The Worlds Favourite Playground

Thursday, Oct 29th

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Benfica took an important step towards reaching the Champions League quarter-finals with a 1-0 victory over Borussia Dortmund in the first leg on Tuesday.

Kostas Mitroglou's 48th minute close-range finish following a corner gave the Portuguese capital football club a 1-0 lead in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League round of 16 clash.

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Sporting Braga's Danilo Barbosa joined Benfica on loan after both Portuguese football clubs agreed on the transfer of the Brazilian midfielder, who was also on loan to Valencia last year. Benfica said in a statement released on its website on Thursday that the Brazilian will be on loan for one year.

Danilo, 20, started his career at Brazil's Vasco da Gama and then moved to Sporting Braga in 2014.

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The Beautiful Game is a sport which brings together people of all castes and creeds, from all the corners of the world, to cheer for their beloved teams. And with European football being amongst the most glamorous in the world, the finals of its top tier competition – the Champions League – is certainly considered a sporting bonanza, probably surpassed only by the final of the FIFA World Cup.

The competition was started in the year 1955, known by the name European Champion Clubs' Cup, or simply the European Cup, until it was rebranded as the UEFA Champions League in 1992.

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Arsenal’s pursuit of Benfica striker Rodrigo Moreno could be headed to troubled waters as the Sunday People report that Inter Milan are also in serious pursuit of the 23 year old. Rodrigo has a long history of being linked with the biggest clubs in England as he has previously been targeted by Liverpool and Manchester United. The Gunners are the most recent stalkers of the Spanish striker, who is enjoying his best season in a Benfica shirt with 16 goals in all competitions this campaign. But Inter Milan are reportedly ready to offer better terms than the Gunners, thus making this a very messy affair.

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Manchester United manager David Moyes faces some very tough times ahead, in his pursuit of the club’s long-time target, Benfica’s Nicolas Gaitan. The Argentine is reported to have said that the Red Devils will have to make a bid identical to the one Chelsea made for Nemanja Matic, if they hope to land him at the club anytime soon.

The 25 year old was quoted in The Daily Express, saying: "I am at Benfica , I have a contract until 2016. I want to respect it, but if there is an offer like what happened to Matic, we'll see."

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Nemanja Matic is on the brink of completing a return to Chelsea as the Blues flexed their muscle in the transfer market to boost their title hopes. The imposing Serbian midfielder made the switch to Benfica as a part of the deal which took David Luiz to Stamford Bridge in the January of 2011. Roman Abramovich has now sanctioned a whopping fee reported to be in the region of £22 Million, for the man who Chelsea deemed surplus to requirements two years ago.

When asked if he had played his last game as a Benfica player, Matic is quoted by The Metro, "Yes, it was my last game.I want to thank all the people at the club and all the supporters. Benfica will be forever in my heart.  I played here two and a half years, I gave my best in every practice, every game, and now is the right time to leave."

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Chelsea are eyeing a buyback of Serbian midfielder Nemanja Matic from Benfica this season. Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich would be required to part with a considerable sum, rumoured to be as high as £25 Million for the midfielder who Chelsea let go to Benfica as part of the deal to bring David Luiz to Stamford Bridge. Chelsea and Benfica have enjoyed a good relationship in recent times with another Brazilian Ramires also joining the Blues from the Lisbon club.

Jose Mourinho sees Matic as the ideal player to sit in front of the back four and anchor play from a deep position. Recently, the Portuguese has been forced to play David Luiz in midfield due to injuries to Van Ginkel and Lampard while Michael Essien is not the force that he once was. John Obi Mikel, while defensively sound, offers little going forward. With Essien likely to be moved on in the summer and with Lampard's powers on the wane, Matic would represent a great long term investment for the Blues.

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