In 1961 Benfica made the incredible, it won the 6th edition of the European Cup tournament, surpassing the best teams in Europe. In the final it won Barcelona, which had won legendary Real Madrid in the semi finals. The same Real Madrid that had won the title 5 consecutive times until then. 3 prolific scorers; Jose Aguas, Jose Augusto and Santana took Benfica to the final in which it won 3:2 with goals of Aguas and Coluna and an own goal of Barcelona. The remarkable achievement of winning the European title repeated itself a year later, when Benfica won Real Madrid 5:3, this time with its new and legendary player, Eusebio.
By the end of 1962 All football fans around the world were sure that a Benfica era is at the gate. There was only one problem. The contract of the coach Bela Guttman, who had led the team to these two consecutive wins, was not prolonged. It turned out to be a fatal mistake. The Curse of Bela Guttman has become synonymous with club. Ever since the dismissal of Guttman the club appeared in 8 finals of European tournaments (5 European Cups and 3 UEFA Cups), losing them all.
The club was inaugurated in a historical meeting held in 1904 in which 24 men decided the colors of the club (red and white representing bravery and peace) and the vulture in the crest. The official name with which the club appears till today, Sport Lisboa e Benfica, was given in 1908.
The first national title was won in the 1935-1936 season, a year after the inauguration of the Portuguese league, it was the first one in three consecutive wins. In 1940 the first Portuguese Cup was won. These titles were the firsts in a long list of titles. Benfica has won the Primeira Liga a record number of 33 times. It also owns the record of winning the Portuguese cup (Taça de Portugal) 25 times, 4 of them consecutively. Benfica has won the double title 10 times, which is yet another record. In 2014 Benfica achieved a historical record of winning all 4 Portuguese possible titles in one season.
The glorious times of the club are without a doubt the 1960s. During this decade Benfica appeared in 5 European Cups finals, winning the trophy twice. They won the national championship 8 times and the national cup 3 times. The legendary symbol of the club, Eusébio da Silva Ferreira, was at his pick, and was considered by many as one of the best football players of his time ( and according to some, was even topping Pele). The following years were also good for the club. In the 1970s, it won 6 championships. In the 1980s it won 5 championships and 5 cups and in 1988 and 1990 reached the final of the European Cup under Sven-Göran Eriksson management. In the early 1990s Benfica won some additional titles but a period of decline started for the club. Between 1996 and 2004 it did not win any title.
In recent years it looks like Benfica is getting back to its natural place amongst the leading clubs in Europe. Double and consecutive appearances in the UEFA League final in 2013 and 2014 and a historical season regarding national titles (2013-2014) give a lot of hope to its fans for the upcoming seasons.
Record holders at the club are: Nene, with 575 appearances(between 1968 -1986) and Eusebio with 474 goals in 440 matches (between 1960-1975).
The club plays at the beautiful new Estadio da Luz (The Stadium of Light) which was inaugurated in October 2003. It has a capacity of 65,647 seats. This stadium replaced the old Estadio da Luz, which at a time (between 1985 and 1994) was the biggest stadium in Europe, with a capacity to contain 120,000 spectators.
Under Jorge Jesus who has managed the club since 2009 and with some remarkable players such as: Lima, Nicolas Gaitan, goal keeper Julio Cesar, Talisca and Maxi Pereira Benfica will try to continue the great momentum of the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 seasons.
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