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Teams --> Benfica Lisbon

Last highlights with Benfica Lisbon

21 March 2011, Monday

FootballPortuguese Liga Sagres

Pacos de Ferreira vs. Benfica Lisbon

17 March 2011, Thursday

Football Europa League

Paris Saint Germain vs. Benfica Lisbon

13 March 2011, Sunday

FootballPortuguese Liga Sagres

Benfica Lisbon vs. Portimonense

10 March 2011, Thursday

Football Europa League

Benfica Lisbon vs. Paris Saint Germain

6 March 2011, Sunday

FootballPortuguese Liga Sagres

Sporting Braga vs. Benfica Lisbon

2 March 2011, Wednesday

FootballPortuguese League Cup

Benfica Lisbon vs. Sporting Lisbon

27 February 2011, Sunday

FootballPortuguese Liga Sagres

Benfica Lisbon vs. Maritimo Funchal

24 February 2011, Thursday

Football Europa League

VFB Stuttgart vs. Benfica Lisbon

VFB Stuttgart vs. Benfica Lisbon

21 February 2011, Monday

FootballPortuguese Liga Sagres

Sporting Lisbon vs. Benfica Lisbon

6 February 2011, Sunday

FootballPortuguese Liga Sagres

Sporting Lisbon vs. Benfica Lisbon

2 February 2011, Wednesday

FootballPortuguese League Cup

FC Porto vs. Benfica Lisbon

FC Porto vs. Benfica Lisbon

30 January 2011, Sunday

FootballPortuguese League Cup

Aves vs. Benfica Lisbon

26 January 2011, Wednesday

FootballPortuguese League Cup

Rio Ave FC vs. Benfica Lisbon

19 January 2011, Wednesday

FootballPortuguese League Cup

Benfica Lisbon vs. Olhanense

16 January 2011, Sunday

FootballPortuguese Liga Sagres

Academica de Coimbra vs. Benfica Lisbon

12 January 2011, Wednesday

FootballPortuguese League Cup

Benfica Lisbon vs. Olhanense

Benfica Lisbon vs. Olhanense

9 January 2011, Sunday

FootballPortuguese Liga Sagres

Uniao Leiria vs. Benfica Lisbon

2 January 2011, Sunday

FootballPortuguese League Cup

Benfica Lisbon vs. Maritimo Funchal

7 December 2010, Tuesday

Football Champions League

Benfica Lisbon vs. FC Schalke 04

3 December 2010, Friday

FootballPortuguese Liga Sagres

Benfica Lisbon vs. Olhanense

28 November 2010, Sunday

FootballPortuguese Liga Sagres

Beira Mar vs. Benfica Lisbon

24 November 2010, Wednesday

Football Champions League

Hapoel Tel Aviv vs. Benfica Lisbon

14 November 2010, Sunday

FootballPortuguese Liga Sagres

Benfica Lisbon vs. Naval

7 November 2010, Sunday

FootballPortuguese Liga Sagres

FC Porto vs. Benfica Lisbon

Sport Lisboa e Benfica (Portuguese pronunciation: [spɔɾ liʒˈboɐ i bɐ̃ȷ̃ˈfikɐ]; Euronext: SLBEN), commonly known as simply Benfica or SLB and, occasionally, as Benfica Lisbon, is a multi-sports club based in Lisbon, Portugal. Although they successfully compete in a number of different sports, Benfica is mostly known for its association football team. Historically, Benfica has been the most successful football club in domestic competitions and is one of the Três Grandes, or Big Three, football clubs in Portugal, the other two being Futebol Clube do Porto and Sporting Clube de Portugal, Benfica's biggest rivals.

Benfica was one of the founding members of the Primeira Liga in 1933, and, together with Porto and Sporting, they have never been relegated from the First Division (Portuguese: Primeira Divisão) of Portuguese football.

On 28 February 1904, Sport Lisboa e Benfica (originally known as Grupo Sport Lisboa, English: Lisbon Sport Group) was founded during a meeting in the southwest part of Lisbon involving 24 young men, led by Cosme Damião. As a result of this meeting, the most popular and successful football club in Portugal was created, as well as one of the most internationally recognized football clubs in the world.

Domestically, Benfica has won a total of 32 Portuguese Liga titles, 24 Portuguese Cup (Taça de Portugal, Portugal Millennium Cup) titles, two Portuguese League Cup (Taça da Liga, bwin Cup) titles, and four Portuguese SuperCups (Supertaça Cândido de Oliveira) titles. Internationally, Benfica has won two European Cup (currently UEFA Champions League) titles, one Latin Cup title, and one Iberian Cup title. In addition, the football club has seven European Cup (currently UEFA Champions League) finals appearances and one UEFA Cup (currently UEFA Europa League) final appearance.

As a multiple sport club, Benfica has departments for basketball, roller hockey, indoor football (known as futsal), volleyball, handball, beach soccer, water polo, rugby, and cycling, among others. Due to the success and popularity of the football club, Benfica has built the biggest fan base among os três grandes (Benfica, Porto, and Sporting) in Portugal. Benfica also has one of the biggest fan bases in the world, with many supporters outside of Portugal in countries like Andorra, Angola, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Cape Verde, France, Germany, Guinea-Bissau, United Kingdom, Japan, Luxembourg, Macau, Mexico, Switzerland, and United States. Currently, Benfica has the largest number of supporters worldwide for a Portuguese club, with a total number of around 14 million.

Benfica have around 18,500 trophies, one of the most titled sports club in the world. On 9 November 2006, Benfica was acknowledged by Guinness World Records as having the largest number of paying club members (known as Portuguese: sócios) in the world, with 218,216 paid members.

On 30 September 2009, Benfica announced that it had reached the 200,000 mark for paid club members. In May 2004, Benfica launched an aggressive marketing campaign known as kit sócio (membership kit) to increase its paid club membership from 94,714 to 200,000. As a result, five years later, Benfica was able to add more than 105,000 new paid club members to their existing membership of 94,714, which more than doubled their total paid club membership. Benfica currently remains the leader of international football clubs with the largest number of paying club members worldwide. As of 23 June 2010, Benfica has a reported 218,216 paid club members.

History

On 28 February 1912 , a meeting of young people from the Belém neighborhood of Lisbon and former students from the Real Casa Pia de Lisboa took place at the Farmácia Franco (Franco Pharmacy), located on Rua de Belém in the southwest part of Lisbon, with the goal of forming a new football club that would be called Grupo Sport Lisboa. There were a total of 24 people who attended the meeting, including the co-founder and future soul of the football club, Cosme Damião. During the meeting, José Rosa Rodrigues was appointed as the club's first president, along with Daniel Brito as secretary and Manuel Gourlade as treasurer.

The first game was played in January 1905. Despite important football victories in the first few years, the club suffered due to poor operating conditions. As a result, in 1907, several players from the first team joined the then more prosperous Sporting Clube de Portugal, located across the city.

In 1908, Grupo Sport Lisboa acquired, by mutual agreement, the Sport Clube de Benfica, a club founded in 1906 as Grupo Sport Benfica and later changed its name to Sport Clube de Benfica. Despite the merger of the two football clubs, Grupo Sport Lisboa and Sport Clube de Benfica continued their respective club operations. For Grupo Sport Lisboa, they maintained the football team, the red and white shirt colors, the eagle as the symbol, the "E Pluribus Unum" as the motto, and the logo. For Sport Clube de Benfica, they maintained the football field, the main directors, and the club's house.

Under the mutual agreement, both Sport Clube de Benfica and Grupo Sport Lisboa determined that the foundation date of the newly formed club should coincide with the foundation date of Grupo Sport Lisboa, 28 February 1904, given that it was the most recognized club (of the two) in the merger and it was already quite popular in Lisbon due to its football merits. (It is interesting to note that Sport Lisboa e Benfica is the only club of the "Big Three" that has never changed its foundation date.) With regard to the new club's logo, a bicycle wheel was added to the Grupo Sport Lisboa's original logo, which represented the most important sport of Sport Clube de Benfica. As for the new club's name, Benfica from Sport Clube de Benfica was added to the Sport Lisboa of Grupo Sport Lisboa to form Sport Lisboa e Benfica, which remains the formal full name of Benfica today. As for other notes, the club moved from the Belém area of Lisbon to the present-day Benfica area, which is a neighborhood located in the northern part of the city. Furthermore, the two entities of the new club had simultaneous associates, which helped to stabilize operations and later increased the success of the merger.

In October 1908, a month after the agreement, the club won the first game ever against Sporting Clube de Portugal. Then, in the 1909–10 season, Benfica ended Carcavelos Club's reign (for the last three years) as Lisbon Champions. In addition, that season was considered a "golden one", as the club won all three regional championships in Portuguese competition, thus establishing a record.

Between 1905 and 1922, the club won 11 Lisbon regional titles in football.

Meanwhile, club’s popularity increased outside of Lisbon's city borders. Several affiliate clubs were created, mainly in the Algarve.

The 1913–14 season was very successful, as the club was the first to win the regional Lisbon championships in all the four categories.

The first international matches were played with some relevant results: in 1913, the club won their first international football trophy, named Torneio Três Cidades (Three Cities' Tournament).

The rink hockey department was created in 1917. In 1919, the club organized the first ever football game played at night in Portugal.

It was not until the 1920s that the club became more known as Benfica. A falling out within the club regarding some football players led to several members leaving the club and founding Clube de Futebol Os Belenenses, which is now Lisbon's third largest football club. This is regarded as the second major crisis within the club.

The national football competitions only began in the 1920s. The impact of the defection of players to Clube de Futebol Os Belenenses was made worse by further losses due to the creation of Casa Pia Atlético Clube in Lisbon. This exodus of players left Sport Lisboa e Benfica struggling in the following years and the club would only win two regional titles until 1930.

Fortunately for Benfica, cycling picked up the slack and became an important source of victories. Spearheading the team was Alfredo Luís Piedade, considered to be one of the greatest names in Portuguese cycling.

In 1925, the club inaugurated the Amoreiras Stadium. The departments of field hockey, rugby, and basketball were created in this decade; only the first mentioned doesn’t have official activities today.

The 1930s were a much kinder decade to Benfica. The club's football team started the decade by winning two national championships (for the first time) in 1930 and 1931 and one regional championship.

After losing the first national championship to Futebol Clube do Porto in the 1934–35 season, Benfica won the next three championships in a row (1935–36, 1936–37, and 1937–38), and their first Portuguese Cup, in 1939–40.

Cycling continued to be the key sport within the club. The duels between Benfica's José Maria Nicolau and Sporting Clube de Portugal's Alfredo Trinidade on the road throughout the country enthralled many fans and were a critical factor for the ascendance of popularity of not only Benfica but also Sporting. José Maria Nicolau is regarded as one of Benfica's greatest ever cyclist and won two Volta a Portugal's titles in 1931 and 1934.

The 1940s saw the domination by Benfica and Sporting in the country's football championship to an extent never seen before. Between 1941 and 1950, the two clubs finished first and second in every championship except for the 1945–46 season when Benfica finished second to Os Belenenses. During this period, Benfica and Sporting each won four titles. By now, football was clearly the club's most important sport.

Benfica's first major international football success happened in 1950 when they won the Latin Cup by defeating Bordeaux in the final. The Latin Cup was then seen as one of Europe's most prestigious European Cups in a time when UEFA had yet to launch its unified European Cups.

Another highlight came in 1954 when Benfica moved into the famous Estádio da Luz. It initially had capacity for 40,000 spectators, but this was gradually expanded due to club's growing success and fan base.

Benfica won three championships during the 1950s and were runner-ups three times. They also gathered six Portuguese Cups, and their accomplishments included a series of four consecutive victories between 1948 and 1953. The Portuguese cup was not held in 1950 due to the Latin Cup being organized in Portugal.

In addition to all these successes, Benfica was able to end the decade with the foundations in place enabling the club to enter the 1960s with one of the best teams in Europe.

Benfica was the first team to break Real Madrid's dominance in the early European Champions' Cup. Having won two European Cups in a row against FC Barcelona (1961) and Real Madrid (1962).

During this decade, Benfica would reach another three European Champions' Cup finals, but the Lisbon club never managed to win a European trophy again, having lost against Milan (1963), Internazionale (1965), and Manchester United (1968).

In 1968, Benfica was considered the best European team by France Football, despite its defeat in the Champions Cup. Many of its successes in the 1960s were achieved with all-time football great Eusébio playing for the Lisbon side. In fact, the 1960s were the best period of Benfica history, in which the club won an astonishing eight Championships (1960, '61, '63, '64, '65, '67, '68, and '69), three Portuguese Cups (1961, '64, and '69), and two European Champions Cup (1961 and '62).

During the 1970s, the team faded slightly from the European scene, but remained the main force inside Portuguese football, winning six championships (1971, '72, '73, '75, '76, and '77) and two Portuguese cups (1970 and '72). Jimmy Hagan led the club to three successive Portuguese championships, and once to the national cup between 1970 and 1973. Benfica also attracted Europe-wide attention when the team reached the semi-finals of the European Cup of Champions, where the team was only narrowly defeated 1–0 on aggregate by the legendary Ajax side of that era.

In 1972–73, Benfica became the only club in Portugal to last a whole season without defeat and won 28 matches — 23 consecutively — out of 30, and drew two. In that year, Eusébio also became Europe's top scorer with 40 goals, in what was his penultimate season as a Benfica player. The team scored 101 goals, breaking 100 only for the second time in their history.

The club had some problems in the late 1970s, early 1980s, but managed to stand up to its standards again, this time under the guidance of Sven-Göran Eriksson. In two years (1983 and 1984) the club won two championships, one Portuguese Cup, and reached the final of the UEFA Cup in 1983 against Anderlecht.

Following the completion of improvements to the football stadium, the board of Benfica decided to open the third level of the Estádio da Luz, which transformed it into one of the biggest in Europe, with a standing room capacity of 120,000. In 1987, Benfica won another double (championship and Portuguese cup), an achievement done for the ninth time in their history.

During the period from 1988 to 1994, Benfica made a huge financial investment in an effort to win another European cup, but the club failed to meet its expectations. While they did reach the European cup final in 1988 and 1990, Benfica lost in the final against PSV and Milan, respectively. Domestically, Benfica won three more championships (1989, '91, and '94) and one Portuguese Cup (1993).

Financial trouble began to undermine the club due to rampant spending and a questionable signing policy which allowed for squads composed of well over 30 players. Consequently, the period from 1994 through 2003 was arguably the darkest in the history of Benfica. During this time, Benfica only won one Portuguese Cup in 1996 and finished in positions, such as sixth in 2000–01 and fourth in 2001–02. The debts were accumulating, and nearly every year saw the hire of a new Benfica coach and the addition of high-priced but under-performing players.

In 2004, the club regained some of its sporting prowess, with a new president and the manager José Antonio Camacho, winning the first title in eight years (the Portuguese Cup, won against José Mourinho's Porto in the final), and in 2004–05, the first national championship in 11 years, this time with Giovanni Trapattoni as coach — in an odd season in which the top club had the least amount of points ever and an efficiency (63.7% of points obtainable) that historically would never have been enough to secure even second place. In 2005–06, Benfica won the Portuguese SuperCup for the fourth time.

In the 2005–06 Champions League, Benfica managed to reach the quarter-finals, defeating Manchester United 2–1 in the decisive group stage encounter, and then overcoming the 2005 European champions Liverpool 3–0 on aggregate. However Benfica lost in the Quarter Finals to the eventual winner Barcelona by an aggregate of 2–0, both goals coming during the second leg in Camp Nou. In the 2006–07 season, Benfica found themselves again facing Manchester United in a decisive Champions League group match in which the winner would advance. However, this time it was Manchester United who prevailed, gaining revenge in a 3–1 win.

On 20 August 2007, José Antonio Camacho returned to Benfica on a two-year contract, following the sacking of Fernando Santos after only one match in the league (a tie against the recently promoted Leixões), at time when Benfica was facing a vital Champions League qualifying game against Copenhagen. Benfica granted a place in the Champions League after defeating Copenhagen for 1–0, but eventually exited the competition at the group stage. They then parachuted to the UEFA Cup where they were defeated by Spanish debutants, Getafe. Camacho resigned a few months later, in March, with Benfica 14 points behind the leaders Porto in the Portuguese League. Benfica failed to gain a top three finish in the 2007–08 season, placing the team in the UEFA Cup for the upcoming season.

On 22 May 2008, former Valencia manager Quique Sánchez Flores was appointed as the clubs new manager for the new season.

In 2008, Benfica launched its own TV channel called Benfica TV.

In 2009, Benfica won the second edition of the Portuguese League Cup defeating their cross-town rival Sporting CP, under the guidance of Quique Flores

File:JorgeJesus.jpg On 8 June 2009, manager Quique Sánchez Flores resigned as coach after agreeing to a friendly contractual termination; he was replaced by former Sporting de Braga manager Jorge Jesus on 17 June.

On 12 July 2009, Benfica tied 2–2 against Sion in their first of ten friendlies in the 2009–10 preseason with Óscar Cardozo and Javier Saviola each scoring a goal. On 13 July, in their second friendly, they beat defending UEFA Cup-champions Shakhtar Donetsk 2–0, with goals coming from Cardozo and Carlos Martins. On 16 July, in their third friendly, Benfica beat Athletic Bilbao 2–1 with Saviola scoring two second-half goals.

On 18 July, in their fourth friendly, they beat Olhanense 2–1 with a 74th minute highlight goal from Cardozo and an injury time goal from Miguel Vítor. On 21 July, in their fifth friendly, Benfica lost 2–1 against Atlético Madrid with their only goal coming from Cardozo. The game was played in front of 58,000 fans at the Estádio da Luz as this was the presentation game for Benfica and the first game former team-legend Simão played versus Benfica in an Atlético uniform. On 24 July, in their sixth friendly, they beat Sunderland 2–0 with goals coming from Cardozo and Maxi Pereira. On 26 July, in their seventh friendly, Benfica won the prestigious Amsterdam Tournament against Ajax 3–2, with an own goal from Ismaïl Aissati and goals from Ángel Di María and David Luiz.

On 1 August 2009, in their eighth friendly, they beat Portsmouth 4–0 with Cardozo scoring two first-half goals and Weldon scoring a second-half goal. An own goal from Wilkinson late in the second half resulted in Benfica's fourth goal of the match. On 2 August, in their ninth friendly, Benfica won the Guimarães Tournament against Vitória de Guimarães 2–0, with goals coming from Weldon and Ruben Amorim. On 8 August, in their final friendly of the 2009–10 preseason, Benfica won the Eusébio Cup on penalty kicks against Milan. At the end of full-time, the match was tied 1–1 with Benfica's goal coming from Cardozo in the second half. During the penalty kick shoot-out, goalkeeper Quim saved a total of four penalties, which gave the match to Benfica and kept the Eusébio Cup in Lisbon for the first time.

With a string of good results to start the 2009–10 season, breath-taking attacking football, and some high scoring games in the Portuguese Liga, manager Jorge Jesus and his players have brought a sense of excitement to Benfica supporters that has not been seen since the football club won the 2004–05 Portuguese Liga. This sense of excitement and renewed passion amongst Benfica fans has resulted in high hopes for domestic competitions in the 2009–10 Portuguese Liga, Cup of Portugal, and Portuguese League Cup, as well as for international competition in the UEFA Europa League.

As the season of the Portuguese Liga progressed, excitement amongst Benfica fans and intrigue amongst rival fans led to high attendance figures in both the Estádio da Luz and opposing team stadiums throughout Portugal. For example, in a Portuguese Liga match between Benfica and União de Leiria in Leiria on 26 September 2009, the Estádio Dr. Magalhães Pessoa had their highest attendance figure since the UEFA Euro 2004 tournament. Furthermore, informal estimates by those who attended the football match claim that more than 90% of the stadium was composed of Benfica supporters.

When the first half of the season ended after 15 matches, Benfica had a record of 11 wins, two draws, and one loss, with 39 goals scored and nine conceided. Benfica also has had the highest average home attendance with 46,737; their highest mark was 58,659 against FC Porto.

On 21 March, the first solid proof of the awakening of the dormant giant came with the conquest of the first trophy of the new era, a 3–0 win against arch-rivals Porto on the 2010 Portuguese League Cup. A game completely dominated by Benfica, who managed to bestow upon its rivals the 2nd defeat of the season.

On 1 and 8 April, Benfica were paired with Liverpool in a two-legged quarterfinal matchup in the 2009–10 UEFA Europa League. In Lisbon at the Estádio da Luz, Benfica defeated the English club 2–1 on 1 April. However, despite the positive result in the first leg of the matchup, Benfica was defeated by a score of 4–1 in Liverpool's Anfield Stadium.

On 13 April 2010 in the Lisbon Derby, Benfica played another important match against "capital rivals" Sporting. The match began with Sporting creating more goal opportunities in the first half. Given Benfica's poor tactics, Jorge Jesus replaced Éder Luis with Pablo Aimar. This substitution helped to dramactically improve Benfica's play-making abilities. During the match, Fábio Coentrão placed the ball in the penalty area for Óscar Cardozo to score. Later on, Pablo Aimar, after a great pass from Ramires, managed to score the 2nd goal for Benfica.

On 9 May 2010, Benfica won their final match against Rio Ave and became the Champion of the 2009–2010 Season. Óscar Cardozo scored twice in the game, which made him the top scorer of the season with 26 goals. At the end of the season, Benfica finished 5 points ahead of runner-up, SC Braga (the best result that Braga has had in the history of their football club), with 76 points out of a possible 90. During the 2009–10 Portuguese Liga, Benfica recorded 24 victories, 4 draws and 2 defeats, with 78 goals scored and only 20 conceded. As the 2009–10 Portuguese Liga Champions, Benfica secured their direct entry into the Group Stage of the 2010-11 UEFA Champions League.

Club statistics and records

Nené presently holds records for number of total appearances for Benfica with 575 games played.

Benfica's all time top goalscorer is Eusébio, who scored 473 goals for the club in 440 games. José Águas is in second place with 378 goals in 384 games for the club followed by Nené, who has scored 359 goals in 575 games.

The club holds the unique record of having gone a whole season without losing a game, during the 1972–73 season and has a European winning streak record of 29 games between 1971–72 and 1972–73.

Symbols

The emblem is composed of an eagle, a shield in the club colours of red and white, and the acronym SLB for "Sport Lisboa e Benfica" over a football, all superimposed over a bicycle wheel, which was taken from the Grupo Sport Benfica emblem. The club motto is "E Pluribus Unum," Latin for "Out of many, one".

Before every home match, an actual eagle named Vitória flies around the Estádio da Luz several times and lands on top of Benfica's club shield, creating a real life version of the club's emblem. When this tradition first started, the eagle would not land on the shield every time, so it was believed by fans that when the eagle landed on top of the crest the team would win their game. As time went on and the eagle consistently landed on the shield, this belief was quickly forgotten.

It is said to be the only club in the world whose official anthem is sung by a tenor, Luís Piçarra, and the classic musician António Vitorino de Almeida has written a symphony to commemorate the club's first 100 years.

Stadium

The Estádio da Luz (Portuguese pronunciation: [(ɨ)ˈʃtadiu dɐ ˈluʃ]), officially named the Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica, which translated means, "Stadium of Light," is a football stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, the home of Benfica. It is called "a Catedral" (the Cathedral) by the Benfica fans.

The term Luz refers, historically, to the parish of the Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Luz (Church of Our Lady of the Light). The Stadium of Light in Sunderland, England may well have been inspired by the name of this Lisbon stadium.

In Portuguese, the word Luz means "Light". Although the stadium was named in honor of the parish, the words da Luz in the parish name translates to "of the Light". Hence, the name is not mistranslated and is correctly translated. It is incorrect grammatically to refer to this naming as a "misnomer".

The stadium hosted several matches in the 2004 European Football Championship, including the final match. The previous Benfica stadium (also called "Estádio da Luz" and one of the largest stadiums in the world with 120,000 seats) was demolished and the new one was built for the tournament with a capacity of 65,647.

Training centre and youth academy

Benfica owns state-of-the-art training facilities in Seixal. The complex is called the Caixa Futebol Campus, named after sponsor Caixa Geral de Depósitos, a leading Portuguese bank. It is here that the professional team trains daily and also is the home of all Benfica's youth squads. Benfica's youth squads have become to be known as one of the best academies in the world. The club scouts players from all over the world.

Supporters

In Portugal, a large number of Portuguese are said to be Benfica sympathisers. Almost every municipality of Portugal has its own Casa do Benfica (House of Benfica), which can also be found in many cities and towns of countries worldwide (Andorra, Angola, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Cape Verde, England, France, Germany, Guinea-Bissau, Luxembourg, Macau, South Africa, Switzerland, and the United States).

Since the 2004–05 championship, club membership figures have seen a significant increase (see reasons above). In April 2006, the number of club members surpassed 140,000. In July 2006, Benfica had 143,000 members, 1,000 more than Manchester United. Since 2006, Benfica has been the club with the most associates (paid club members), known as Sócios, in the world.

On 30 September 2009, Benfica announced that it had reached the 200,000 mark for paid club members. In May 2004, Benfica launched an aggressive marketing campaign, known as kit sócio (membership kit), to increase its paid club membership from 94,714 to 200,000. As a result, five years later, Benfica was able to add more than 105,000 new paid club members to their existing membership of 94,714, which more than doubled their total paid club membership. Currently, Benfica remains the leader of international football clubs with the largest number of paying club members worldwide.

Like all major Portuguese football clubs, Benfica has several organized groups of supporters (claque, in Portugal), including the Diabos Vermelhos (Red Devils), No Name Boys, and Grupo Manks. However, due to recent legislation against "violence in sports", none of them are officially recognized as organized groups.

Benfica supporters commonly call themselves benfiquistas in order to show their dedication to the Portuguese club.

Rivalries

Due to the club's history, Benfica's main rival is Sporting Clube de Portugal.[citation needed] Their rivalry represents not only the natural rivalry between two clubs from the same city, but it's also based on perceived notions in regards to the personal and socioeconomic status of the fanbases. Benfica fanbase is within the people and working classes, while Sporting fans are mostly from higher classes.

The next major rival of Benfica is FC Porto, in the so-called "classic". This rivalry has grown in the last 20 years. Together with Sporting, they form the Big Three in Portuguese sports.

Organization and finances

Sport Lisboa e Benfica is organized by sports departments and has a number of specific businesses. The holding company for all Sport Lisboa e Benfica's departments and businesses is Sport Lisboa e Benfica SGPS, SA, which participates in all branches and businesses of the club.

Sport Lisboa e Benfica – Futebol, S.A.D., the football department, is the largest by number of athletes, allocated budget, attendance, and sponsor contract receipts. As for the other sports departments in Benfica, they each have their own budget policy, sponsor contracts, and governing bodies. Although traditionally referred to as "the amateur sports departments," many of Benfica’s main competitive teams are composed of full-time professional athletes and coaches. Benfica also develops instructional and youth sport programs at both men’s and women’s sports events. In addition, Benfica hosts a number of youth sports academies throughout the world.

Regarding its business operations, Benfica has a network of merchandising shops called Loja do Benfica across Portugal and an online shop through Benfica's official website; a stadium management company; and BenficaTV channel, which started broadcasting in November 2008. Other business projects, such as a radio station and even a motor sports team have been discussed as possibilities for the future.

During the 2005–06 season, Benfica was ranked 20th in the Deloitte Football Money League with an estimated revenue of €85.1 million, placing it third in the Iberian Peninsula, behind only Spain's Real Madrid and FC Barcelona, and making it the first Portuguese football club to appear in the Money League. From 2002 to 2006, Benfica more than doubled their revenues.

Benfica’s revenue sources and percentages:

In 2007, Portuguese stock market authority CMVM approved Benfica's prospectus for the initial public offering (IPO) of up to 15 million shares in the Futebol, S.A.D., a 33% free-float. On 22 May 2007, Sport Lisboa e Benfica – Futebol, S.A.D. (ticker: SLBEN) debuted on Euronext Lisbon and since then, it has been a publicly traded company.

Business Structure:

In June 2007, after the share price fell from an initial €5/share to nearly €2.69/share, Portuguese businessman Joe Berardo made a takeover offer of 60% of the stock for €3.5/share. Benfica's president Luís Filipe Vieira refused the offer saying "Benfica will always have the majority of the stock".

The largest individual shareholders of Sport Lisboa e Benfica – Futebol, SAD (ticker: SLBEN) are former Benfica president Manuel Vilarinho and current Benfica president Luís Filipe Vieira. Former Benfica president Manuel Vilarinho owns 12.27% of Sport Lisboa e Benfica – Futebol, SAD, as of 1 August 2009.

Clubs inspired after Benfica

Being the most successful Portuguese club, Benfica has many followers around the world who have created clubs in honour of Benfica, specially in Portuguese-speaking countries and European countries with a significant Portuguese diaspora. Some of the most famous and oldest of those clubs or clubs playing in their countries' top tier include: Sport Luanda e Benfica founded in 1922, in Angolan's capital, Luanda; Sport Lubango e Benfica from Lubango, Angola, created in 1950; Sport Benfica e Castelo Branco initiated in 1924, in Castelo Branco, Portugal; Sport Macúti e Benfica from Beira, Mozambique; Sport Quelimane e Benfica in Quelimane, Mozambique; Casa Estrella del Benfica from Andorra la Vella, Andorra, founded in 2003; FC RM Hamm Benfica created in 2004, from Luxembourg City, in the Hamm quarter, in Luxembourg; Benfica (Santa Cruz) based in Santa Cruz, in the island of Santiago, Cape Verde; Sport London e Benfica F.C. from London, England, created in 1981; amongst many others. There are also clubs that, despite not having the word Benfica in their official name, inspired themselves in the club by creating a similar logo. Arguably the most famous of those clubs is C.D. Santa Clara, who has played in the Primeira Liga. Finally, some clubs don't share the word Benfica or similar logos who, nevertheless, are among the many affiliations or satellite clubs that S.L. Benfica has, with some of them sharing the same board as their parent club. For instance, Benfica's current president, Luís Filipe Vieira, was also president of F.C. Alverca, a well-known satellite club for Benfica, who also played in the Primeira Liga. Most of all these clubs inspired by Benfica were later affiliated with it as means to show their friendship with one another.

Notable figures

Some notable personalities in S.L. Benfica's history include (chronological order):

History of team honours

From 1922–1938, the Portuguese Championship was carried out as a knock-out competition. In 1934, an experimental and unofficial League Championship (Campeonato da I Liga) was introduced. This tournament was the precursor of the Portuguese League which started with the 1938–39 season. The previous format continued in renamed form as the cup competition.

1950 Latin Cup

1957 Latin Cup

1960–61 European Cup

1961–62 European Cup

1962–63 European Cup

1964–65 European Cup

1967–68 European Cup

1982–83 UEFA Cup

1987–88 European Cup

1989–90 European Cup

Regional (Lisbon) titles

Note: It shouldn't be translated as Empire Cup as it refers to Império LC, a Lisbon club from the early 20th century.

The following players have won the Ballon d'Or whilst playing for Benfica:

The following players have won the European Golden Shoe whilst playing for Benfica:

The following players have won the FIFA World Cup Golden Boot whilst playing for Benfica:

The following players have won the Best European Goalkeeper whilst playing for Benfica:

The following players have won the UEFA European Football Championship whilst playing for Benfica:

The following players have won the Copa América whilst playing for Benfica:

The following players have won the FIFA Confederations Cup whilst playing for Benfica:

The following players have won the Summer Olympics Football Tournament whilst playing for Benfica:

Players

Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

Reserve players

Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

Out to loan Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

This is a list of footballers, including the years in which they were part of the squad, who have been recognized as prime and best performers in their positions playing for Benfica, according to their official website:

Goalkeepers

Left fullbacks

Right fullbacks

Central defenders

Left midfielders

Right midfielders

Central midfielders

Forwards

The list bellow includes various other famous Benfica players.

1904–1950

1951–1970

1971–1990

1990s

2000s

Coaches

Other sports

The archery section has won the Portuguese National Championship 9 times and the Portuguese Cup 1 time. In addition to these national titles, they have won the Tornoi Européen de Nimes FITA once. It is one of the most successful Portuguese archery clubs.

Athletics is a sport with a great tradition in Benfica's history. Nowadays, Olympic champion and national recordist Nelson Évora in triple jump is among Benfica's athletics biggest names. By the number of regional, national and international titles, it is the most successful sport of the club.

S.L. Benfica are a top club in Portugal. One of its most memorable moments was when Benfica's basketball team won a European Cup clash against Italian giants Buckler Bologna, beating the Italians 102–90, in 4 December 1993 at Pavilhão da Luz in Lisbon. However, due to Portugal's popularity in football, basketball is not nearly as popular with the population as football. Just as in football, Benfica has a major rivalry with F.C. Porto's basketball team and it usually leads to arguments between the fans and players. S.L. Benfica have won in his basketball history 20 Portuguese championships, 18 Portuguese cups, 5 League Cups and 7 Portuguese Supercups and are currently one of the best teams in the league.

In recent years, the club started to develop a team capable of winning major titles, in part due to the growth the sport has witnessed in Portugal and world-wide.

Benfica has a long and rich tradition on Billiards. The new board of the section was elected in April 2007.

The Boxing section was reintroduced in 2008 and won the national championship 40 years after its last championship.

The 72,5 kg kickboxing-world champion, Bruno Carvalho, is one of Benfica's athletes.

Cycling was the second modality established within the club, and along with football, is one of only two sports referenced in the club logo. The sport was in activity from 1906 to 1941, 1947 to 1978, 1999 to 2000, and once again from 2007 to 2008. Benfica last won the Volta a Portugal in 1999, with Spanish cyclist David Plaza capturing the leader's yellow jersey. Historically, the club has had great national successes in cycling.

Benfica has a professional futsal team since 2002. In 5 years, the club won 4 Portuguese championships, 4 Portuguese cups, 4 Portuguese Supercups and 1 UEFA cup. Benfica also reached the final of the UEFA Cup in the 2003/04 season. In 2007 season, Benfica was national champion and also won the Portuguese cup. In the Women's section, Benfica was also national champion.

Men's Futsal National trophies:

The Men's national Handball honours of Benfica include 7 championships,3 cups, 3 supercups and 1 league cup. The club gave up of the sport between 1997 and 2004. Until the 1992/93 season, the club's variant of seven achieved the 100th trophy mark. 30 of them were conquered by seniors teams. In the 2007 season, Benfica ended a period of sixteen seasons without any national title won on men's seniors, after the conquest of the league cup, on 28 January 2007. Benfica won the national championship in the 2008 season, after 18 years without achieving that status.

Benfica is one of Portugal's biggest Golf clubs. It organizes around 20 tournaments each year.

The club has a gymnastics department, with the following activities: Aerobics, Acrobatic, Aerominis, Ballet, Ballroom dance, Boxing, Dance, Gymnastics of maintenance, Hapkido, Haidong Gumdo, Hip Hop, Kempo, Kickboxing, Krav Maga, Muay-Thai, "Os Madrugadores", PlayGym, Rhythmic gymnastics, Silhouettes, Taekwondo, Trampoline, Yoga, Youth Gymnastics.

Every year, the club organises the sarau Gimnáguia, known as one of the biggest and most important gymnastics event in Portugal, with the participation of several clubs. The event celebrated in 2007 the twenty-fifth anniversary.

European champion in the women's under-52 kg category, Telma Monteiro, has joined Benfica. The section is fully established on January 21, 2008, when the club will inaugurate their first ever Tatami mat. Ana Monteiro, Sandra Borges, Teresa Mirrado and André Januário are among other athletes of the section.

Benfica has achieved a big importance in Portuguese Paintball in the last years, the S.L. Benfica Paintball team, created in 2008 won the National Portuguese Gold (Top Portuguese Division) Paintball Championship 3 times in a row; 2008, 2009 and 2010, the Portuguese Cup in 2008. At international level also won the SPL Millennium European Paintball Series in 2009 and 3 SPL Millennium European Paintball Series Challenges; the World Cup of Toulouse in 2008, the European Masters Cup of Bitburg in 2008 and the Campaign Cup of London in 2009. Hugo Domingues of S.L. Benfica Paintball team is one of the best world Paintballers. In 2010 the S.L. Benfica Paintball team participate in the top Millennium European Paintball Series Competition, the CPL (Champions Profissional Paintball League).

Benfica has practiced this sport without interruption for longer than any other club in the world. The team are currently playing in the Primeira Divisão (First Division). The club has won many domestic competitions (20 Portuguese championships, 12 Portuguese Cups and 6 Portuguese Supercups), and European competitions (1 CERS Cup). The club's rink hockey team is considered one of the best in Portugal and rivalizes at national level with F.C. Porto and Óquei Clube de Barcelos rink hockey teams, in Europe they are also a title disputing team although they have only won the second most important cup once, CERS Cup.

Benfica have won many Portuguese championships in rugby, with Académica de Coimbra, C.D.U.P., Direito and Belenenses being other powerful competitors. Benfica have also won the Iberian Cup. Benfica is the oldest Portuguese club with a rugby section. In the 2008 season, the men's senior team ended in the 4th position in the national championship, while the women's section was the national champion for the second consecutive year.

The sport fishing section has had its best season in 2008, with Benfica being 2nd in the Portuguese championship.

The Casa do Benfica no Porto (House of SL Benfica in Porto) won the FIPS-MER World Championship Shore Angling Clubs in 2006 and a Silver Medal in 2010

S.L. Benfica's swimming department is among the best in Portugal. Benfica's swimmer Alexandre Yokochi is considered the best Portuguese swimmer of all-time, achieving remarkable results at international level. In the eighties, Benfica achieved relevant results, both in national and international levels. In 2007, the club won several medals in different competitions, at youth and seniors levels. Benfica has a men's and women's department.

World champion Vanessa Fernandes in women's triathlon is currently the most notable athlete of this department.

The club has a table tennis department, with a men's and women's section. Benfica dominated this sport at national level for a long period of time, with several titles won.

Benfica has achieved a certain importance in Portuguese volleyball in the last years after investing in hiring a winning team. The club won 3 Portuguese championships (the last one in 2004/05) and 10 Portuguese cups.

References

External links

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