Twice a UEFA Europa League winner with Club Atlético de Madrid, SL Benfica's Argentinian international Eduardo 'Toto' Salvio could pen another successful chapter in his short career by lifting the trophy for a third time next month in Amsterdam. UEFA.com profiles the man who made his 32nd appearance, a competition record, in the Eagles' 1-0 semi-final first-leg loss at Fenerbahçe SK.
Having arrived in Spain in January 2010 from CA Lanús in his native Argentina, the attacking midfielder played eight times in continental competition in his first half-season in Europe, culminating in a substitute outing in the inaugural UEFA Europa League final as Atlético beat Fulham FC 2-1 after extra time in Hamburg.
In August 2010 Salvio was then loaned to Benfica, joining compatriots Pablo Aimar, Javier Saviola, Franco Jara and Nicolás Gaitán in Lisbon, and soon became a key player in their journey to the semi-finals. After the first leg of the all-Portuguese tie against SC Braga – which his team would lose on away goals – Salvio told UEFA.com: "I know I can be in the Europa League final for the second year running, but I am still young and will have time to win more trophies."
And he was right. After his excellent campaign at the Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica, in which he scored four times in 19 top-flight matches, Salvio returned to the Spanish capital. Of his eight goals in the ensuing 2011/12 season, five came in the UEFA Europa League, including three in Atlético's 6-1 aggregate defeat of Beşiktaş JK in the round of 16. As had been the case two years earlier, though, Salvio started the final on the bench, coming on for the last three minutes of the Rojiblancos' 3-0 Bucharest victory over Liga counterparts Athletic Club.
A permanent move to Benfica was sealed in August 2012, however, Salvio declaring himself "happy and thankful" to have signed a five-year deal after the clubs agreed an undisclosed fee. It has so far proved a happy marriage. The 22-year-old has been a regular throughout – with 25 Liga and six UEFA Europa League outings – and has helped the unbeaten pacesetters top the Portuguese table.
Benfica are also through to the Portuguese Cup final where they face Vitória SC on 26 May. More European silverware might precede that date if Benfica can turn things around against Fenerbahçe on Thursday.
©UEFA.com 1998-2014. All rights reserved.