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Benfica president Rui Costa takes aim at Enzo Fernandez’s behavior during £107m move to Chelsea

Benfica president Rui Costa takes aim at Enzo Fernandez’s behavior during £107m move to Chelsea

Rui Costa, president of Benfica, stated that he ‘won’t cry’ for Enzo Fernandez in a scathing account of the midfielder’s conduct during his transfer to Chelsea on transfer deadline day.

After frantic negotiations, the 22-year-old joined the Blues for a British record £107 million. The deal was finalized ‘two minutes’ before the deadline.

Despite Costa’s best efforts, he was unable to convince Fernandez to remain with the Eagles until the end of the season. He has now described the Argentine star’s bitter departure from 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 desired a transfer since the World Cup, and he defied his club by flying back to Argentina to celebrate the New Year in order to push for a transfer to England.

Roger Schmidt, the manager of Benfica, had stated that no deal would take place in mid-January. However, after abandoning their pursuit of Brighton’s Moises Caicedo and deciding to pay Fernandez’s full release clause, Chelsea re-entered the race for the midfielder.

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 that he was unwilling to keep an unmotivated player at Benfica and showed no regret for Fernandez’s departure.

“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.”

Despite his off-field behavior, Fernandez is one of the most highly regarded young midfielders in the world and has the potential to be a leader for the Blues for years to come.

Last year, he was named the best young player as Argentina won the World Cup in Qatar. He could help revive Chelsea’s season, which has seen them fall to 10th place in the league.

Benfica president Rui Costa takes aim at Enzo Fernandez’s behavior during £107m move to Chelsea

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