From Cosme Damião to Nélson Veríssimo there are 16 former players who trained the football first team of Benfica.
The concept of coach-player is less and less used in football, but it was very common in the past, with Cosme Damião as a great example. The jack-of-all-trades of Sport Lisboa e Benfica was a founder, never wanted to be a president, but was coach and player of the football team between 1908/09 and 1925/26.
Toni is the only one who comes close to Cosme Damião, as he led the football team in the 80’s, 90’s and in the beginning of XXI century, and they are the ones with the most trophies won.
Nélson Veríssimo is the 16th former player to coach Benfica, replacing Bruno Lage and will be in the position until the end of 2019/20. There will be six games (five for Liga NOS and the Portuguese Cup final), and made his debut with a 3-1 win over Boavista.
Text: Marco Rebelo
Photos: Archive / SL Benfica