THE BALL – Rui Costa says: “I don’t allow people to consider me a banana” (Benfica)


Current administrator of SAD at Benfica, Rui Costa is a candidate for vice president on Luís Filipe Vieira’s re-nomination list. The former player rejects the role of ‘yes man’ and says it will only take four years to consider the possibility of himself being a candidate to lead the club.

“Honestly, there has been a lot of talk about this in the last few days, after the president’s statements, but let me tell you that it was not for this reason that I accepted the invitation to the board. He is not obsessed with having to become president of Benfica. I do not hide all the pride I have in listening to the current president of Benfica, who made the history he made in this club, since I can become the future. It is a pride for me as a Benfica player. Now, until then, my role will continue to be what it was, in terms of football. I am getting to know the club from the inside in another area as well. But, up to four years from now, I will be the first to assess whether or not I have the capacity to be president of Benfica. Also because I am too benfiquista to accept a position in Benfica that I do not feel capable of achieving. I will therefore have four years here to understand above all what my abilities are. So the partners will always decide what comes next. If I am ready and fit for a position of this responsibility and size, I will take on my responsibilities at Benfica, as I always have. Although there are many people who consider me hidden, because they do not fully understand the dynamics of a football team, I have never shied away from my responsibilities. If I consider myself ready and fit for the job, I can move on. Otherwise I’ll be the first to say I’m not ready ”, he explains, in a long interview with

Recently, however, Rui Costa has been the subject of criticism from the characters of the club.

“For those who say I’m used to it, the story of my life may not be different from that of many other players or citizens, but I’m proud of it. I was not born rich, I was born in a basement in Damaia, I fought all my life to be a footballer at Benfica, I became a Benfica player, I went abroad, I was 12 in the most important league of the time, I was European champion, I was 94 In the time of the Portuguese national team, I was captain of all my teams, I became sporting director of Benfica, I became administrator, I was invited to be number two in the direction of Luís Filipe Vieira and this is not used from no one. This is not achieved by being a banana for anyone. You conquer yourself with who I am, with the responsibility that I have always taken on in my life in everything I do, whether at Benfica, at my home, in my companies, with my family or with my friends. Therefore, I don’t allow them to consider me a banana. You cannot do everything I have done in life just because ”, he refutes, even assuming some disagreements with Luís Filipe Vieira himself.

Here are some other excerpts from the interview:

The criticisms of Bernardo Silva: «It is clear that anyone who is not happy with this direction expects Benfica public figures to speak out against it. But for me it would be necessary for me to think like them too, to be against it. Just as I respect those who are against the management, they too must respect me for being in favor of what Benfica has been in recent years. Can we do better? We can. Will we work hard to do even better? We will definitely be back. But at the moment I don’t even allow Benfica to be judged as if we haven’t won a title in 10 years. Benfica have won this decade because they haven’t won for many years. He has created a project, a structure, which allows the club to face the future with enormous optimism, both from a financial and a sporting point of view. Therefore, I respect those who are against it, I am not one of the people who creates controversy and thinks there is only one voice inside. I am obliged, out of kindness and benevolence, to respect contrary opinions, but I can also have my own opinion. Now, people can’t want me to have their opinion. Mine, at this moment, is one of continuity. I still emphasize one thing that is very serious for me: when I say that it is continuity, I am not saying that it is the conversation that I am the future president of Benfica. It’s a continuity because at this moment I don’t think Benfica should stop everything they have done so far. I fully believe in the president’s strategy for the club to improve and grow. When I returned to Benfica 14 years ago, it was almost impossible to aspire to become national champion. I am a participating witness of the evolution that this club has had. I could never at this moment not believe that this is the way. Since everyone wins since Wednesday, we must all keep in mind that Benfica must be together and not divided. Because I see so much noise in the club that it seems like we haven’t won anything in 10 years. Or that you haven’t grown at all in 10 years. And this is completely absurd. A striking case: no one more than me, like me, yes, but no one more than me who suffered for not having won the repentance. There is no one who has suffered more than me. They may have suffered just like me, because I am no more than anyone else, but no more than what I am. But even this cannot erase the fact that we have been champions four times, something that Benfica had never achieved in history ».

European ambition: «Benfica in recent years have failed for what is the European dimension. I repeat: we must be as ambitious as possible, so we must believe that it is possible to achieve a European title. Now, don’t talk to me about a European title with all this lightness, as if it were the most banal thing in the world. We have just talked about Bernardo Silva: I still want him to be a European champion, but when it comes to investments he is in a team that has invested 14 times more than Benfica and has not yet managed to reach a European title, nor a Final. . “

The other presidential candidates: «Today it seems that if I am in the campaign and the candidates say they will become European champions, I must say that I will be a two-time European champion. And if there is another who says he will be a two-time European champion, then I will be a three-time European champion. Ready. What I sincerely hope is that Benfica will be back on Wednesday, regardless of who wins ».

Lawsuits: “The closer we got to the election, the worse it was. From personal to collective. It’s pleasant? It is not. It is not pleasant for anyone, neither for those who work here, nor for the president. Now, I ask: what were we condemned to? Nothing. All of this is said. “

Why Benfica members should vote for Luís Filipe Vieira: «First of all, I appeal to vote, I think you should vote. I think it is one of the most competitive elections in Benfica, for many years there were no elections with so many people. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic issue, there had to be a date change and this could create some difficulties in voting. The club has tried, as I understand it, to give everyone a chance to vote, so I appeal to vote, whatever it is. After the elections, Benfica must be united, who wins. As for the vote in Vieira: I believe that the work is more than visible. There must be this recognition and this trust, knowing that the work is not finished yet, that there is still a lot to do. Luís Filipe Vieira, for everything he has done for the club, deserves continuity. Benfica went through many moments of glory, many years ago, then went through a crisis in which it almost closed its doors and today it is a club recognized at national, European and world level. I know very well what Benfica is out there and it is something I am proud of when I find myself in front of the presidents and managers of European giants, who congratulate me on everything we have done at the club ».


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