Benfica president Luis Filipe Vieira urged supporters to “not worry about those who leave” with former coach Jorge Jesus set to join rivals Sporting Lisbon.
Jesus’ contract with Benfica is set to expire on June 30 and the Lisbon-based club confirmed on Thursday that the 60-year-old will not be signing a new deal after six seasons at the Estadio da Luz.
It is widely expected Jesus will move across town to Sporting’s Estadio Jose Alvalade, with Vieira claiming at Benfica’s supporters assembly that he was “disappointed but not surprised” the former midfielder would leave the club.
Jesus led Benfica to three Primeira Liga titles, including the past two, plus two consecutive UEFA Europa League finals, although they were unsuccessful both times.
“We here at Benfica are not irreplaceable, even if some think that they are,” Vieira said.
“I am disappointed but not surprised. And above all I am determined to return to winning. Time is always the best judge of our actions. We’ll see what time will tell within a year.
“Finally, a request – do not worry about those who leave. Rejoice with those who stay and those who will come, because it is with them that we will continue to win.”
Vieira also refused to discuss Jesus’ replacement, despite extensive claims Rui Vitoria will join Benfica from Vitoria Guimaraes.
“Contrary to what they say, I have no pre-agreement with anyone, but I have a very clear idea of what I want to Benfica,” he said.
“I want a winning coach, who is not afraid to bet on our kids and be able to build an integrated project from our youth ranks to the professional football.”
Jesus is reportedly leaving due to a lack of recognition for his role in Benfica’s recent successes, with the president reiterating his stance that everyone involved in the club deserved plaudits – not just the coach.
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