SL Benfica have signed Nuno Gomes to a four-year contract following the Portuguese international striker's departure from debt-laden AC Fiorentina.
Gomes returns to the Lisbon club after having moved to Fiorentina following impressive performances at the EURO 2000™ finals. Although the striker's tenure with Fiorentina was not marked with productivity in front of goal as he managed only 14 goals in two seasons, Benfica will be hoping that he can regain the scoring touch that saw him net 60 goals in the Portuguese 1. Liga before moving to Italy.
The 26-year-old, who was presented to the Benfica faithful at the half-time interval during their friendly match with Brazilian side Grêmio FB-Porto Alegrense, admitted he was happy to return to a club with whom he had spent three years. "I am so very happy to be back at a club who treated me well," Gomes said. "I am happy to be back at Benfica, a club I know well and that always treated me very nice. That was important for the decision. I was a free agent but the fact Benfica showed much more interest then any other team, and because I have always liked Benfica, was decisive for my decision."
'Quality added' - Ferreira
"It's important to have good players in the team," Benfica coach Jesualdo Ferreira said. "I am happy just being Benfica coach, but of course I am happy because I can count on great players who add quality to the squad.''
No European matches
Benfica, winners of the Portuguese championship on 30 occasions, will not feature in European club competition this season following their fourth-placed finish last season, thereby ensuring Gomes will not add to his tally of 29 appearances and ten goals in UEFA club competitions for another year. But by signing Brazilians Anderson, Éder, Cristiano and George Ribeiro alongside Emílio Peixe, Petit, Hélder, Miklós Fehér, Ricardo Rocha and now Gomes, the Eagles will be looking to seriously challenge Sporting Clube de Portugal, Boavista FC and FC Porto for domestic honours.
In moving from Fiorentina, Gomes has become the the second high-profile player to leave the crisis-hit Viola in the wake of their relegation due to financial problems. He joins Brazilian Amaral, who has switched to Turkish side Besiktas JK.
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