Benfica manager rips into Enzo Fernandez after completing British record move to Chelsea
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Benfica manager Roger Schmidt didn't hold back when he was asked about Enzo Fernandez's record-breaking transfer to Chelsea.
After weeks of intense speculation surrounding his future at the Estadio da Luz, World Cup winner Fernandez completed a British record £106.8 million to big spenders Chelsea on transfer deadline day.
It was a long day for Chelsea's co-owner Behdad Eghbali, who spent 20 consecutive hours negotiating a deal that includes a reported six instalments.
The highly-rated 22-year-old midfielder, who lifted the Young Player of the Tournament award at last year's World Cup, has penned an eight-and-a-half year deal at Stamford Bridge.
It's a transfer that has got plenty of people talking, including Benfica boss Roger Schmidt, who reacted to the deal after their 3-0 win against Arouca on Tuesday night.
He said: "It's always difficult to lose a good player in the winter market. but today we showed that we are a good team without him, that we are capable of playing good football without him, that the players are focused on getting the most points, to be champions.
"Benfica is much bigger than a player. We just need players who are happy to play for Benfica, who are passionate.
We had a player who wanted to leave and a club willing to pay the clause, we couldn't do anything. We accepted and looked ahead."
You can see the full clip from Schmidt's post-match press conference below.
🗣 "Benfica is much bigger than one single player. We need players who are happy to play for Benfica."— Football Daily (@footballdaily) February 1, 2023
Benfica manager Roger Schmidt reacted to Enzo Fernandez' transfer to Chelsea pic.twitter.com/pExujsBnyF
Schmidt was very vocal about the move throughout the transfer window. In the first week of January, he said Benfica were being "disrespected" by another club in their pursuit of Fernandez.
Although he didn't name the club involved, Chelsea and Liverpool were being heavily linked with a move at the time.
"There is a club that wants him, they tried to attract him, but they know that they can only have him if they pay the clause," Schmidt said.
"It's disrespectful to all of us, to Benfica, they're driving the player crazy, they pretend they want to pay the clause and then they want to negotiate."
Schmidt initially ruled out Fernandez leaving the Portuguese club last month despite leaving the Argentine out of their win over Portimonense on January 6.
“The issue with Enzo is closed, there is no issue anymore,” he said. “He’s our player, he’s in a very good condition, he’s training well, he’s happy, so he’s part of the squad and a key player. I think I’ve already said everything about him.”
But of course, Graham Potter's side swooped to seal a British record £106.8 million deal, although judging by his latest press conference, it doesn't seem Schmidt is overly bothered about Fernandez's departure.
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Featured Image Credit: Football Daily/Instagram - enzojfernandez
Topics: Enzo Fernandez, Benfica, Portugal, Chelsea, Chelsea Transfer News & Rumours, Premier League, Graham Potter