With 51 years having passed since a Eusébio-inspired SL Benfica won a second European title, Nicolás Gaitán tells UEFA.com "the time is now" for the current side to make history.
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SL Benfica's rich history is not lost on Nicolás Gaitán. From the Eagles' back-to-back European Champion Clubs' Cup wins of the early 1960s, their sole continental successes, to six subsequent final defeats, the Argentinian international is well-versed in the Lisbon team's exploits on the big stage.
On Wednesday in Amsterdam, Gaitán can help Benfica pen a new page in their annals when they take on Chelsea FC in the UEFA Europa League final. With over half a century having elapsed since a Eusébio-inspired side beat Real Madrid CF 5-3 to claim their second European crown, the former CA Boca Juniors playmaker says the time has come for this Benfica ensemble to etch their names into club legend.
"I know it has been a long time since Benfica reached a European final," he told UEFA.com. "I know they are a team with a lot of victories in the past. Now we have a chance to achieve that as well. So in terms of history, the time is now. It doesn't matter if you win two games here or three games there, it's all about how you play and what happens on the day [of the final]. You have to do well on that day and nothing else."
Gracing a showpiece such as the one at the Amsterdam ArenA will fulfil a long-held ambition for the 25-year-old, who has appeared in all eight of Benfica's UEFA Europa League matches this term and levelled the aggregate scores against Fenerbahçe SK early in the semi-final second leg.
"You've been watching this since you were a child and now it is a reality and you've made it," he said. "I am very happy, because you dream about this as a child. Now that we are here, we want to win it, and I am sure it's the same for Chelsea."
Click on the video player above to hear the full interview with Gaitán