Benfica president Rui Costa blasts Enzo Fernandez, breaks silence on star’s antics to push through Chelsea move

February 3rd, 2023 by Olasunkanmi Ibikunle

Benfica president Rui Costa has admitted he ‘won’t cry’ for Enzo Fernandez in a scathing account of the midfielder’s conduct during his deadline day move to Chelsea.

The 22-year-old joined the Blues for a British record £107 million after frantic negotiations that saw the deal completed just ‘two minutes’ before the deadline.

Despite Costa’s best efforts, he could not persuade Fernandez to stay with the Eagles until the end of the season, and has now recounted a bitter end to the Argentine star’s time in Portugal.

“Enzo Fernandez did not want to stay at Benfica. He didn’t give us any chance,’ the president said at a Bwin event this week.

“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.’

Fernandez is believed to have wanted a move since the World Cup, and defied his club by flying back to Argentina to celebrate the New Year as he pushed for a move to England.

Benfica manager Roger Schmidt had claimed no deal would take place in mid-January, but Chelsea came back in for the midfielder after giving up in their pursuit of Brighton’s Moises Caicedo and deciding they would pay Fernandez’s full release clause.

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.’

Costa went on to explain how unwilling he was to keep an unmotivated player at Benfica, and showed little remorse for Fernandez’s exit.

“At that point I said, ‘He can’t play for Benfica anymore, no way,'” he said. “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 championship 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.”

Photo Credit: ChelseaFC/Twitter

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