Benfica got their 2014/2015 started this Thursday. A mix of new faces, loan returns, and the majority of last season’s team, were all spotted at the Caixa Futebol Campus in the Seixal today.
A total of 29 players reported to Benfica’s training facilities, the number is far from being the number of players that JJ will work with during the season, but seeing who reported allows us to have a good idea which players were actually off season acquisitions, or just media speculations.
The biggest surprises in the group of returning players had to have been Rodrigo, Andre Gomes and Silvio. The first two were sold to a fund with ties to Peter Lim last season, and were both rumored to be on the way to La Liga’s Valencia. Their presence at the Seixal, although perhaps temporary, only confirms that neither of the two have a set destination just yet. As far as Silvio, the utility fullback’s loan contract with Benfica ended at the end of last month (this past Monday), and despite still undergoing rehab for his fractured leg, his presence could mean that Benfica is perhaps moving to turn last year’s loan into a permanent move, excellent news if that is the case.
As far as the rest of the group they are as follows – Artur, Paulo Lopes, Steven Vitoria, Jardel, Luisao, Sulejmani. Gaitan, Salvio. Ivan Cavaleiro, Djuricic, Lima, and Cardozo.
Excused to report at a later date because of international duty are : Oblak, and Markovic (will report Monday 7/7), Maxi Pereira, Rúben Amorim, André Almeida, and Enzo Perez.
Fejsa, who underwent knee surgery only a month ago in Austria, and is not expected to be ready to compete until January of 2015, is reported to be recuperating in Austria with the medical team that performed his surgery.
B Team Players
Jorge Jesus called 4 players from last year’s B team to take part in this year’s pre-season. Bruno Varela, Joao Cancelo, Bernardo Silva and Funes Mori will all have a chance to fight for a spot in JJ’s final roster. Talented youngster Bernardo Silva, will get his first taste of first team training, and is a serious candidate to making the squad, but the odds of any of them making the main squad will depend heavily on any future exits.
Returning Loan Players
After being out on loan last season the following players have returned – Lisandro Lopez(Getafe), Ola John (Hamburg SV), Pizzi (Espanol), Farina(Baniyas), Nelson Oliveira(Rennes), and Franco Jara(Estudiantes). Mitrovic who was on loan at Vallolid was not at the Seixal today.
Along with returning players, there were also a few new faces. Most of them already confirmed by Benfica, others confirmed by the media, their presence at the Seixal today dispelled all doubts. Loris Benito (Left back / FC Zurich), Djavan(Left Back / Academica), Cesar(Center Back/ Ponte Preta), and Candeias(Winger / Nacional da Madeira) were all in attendance. Also in attendance at the Seixal, albeit not yet confirmed by Benfica, were Derley (Forward/ Maritimo) and Luis Felipe (Right Back /Palmeiras), both rumored to have put pen to paper yesterday, and to be confirmed by Benfica this Friday.
All 29 players will undergo a battery of tests and examinations Friday and Saturday, take Sunday off, and have their first real training session on Monday 7/7.