Celebrations throughout Portugal
Portuguese football fans throughout the country have been celebrating Benfica’s return to national league glory last night.
Street parties were held in all main towns and cities, with revellers in the signature red ‘Benfica’ colours, waving scarves and jumping up and down in delight into the wee small hours.
This was the team’s 38th league title, but the first since 2019 – and as such a ‘major victory’ for so many fervent supporters who have found it incredibly difficult coping with years of disappointment.
Last night’s news bulletins were almost 100% Benfica, all the way through. It was as if any other news besides national football was irrelevant.
Coach Roger Schmidt has been hailed as much a champion as the players. He told the press conference after the game, and just before he was soaked on air with ice-cold water (an apparent tradition): “It was a long struggle through the season. We needed the last game, and we managed to pull it off”.
The championship played out in front of a packed stadium in Lisbon, against Santa Clara (a team from the Azores)- and once it was over thousands converged on Marquês de Pombal where the party went into Sunday morning.
“A sea of red”, but the ‘best type’, with sports writers praising everything, from Schmidt’s strategy to the players’ performances.
Celebrations even extended to Brazil/ France – everywhere where Portuguese emigrés have settled en-masse.