Benfica lure Robert to Lisbon

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.

'Exciting move'
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.

'Very happy'
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."

New faces
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.

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