Friday, May 26, 2017

Gaitan set to leave Benfica after emotional Taca da Liga final

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 20 May 2016

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Nicolas Gaitan has confirmed he is on the brink of leaving Benfica after helping the club to win a domestic double.

Benfica were crowned Portuguese champions last week and added the Taca da Liga to their trophy cabinet on Friday with a 6-2 victory over Maritimo in the final.

Gaitan, 28, scored his side’s fourth goal before waving goodbye to supporters as he was substituted in the closing stages of the final in Coimbra, before he was seen in tears on the bench.

The attacking midfielder’s contract runs until 2019 and contains a release clause worth €45 million, but Champions League finalists Atletico Madrid are reportedly close to sealing a €25m deal to sign him, while Manchester United are regularly cited as admirers.

“I don’t want to say where, but I’m very close to leaving – I think this was my last game,” Gaitan told TVI after the match.

“Crying is a normal feeling when you win with this club. I have been at this club for many years and there a lot of emotions.

“I admit that I did not want to come to Benfica – I wanted to stay in Argentina, but they have treated me very well here. It’s always good to end the season like this. Last season we won and this year we did again.

“It was very difficult to play well after becoming champions on Sunday and this team showed it lives up to expectations.”

Gaitan joined Benfica from Boca Juniors for €8.4m back in May 2010 and has been a regular throughout his six seasons in Portugal.

As well as winning the League Cup on Friday, he was also named in Argentina’s final squad for the upcoming Copa America Centenario.

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