I am just back from a visit to the disappointingly half-empty Stadium of Light last night with a group of wonderful tourists. We were behind the goal to see Benfica, currently struggling in the league, dominate and achieve a well-deserved (if unbelievably stressful) 2-1 Champions League victory of Galatasaray. This puts us on the edge of qualification for the knockout rounds of this years tournament, and seems like a good time to discuss The Curse which has been on the club for over half a century.
In 1962, Benfica won their second consecutive European Cup, and may well have been the best team in the world. So, naturally, they refused to give their Hungarian manager, Béla Guttmann, a bonus. He quit in fury, allegedly leaving a curse that the team wouldn’t win another European Cup for 100 years. Luckily I don’t believe in curses…
…but if I did, Benfica could be the reason. The penalty shootout against Sevilla in 2014 which I was (un)lucky enough to be present at was our 8th successive European Cup Final loss since then, and second in a row after an injury-time defeat to a Chelsea team we had outplayed even more than we had Sevilla.
Will we get a chance to cast the curse aside this year?
Either way, luckily for me I will still be a Benfica fan in 2052, when the curse officially runs out…
Writing has finished on ‘Benfica to Brazil‘ and I am currently editing the book. If you guys have half as much fun reading it as I am having re-reading it, (and remember, I already know what’s in it!), it should be worth the wait.
A month of editing, a few weeks of proof-reading, and then the logistics of turning the digital word into the physical form, and I hope to have the book flying around the world to you within a few months.
If you haven’t ordered your copy yet, contact me through this blog to reserve your book now!