Letters to Santa

O texto que se segue e' da autoria de Sergio Rodrigues

With a golden decade coming to a close, I wanted to look back on the decades that were for me as a Benfiquista. I’ve been around for about 4 decades, experienced every high and low possible supporting this club. I was 8 years old at the end of 1989, somewhat a believer in Santa but my Benfiquismo was starting to shift into second gear. What if my 8 year old self wrote a letter to Santa at end of each decade - 1989, 1999, 2009, and 2019 - about Benfica? What would it sound like? What would I be wishing for the next decade to come? Undoubtedly, each one would probably be very different so here’s four distinct letters from decades that would shape this club for better and for worse.

*** The 80s: The Renaissance before the Storm***

December 1989

Dear Santa,

I am an 8 year old boy from Canada and crazy about Benfica. This past decade has been

awesome! 5 out of 10 national titles and 14 domestic titles out of 30 which is a fan’s dream come true! In Europe, we featured in a Cup Winners Cup semi final, a UEFA Cup final appearance against Anderlecht (which we narrowly lost over two legs), and a European Cup final against PSV in 1988, only to lose on 6-5 penalties. We truly are one of the biggest and best clubs in Europe! And we’ve got a stadium unlike others, the biggest in Europe with room for over 110,000 Benfiquistas after we expanded it in 1985! Red Star Belgrade, Liverpool, Anderlecht, Steaua Bucuresti, Sampdoria, and Roma all came to know first hand what the Inferno da Luz was all about. To watch great players like Nene, Sheu, Chalana, Diamantino and the greatest keeper of them all Bento, what more could a little boy ask? We were even a magnet for top foreign talent like Mozer, Ricardo Gomes, Aldair, Valdo, and Mats Magnusson! In the 90s, I want Benfica to win it all, conquer Europe with the best players around!

***The 90s: Vietnam***

December 1999

Dear Santa,

I am an 8 year old boy from Canada, crazy about Benfica but saddened by what I see. My dad told me about the years O Glorioso conquered Europe, a club feared by the rest of Europe right up to

the 80s. The decade started off great. We went all the way to the European Cup final, only losing to a legendary AC Milan in the final by the smallest of margins. In the league, the 90s started off ok, with 2 titles by 1994, with that famous 6-3 win at the Alvalade. We also had some great players too with Rui Costa, Michel Preud’Homme and o Menino de Ouro Joao Vieira Pinto! But something wasn’t right and it started with o 'Verão Quente' in 1993 and exploded soon after. This team is now a shell of what it was. Porto has won the last 5 championship and we’re a laughing stock of Europe. Just last month, we suffered a humiliating 7-0 lost to Celta de Vigo! 7-0!! The biggest clubs of Europe use to fear us, now we’re losing to the likes of Vigo, Bastia, and HJK Helsinki! Why Santa?? And where Rui Costa? Joao Vale e Azevedo promised him in the last election yet nothing. This club is going broke Santa, we can’t even pay our bills! In the new millennium, I want to win again! I want a new president! I want to play best of Europe, to recruit the top players, to feel the Inferno of the Luz again!