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Benfica president slams Enzo Fernandez over £107m Chelsea move

Chelsea Stadium, Stamford Bridge
"Big screen inside Stamford Bridge" by Jason Bagley is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

The Argentine international left Benfica on a record-breaking transfer to continue his career at Stamford Bridge.

Benfica president Rui Costa has criticised Enzo Fernandez for pushing too hard to move to Chelsea.

The Blues started their efforts to sign Fernandez as soon as the World Cup started. The Argentina international’s brilliant performances in Qatar attracted interest from a host of elite clubs.

But it seems Chelsea was Fernandez’s preferred destination from the beginning.

“Enzo Fernandez did not want to stay at Benfica. He didn’t give us any chance,” Costa said.

“I did my best, I’m sad, but I’m not going to cry for a player who didn’t want to stay. When Chelsea arrived, it was really impossible to change his mind.”

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Negotiations for Fernandez’s move dragged on all the way until the transfer window’s deadline day. The exciting saga ended just an hour before midnight, with Chelsea signing Fernandez on a £107m deal. 

Costa continued: “During deadline day we found an agreement to sell Enzo to Chelsea in the summer but he didn’t want to stay.

“From the moment Enzo realised [Chelsea would pay] the value of the clause it was unrelenting. We tried to insist, but the player did not show any openness to continuing at Benfica.

“I proposed to Chelsea that he stay until the summer for a lower value, but the player did not want to continue at Benfica – and this is when everything changed.

“At that point I said, ‘He can’t play for Benfica anymore, no way’. I don’t cry for players who don’t want to wear our shirt.

“I had the hope that Enzo would want to fight for the title with us. When I realised that he didn’t want to, I also didn’t want him to wear the Benfica shirt again.

“A player who even with the possibility of not losing a Euro and with a secure Chelsea contract, does not want to continue, could never stay at Benfica. This player could no longer enter the locker room.”