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Benfica boss criticises Chelsea pursuit of

Fernandez's first game for Benfica since returning to the club after the 2022 World Cup was a 3-0 defeat by Braga
Fernandez’s first game for Benfica since returning to the club after the 2022 World Cup was a 3-0 defeat by Braga

Benfica manager Roger Schmidt has criticised Chelsea in their pursuit of Argentina midfielder Enzo Fernandez.

The Blues are in talks about signing the 21-year-old 2022 World Cup winner from the Portuguese club.

Fernandez, who joined Benfica from River Plate in August 2022, has a release clause of about £106m.

“What the club is doing who wants Enzo, it’s disrespectful against all of us, against Benfica and I cannot accept what they are doing,” said Schmidt.

“To make the player crazy, and then to pretend they can pay the clause and later they want negotiate I think is not what I understand about a good relationship between clubs who maybe want to discuss about the player.”

Fernandez played 89 minutes for Benfica in a 3-0 defeat against SC Braga following his return to Portugal after playing a key part in helping Argentina win the World Cup.

“Enzo, we don’t want to sell him, nobody wants to sell him at this club,” said Schmidt. “Everybody knows he has a clause in his contract and, of course, if the player wants to leave and somebody comes and pays the clause we cannot work against that and so then maybe we will lose the player.

“There’s a club who want our player, they know we don’t want to sell the player, they tried to get the player on their side and they know that they only can get this player when they pay the clause so it’s a very clear situation.”

He added: “First of all Enzo is a very good boy and a fantastic football player. We like him a lot and, of course, we want that he stays at Benfica.

“Of course, the situation for him is not so easy because he played the World Cup, he became world champion, he got offers, and there’s a lot of money on the table.

“In this situation as a young player you think about that, [it can] confuse you a little bit. I think that everybody can understand but, nevertheless, he’s a very good boy.

“He was not there last week, he had no permission to go to Argentina. He missed the training so that is not acceptable [and] that’s why it will have consequences.”

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