HomeEuropa LeagueSven-Goran Eriksson: Ex-England manager to watch Europa League match at former club...

Sven-Goran Eriksson: Ex-England manager to watch Europa League match at former club Benfica


Sven-Goran Eriksson’s memories will be stirred when he visits former club Benfica to watch their Uefa Europa League quarter-final first leg at home to Marseille on Thursday, current manager Roger Schmidt has said.

Former England manager Eriksson, who said he had been given a diagnosis of “at best” a year to live when he announced he has pancreatic cancer in January, holds legendary status at the Portuguese club, where he won a domestic double and reached the final of the Uefa Cup – now the Europa League – in his maiden season in charge in 1982/83, when he was 34.

In his first role outside of his native Sweden, where he won the Uefa Cup with Goteborg in 1982, Eriksson won the top flight again in 1983/84 and was admired for introducing a transformative attacking style of play.

The future Manchester City head coach left Benfica in 1984 and had spells with Roma and Fiorentina before returning for three years from 1989, guiding them to the 1990 European Cup final and another Primeira Divisao title in 1991.

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Benfica beat Marseille on away goals in the semi-finals of the 1989/90 European Cup, and some of Eriksson’s players from that season will gather in a hotel and walk to the stadium before Thursday’s game, according to Abola.

The outlet says Benfica have asked Uefa for permission to allow Eriksson on the pitch at half-time at Lisbon’s Estadio da Luz.

“I’ve never met him but everything I’ve heard about him has been positive – a top, top coach with a big personality,” said Schmidt.

“He is in a very difficult situation. He will, of course, have his memories when he comes to the stadium tomorrow. I hope he can enjoy it.”

Benfica v Marseille: Eriksson to attend

Eriksson realised a lifelong dream when he was part of the coaching staff for a Liverpool legends team against their Ajax counterparts in a charity match at Anfield in March.

The 76-year-old met current Reds manager Jurgen Klopp before the game and revealed in the build-up that he once came close to agreeing to take over at Anfield.

The Three Lions reached the quarter-finals of successive major tournaments under Eriksson between 2001 and 2006, and he went on to manage Mexico, Ivory Coast and the Philippines at international level in between a globe-crossing club career.

Benfica have reached European finals on two occasions since Eriksson’s second reign, losing successive editions in the Europa League in 2013 and 2014.

The Eagles are on a two-match winless run and lost to a 91st-minute winner at Sporting on Saturday, moving their opponents four points above them at the top of the Liga.

Ben Miller
Ben Miller
Ben has more than 10 years' experience in sports journalism, covering two EURO tournaments, European club competitions, the Premier League, EFL and WSL and a variety of other major sporting events.


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