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Wednesday, 27 May 2015 18:51

The Benfica 'curse'

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It's nearing the end of the Premier League PEN season 6 & everybody is remembering The “Bela Guttman curse”, and how it could affect Larcos' team in his final 4 games of the season. Béla Guttmann was a Jewish Hungarian footballer and coach. He is perhaps best remembered as a coach and manager of some the world's leading football teams, including AC Milan, São Paulo FC, FC Porto, Benfica and C.A. Peñarol. His greatest success came with Benfica when he guided them to two successive European Cup wins in 1961 and in 1962.

The curse of Béla Guttmann

After the 1962 European Cup Final, Guttmann approached the Benfica board of directors and asked for a pay rise. However despite the success he had brought the club, he was turned down. On leaving Benfica, Guttman allegedly cursed the club, declaring "Not in a hundred years from now will Benfica ever be European champion's". Benfica have gone on to lose all eight of their subsequent European finals, including five European Cup finals (1963,1965, 1968, 1988 and 1990), and three UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League finals (1983, 2013 and 2014). Before the 1990 final, which was played in Vienna, where Guttmann was buried, Eusébio even prayed at his grave and asked for the curse to be broken.

We asked Benfic'a trainer Senor Larcos if the curse was of concern to him:

“I knew this story before I arrived to the club, but I never believed anything about this myth… until this moment of the season. After 2 PEN seasons with the club, I begin to believe… Nothing is going our way, and maybe this curse is more than a bad legend…”

Béla Guttmann has recently returned to the Portuguese club – in collaboration with Hungarian Ambassador to Portugal a statue has been erected of Guttman in February for the club’s 110th birthday. It was done by a Hungarian artist, László Szatmari Juhos, and depicts the legendary coach holding his two European Cups.

That adds some additional drama to these last matches. Benfica are still in the title race but with this curse playing on their minds along with a strong title rival in Zenit... it'll take alot for this curse be broken? The only thing giving Benfica hope is the knowledge of Zenit's managers track record... he is a known to bottle it under pressure but this could be Goat"keegan"261's year. 

In any case, it promises to be a great match between both squads and regardless of the result. At the 18th gate of Benfica’s home stadium, Estádio da Luz, stands a fine statue of a great Hungarian sportsman who had a huge impact on European football... can Larcos lead his current crop of Benfica's players to break this curse? Or will the fans finish this season like every other since Guttman left the club?

In the next week we´ll know more about this odd myth…


Read 3020 times Last modified on Tuesday, 15 September 2015 13:24

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