Fernando Albino Sousa Chalana, who on February 10th turned 59, is one of the unavoidable faces of the Mystic of Sport Lisboa e Benfica. And it was precisely 42 years ago that the Little Genius made his debut with an eagle on his chest in the first team of the Club.
On March 7, 1976, Benfica was playing the round 23 of the National Championship against Farense. And it was with only 17 years and 25 days that Fernando Chalana entered the pitch, after the break, replacing the captain Toni. The Eagles won by 3-0, with goals from (2) and Nené and, until that date, no one so young had played in the Portuguese top-tier.
At Luz, in his debut, he was 45 minutes on the pitch, but very early on one realized that there was a predestined for football… And the years would back up the idea! It was a joy to see Chalana in action, an enchanted football, lethal and magic!
In that season of 1975/76, still at the age of 17, the former attacking midfielder became National Champion twice at Benfica, winning for the Senior team (the Club became two-time champions) and for the U-19 team in the same season.
They were twelve seasons wearing the Sacred Mantle distributed by two spells: the first from 1975/76 to 1983/84, the second from 1987/88 to 1989/90, after an international experience at Bordeaux.
Fernando Chalana, whose Benfica jersey he wore in the 1987/88 season (an autographed special edition) is available in the Online Store, was six times National Champion and also won three Portuguese Cups and two Super Cups.
Text: João Sanches and Sónia Antunes
Pics: SL Benfica