Rafa extended his contract with Sport Lisboa e Benfica until 2024. With 17 goals scored in the 2018/19 Liga NOS, he was the third best goal scorer of the competition.
When he is asked if he considers 2018/19 to be the best season in individual terms, the attacker points out to the collective and to the fact his goals helped the team win the 37.
" I've been asked that question several times. I don't say that this is the best or the worst, I don't analyze it that way. Every season is different, I'm not worried about the season that's gone by, I'm just thinking about the next one. I like being at Benfica, I've always been welcomed in this Club, I'm close to my family, which is something important for me. The Club's project was the reason I always wanted to maintain this association", he claimed to BTV, after penning the new contract.
Rafa's end of the season - and three other benfiquistas- was under the sign of the conquest. After the National Championship with Benfica, he won the Nations League with Portugal.
"It was good because we work to win trophies, either for Benfica or the National Team. I work to help the team, also for my own good, but always thinking about the team", he admitted.
Rafa's Benfica debut took place in Arouca on September 9, 2016. He was a starter, but he was replaced by Carrillo at 62’ due to injury. That was how, in the start of the 2016/17 season, Rafa became one of Benfica's major new signings. In 100 matches with Benfica's jersey, he has carried out more than 6200 minutes, having scored 26 goals (22 in the Portuguese League, 2 in the Portuguese Cup and 2 in the League Cup) in official competitions.
The first goal
January 22, 2017. In his 14th match with Benfica's jersey, the Portuguese international scored his first goal for the reds. He did it so against Tondela, the bottom team of the Liga NOS at the time, scoring the third goal from the eagles (4-0).
In three seasons playing for Benfica (2016/17, 2017/18 and 2018/19), Rafa – third best scorer in the last Liga NOS, in a list topped by Seferovic – has already lifted four trophies: 2 National Championships (2016/17 and 2018/19), 1 Portuguese Cup (2016/17) and 1 Super Cup (2017).
RAFA AT BENFICA
|2016/17||31||2||National Title, Portuguese Cup and Super Cup|
Text: Filipa Fernandes Garcia and Marco Rebelo
Pics: João Paulo Trindade / SL Benfica and Archive