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Benfica chief Rui Costa takes aim at Enzo Fernandez over Chelsea switch: ‘Didn’t want him to wear the shirt again’

Benfica president and global football icon Rui Costa has, late on Thursday, spoken publicly over the departure of star midfielder Enzo Fernandez.

The name of youngster Fernandez, of course, took its place back front and centre in the media headlines across Europe earlier this week.

This came as long-time suitors Chelsea – amid a last-gasp effort to add to the club’s engine room ranks with a view to the 2nd half of the campaign – returned to the negotiation table at Benfica.

New Blues owner Todd Boehly had previously found himself frustrated with the stance of the powers that be at the Estadio da Luz, adamant that Fernandez’s £105 million release clause be met in full for a sale to come to fruition.

When all was said and done, though, Boehly, once more, put his money where his mouth is, coughing up the required sum at the eleventh hour on deadline day.

Evidently, though, the move has left something of a bitter taste in the mouths of those at Benfica.

And the one-time midfield standout did not at all hold back with his response, taking firm aim at Benfica’s now-former crown jewel, in asserting that Fernandez was no longer fit to don the club’s colours:

“Everything was done so it wouldn’t happen. I’m sad to have lost the player, but I’m a clear conscience that I’ve done the best for Benfica. Enzo showed no desire to stay at Benfica.”

“From the moment Enzo realized he had the value of the clause, it was uncompromising. We insisted, but the player did not show openness to continue at Benfica.”

“I proposed to Chelsea that he stay until the summer for a lower sale value. The player, even so, did not want to continue at Benfica. And this is where everything changed.”

“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.”

“I had the hope that Enzo would want to fight for the championship title with us. When I realised that he didn’t want to, I also didn’t want him to wear the Benfica shirt again.”

“At Benfica, and this also applies to training, only players who are proud to wear the Benfica jersey.”

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Conor Laird

Die-hard Juventus fan with a love for all things Italian, and a real soft spot for Arsenal cult heroes. Emmanuel Eboue, Nicklas Bendtner, Philippe Senderos... Give them all statues outside the Emirates.

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