Benfica played yesterday against Barcelona. One Serbian and 10 South Americans played in Benfica’s starting line-up because the Portuguese giant has only 3 local players in its first-team squad. Only two of them are home-grown.
By the way, Romanian champions, CFR Cluj, have 8 Portuguese players in their squad.
It got to this because Benfica can get cheaper foreign players through the murky world of 3rd party ownership of footballers.
It’s easier to buy young South American players with the help of a hedge funds than to develop local players and it might have been justified economically if Benfica was a successful business. But despite having a huge fan base Benfica posted a loss of 12 million euros in the period from July 2011 to June 2012 and their liabilities totaled at 426 million euros, an 11 percent rise from the previous year.
There is a lot of talk now about the “soul of football” being eroded. Well… When a Portuguese giant, owned by its fans, can’t field a single home grown player because it’s easier to import players with the money of mysterious businessmen – then I think it is pretty safe to assume football’s soul is pretty worn down.
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