Benfica president Rui Costa has reacted with severe criticism to Enzo Fernandez’s departure to Chelsea. He had joined the Blues for over 120 million and apparently under no circumstances was he willing to play a second longer for the Portuguese.
“I will not mourn any player who doesn’t want to stay. When Chelsea came along it was absolutely impossible to change your mind,” Costa said at an event on Thursday, according to Portuguese and English media.
According to Costa, “a solution was even found for Enzo to stay here until the end of the season without losing money”, but he would only have agreed to Chelsea, not the player: “Enzo really wanted to leave and was uncompromising about it.”
Costa’s conclusion: At this point, the case was clear. “I said: He can’t play for Benfica anymore, no chance. A player like that can never go into the dressing room again. I have a clear conscience and I’m as sad as any Benfica fan.” After what happened, “I didn’t want that player anymore as a fan – and I didn’t want that player as a president either.”
Fernandez only joined Lisbon from River Plate in Buenos Aires last summer (for around €44m), Chelsea have now paid nearly triple that and handed the 22-year-old midfielder a contract until 2031. In order not to have to make the sum as a one-off payment, the London club apparently even agreed to pay a little more than the exit clause of 120 million euros laid down in the contract.