The adidas store on 5th Avenue, in New York – the largest adidas store in the world–, was too small to house so much benfiquismo taken by the hundreds of supporters who were present at the special meet & greet with Svilar, Jardel, Ferro, Conti, Grimaldo, João Ferreira, Florentino, Tiago Dantas, Pizzi, Chiquinho, and Jota.
The bus with the footballers and the remaining delegation of the eagles arrived around 11:30 am and right there, the first emotional reactions and chants of the club.
EMOTIONS RUNNING HIGH: Supporters Bruno Lage for the 38
Before the players, the legend Rui Costa and Luisão and the coach, Bruno Lage, attracted all the attention of the benfiquista universe. The coach was one of the most requested during this event in the United States of America, with words of thanks, especially for winning the 37th National Championship title.
One by one, entered in the store and went up to floor 3 of the adidas store, the place where the get-together with the first 100 fans who between July 17 and 21 acquired 50 dollars in merchandising of the Club took place.
"To feel this warmth from the fans shows Benfica's greatness"
"It's a very special moment for all those who are here, it's a very big affection. To be able to feel this warmth from the fans in the United States is a very great joy, it just shows the greatness of our Benfica", he claimed.
About the pre-season, the number 33 revealed how the integration of the new faces in the squad is going.
JARDEL: "The words that the fans told me were very special"
"We try to help the new players as much as possible, make them understand how big Benfica is and try to get them to adapt as quickly as possible. That's been happening. We've been talking a lot and I think they're integrating very well into the group and at Benfica", stressed Jardel.
"We want to get to the Super Cup at our best"
"It is always important to be close to our fans, so far from Portugal. This get-together is very important, there is an opportunity for autographs and to take pictures. There are several "transmontanos" here, people who miss Portugal and Benfica.", stressed the midfielder.
After the Mexicans come the International Champions Cup matches against Fiorentina and Milan, and the Super Cup against Sporting.
"Our preparation is the most important thing at this stage. We're approaching the first game of the season, which is the Super Cup, and we want to be at our best", he highlighted.
"At Benfica, we enter every match thinking on the win, whether friendly or official. It is always important to win, it was a good victory against a good team [Chivas]. It was very important for us, it allowed the boss to draw a lot of conclusions about the players who arrived and the younger ones. We have to prepare ourselves well, work hard to reach the Super Cup at a high level", completed Pizzi.
PIZZI: "Number 10 jersey? I thank Jonas, but I'll continue with the 21"
Ever since he arrived at Luz that Pizzi is the number 21. Jonas, who recently finished his career and was wearing the symbolic number 10, pointed out the Portuguese as a worthy successor.
"I'll keep the 21. I appreciate the words of Jonas, I'm very pleased to receive them from a star like Jonas, a star as a player and as a person, but I'll continue with the 21, because it is a number that gave me a lot of luck at Benfica so far. The 10 is for the magicians, and Jonas is the magician", he guaranteed.
"Benfica is a club beyond national boundaries, scattered around the world"
Florentino spoke to the Media...
"It's great to see a lot of Benfica fans here, to be able to interact with them here, because they are people who are on the other side of the world and can rarely see us in person. It's good to be able to share a moment like this with them. It doesn't look like we're out of Portugal, which just goes to show Benfica's greatness, is a club beyond national boundaries, scattered around the world", he stressed.
Text: Marco Rebelo
Pics: João Paulo Trindade / SL Benfica