Benfica hopes to fly away from the Gutmann curse
There’s a curse in Lisbon known as the ‘Guttman Curse’, named after the Hungarian manager who led Benfica to back-to-back European titles in the early 60s. That was 51 years ago in Amsterdam, where the legendary quadruple consisting of Aguas, Coluna, Eusebio and Simoes, sunk Real Madrid 5-3, to place Benfica as one of the leaders of world football. And following Bela Guttman’s second trophy, he left the club.
Benfica went on to become one of the clubs that has lost the most European finals, 5 to be precise. But their last presence in a final was the 1990 European Cup Final, losing 1-0 to Arrigo Sacchi’s AC Milan - which was arguably viewed as the best team in the world at that time. Despite qualifying for their eighth European final, it was evident that Benfica were not at the level or quality that won them greatness in the 60s.
23 years later and the club is back on a stage that they used to visit much more often. Much has changed since their last visit; a new stadium, Porto rising and dominating the domestic football, overcoming their financial troubles and having a much larger South American presence amongst their squad.