Luís Filipe Vieira completes, this Wednesday, 15 years as Benfica’s leader. Elected with 90,4% of the votes, he became, on October 31st, 2003, the 33rd president of the Club’s History.
1. Construction of Estádio da Luz
On October 25th, 2003, the new Cathedral was born! With a full capacity of 65 647 spectators, the Estádio da Luz is the biggest Portuguese Stadium. It was built in a record time, under the principles of the most innovative techniques, which granted it the statute of a 5-star stadium for UEFA (Elite Category).
2. Members at the core of strategy
The creation of the innovative project Kit Sócio (Member Kit) is one of Luís Filipe Vieira’s presentation cards during the 15 years. The ambition and vision of the president allowed Benfica to reach, in 2006, the significant number of 160 thousand Members, becoming the World’s Club with more members, according to the Guiness Book of Records, leaving other clubs such as Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Manchester United behind.
3. Miki Fehér's death
January 25th, 2004, one of the saddest days in Luís Filipe Vieira’s life as Benfica’s president and one of the most tragic in the Club’s History.
4. The success in football
- THE RETURN TO TITLES: THE PORTUGUESE CUP. With was already under the command of Luís Filipe Vieira that Benfica interrupted its worst period in the football history. Became president in 2003 – he was a sports director between 2000 and 2003 – and won his first title in 2003/04, at Jamor. On May 16th, Benfica beat FC Porto (1-2) at Estádio Nacional and conquered the Portuguese Cup.
- The 31st NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP. On the following season, in 2004/05, with the Italian Trapattoni as head coach, Benfica celebrated its 31st title after 11 years of fast.
- THE 32nd NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP AND THE BIGGEST ATTENDANCE AT LUZ. The victories in the championship only came back in 2009/10. On May 9th, 2010, in front of 65 467 spectators, Benfica hosted and beat Rio Ave and put both hands of the 32nd title.
- THE TWO FINALS OF EUROPA LEAGUE. The 2012/13 and 2013/14 seasons mark the giant’s return to European finals, after Vienna, in 1990, against Milan.
- The "TRIPLETE". In 2013/14, Benfica won the unprecedented “Triplete”, being the only club in Portugal to win the Championship, the Portuguese Cup and the League Cup in the same season.
- THE “BICAMPEONATO” (second title in a row). On the following season, Benfica consolidated its hegemony. At the end of 2014/15 it was achieved the second title in a row, after an absence of 31 years.
- THE “TRICAMPEONATO” (third title in a row). With a new coach, Rui Vitória, Benfica remained on the way. In 2015/16 another successful page was written in the centenary Club’s History.
- THE TETRACAMPEONATO (fourth title in a row). In 2016/17, another award to Luís Filipe Vieira, and a unique achievement in the Club’s History: the football team conquered the fourth title in a row and the 36th of history.
5. Caixa Futebol Campus
On September 22, 2006, the Benfica’s future has begun. The Academy in Seixal became a reality and turned the Benfica’s training into one of the most known in Europe.
6. Casas do Benfica – “The armed wing”
The Casas do Benfica (fan clubs) present in National territory or even overseas are the symbol of the “benfiquismo” around the world.
The current BTV was born as Benfica TV on December 10th, 2008, and as an ambitious project. Nevertheless, the first broadcast even occurred before, on October 2nd, with the match Benfica-Napoli (2-0), in the second leg of the da UEFA CUP first round.
8. Fundação Benfica (Foundation)
Created on January 27th, 2009, the Fundação Benfica is one of the most important Club’s pillars. With several projects of social, educational, environmental and health nature, this social solidarity institution is targeted, mainly, at children in adverse social contexts.
9. Restoration and projection of Benfica's History
- RESERVE, CONSERVTION AND RESTORATION. Inaugurated in November (2010), the “Centro de Conservação e Restauro” was awarded in 2011 by “Associação Portuguesa de Museologia” with the award “Best Conservation and Restoration Intervention”.
- CENTER OF DOCUMENTATION AND INFORMATION. At the same time, with the presence of Luís Filipe Vieira, the club also launched the CDI, department which has the mission to preserve, manage and provide the Eagles’ documental archive.
- MUSEU BENFICA - COSME DAMIÃO (museum). One of Luís Filipe Vieira’s great goals was always to build a museum to preserve the Club’s History, something that would be a pride for all Benfiquistas and for those who love sports in general.
10. The death of Eusébio
January 5th, 2014 is, eventually, the saddest moment of the Club’s 114 years of History. During Sunday’s dawn, Portugal woke up with the news of Eusébio da Silva Ferreira’s death, unique personality of the Club and of the Portuguese and Worldwide Football, due to a heart attack.
11.The bet in the Youth Training
Since 2015/16, Luís Filipe Vieira pointed at a new paradigm at Sport Lisboa e Benfica. Since then, the bet would lie on players Made in Caixa Futebol Campus.
Historically, the Benfica’s is linked to eclecticism, promoting sports as a whole. Symptomatic, the symbol has a bicycle wheel – reference that was born in 1908 when Sport Lisboa got merged with Grupo Sport Benfica.
- OLYMPIC BENFICA. The project was born in 2008 with the Olympic Games of Beijing.
13. Brand’s internationalization
With supporters all over the world, Benfica cannot be confined to the national territory. Always at the forefront and with an open window, the Club signed, on May 19th, 2015, a sponsorship 3-year long agreement with Emirates.
With Luís Filipe Vieira, Sport Lisboa e Benfica was no longer a simple sporting club and became a huge business group, with the best professionals at each area and with top results.
15. Fight for the truth in sports
As soon as he became Benfica’s president, Luís Filipe Vieira shook the Portuguese football. The case “Apito Dourado” (golden whistle) broke and this turned out to be a struggle led by him. Since then, the Portuguese football would not be the same anymore.
Text: Marco Rebelo
Pics: Archive / SL Benfica