirement from the English Premier League side he has managed for over 26 years.
Ferguson took over from Ron Atkinson on November 6, 1986 and won two Champions League crowns, the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup, 13 league titles, five FA Cups and four League Cups to make him the most successful manager in British football history.
In the video below, sport analysts on Channels Television’s Sport Palava debate if the retirement of Ferguson is good for Manchester United.
Super Eagles skipper, Joseph Yobo recently blasted Stephen Keshi and the officials of the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF), over his exclusion from the squad that played Kenya in a World Cup qualifier two weeks ago. Yobo, who has made 96 appearances for the Nigerian national team, said he feels disrespected, as no one spoke to him about his exclusion from the team, before the list was made public.
“I’m disappointed nobody called me before the team list was announced,” Yobo told Brila FM on Tuesday.
“It’s disrespectful. I feel disrespected. I am the captain of the Super Eagles and I thought the coach should have put a call across to me.
“I have no problem being left out.”
Pundits, who were on Channels Television’s programme, Sport Palaver, debate if Keshi disrespected Yobo by excluding him from the squad that played Kenya in a World Cup qualifier.