Benfica look to Brazil for new faces

SL Benfica began their pre-season preparations by presenting five summer signings to their fans.

SL Benfica presented their summer signings to 30,000 fans at the Luz stadium last night as their preparations for the new season began in earnest.

Four Brazilians
Jesualdo Ferreira's side travelled to Nyon in Switzerland today to continue their pre-season training programme which started on Monday. Ferreira has strengthened his squad with the purchase of four Brazilians, including George Ribeiro, the younger brother of Sporting Clube de Portugal striker Mario Jardel, together with Portuguese midfield player Emílio Peixe.

Jardel's brother
The 23-year-old Ribeiro, who has arrived for an undisclosed fee, is an attacking midfield player who should complement Peixe, a defensive midfield player acquired on a free transfer and a four-year contract from FC Alverca. Peixe was the star of Portugal's 1991 FIFA World Youth Championship win.

Low-cost acquisitions
Given Benfica's shortage of finances, Ferreira has spent the summer looking for low-cost acquisitions. Brazilian forward Anderson also comes on a free from Alverca while Eder, a 21-year-old Brazilian right-back, has arrived on loan for one season from Central Inhumense. Brazilian left-back Cristiano arrives from SC Beira Mar in an exchange deal for defenders Toni and Diogo Luís.

Fehér the main target
However, the deal that could prove most significant for Benfica is the proposed signing of Hungarian international striker Miklós Fehér from FC Porto. Ferreira hopes to conclude his free transfer by 1 August although the Lisbon club are waiting to see whether they would have to pay a compensation fee to Porto for the player.

No to Europe
The new 1. Liga season begins in mid-August and Benfica will be aiming to improve on last season's fourth-placed finish - the second year running they finished outside the European places.