French winger Laurent Robert has swapped an English Premiership survival fight with Portsmouth FC for UEFA Champions League football with SL Benfica.
French winger Laurent Robert has swapped a Premiership survival fight at Portsmouth FC for UEFA Champions League football with SL Benfica.
Robert arrived in English football from Paris Saint-Germain FC early in the 2001/02 season, joining Newcastle United FC for €15m. After falling out of favour in the north-east, he was signed by Portsmouth on loan in the summer and went on to make 17 appearances without ever seeming to settle on the south coast.
Robert has agreed a contract that will keep him at the Estádio da Luz until summer 2009, and was "very happy to have joined a great club like Benfica and have the opportunity to play in the UEFA Champions League."
World Cup dream
The former Montpellier-Hérault SC player has not given up hope of adding to his nine French caps, even though the last one came in June 2001. He said: "The [FIFA] World Cup might seem a long way off for a player like me, but I still think I could do a job for my country and I'd love another chance to prove it."
Benfica have also signed goalkeeper Moretto and winger Marco Ferreira since transfer window opened. The Portuguese title-winners will meet the holders Liverpool FC in the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League in matches due to take place on 21 February and 8 March.