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Wednesday, 24 April 2013 08:55

Nemanja Matic – Benfica’s new golden boy

A look at the latest talent to “explode” in Portugal

matic-20130424.jpgNemanja Matic is being widely hailed as the Player of the Season in Portugal. PortuGOAL charts the career and the sudden ascension of the Serbian midfielder.
It is not uncommon for young players to move to huge clubs. The money and fame that goes with it is hard to turn down whether you are 31 or if you are 21 like Matic was when he made the move to Chelsea from MFK Kosice. However, another common trait followed Matic; a lack of game time for a young player at a big club.
After signing for Chelsea in 2009, Matic went on to make just two senior appearances for the club before a very successful loan spell at Dutch side, Vitesse. During his loan spell in Holland a deal was agreed for Matic to move to Benfica as part of the transfer which saw David Luiz move to Chelsea.

Javi Garcia quickly forgotten

The main story may have been the transfer of Luiz to London, but after two seasons in Lisbon all eyes are now on Matic. Since the sale of combative Spanish midfielder Javi Garcia to Manchester City on deadline day last August, Benfica fans have seen the rise to prominence of the Serbian. So much so that the Spaniard – himself something of a fans’ favourite – is not in the least missed. At 6ft 4in many would consider Matic a giant and in turn he has put in gigantic displays for the Lisbon club, being rewarded with a new contract which has a release clause of €45 million.
It is not surprising the Eagles have tried to tie down the talented lynchpin. Whilst Matic possesses the strengths of power and aerial ability (which might be expected of the player considering his size) he is also very talented with the ball at his feet, with an uncanny ability to turn defence into attack with a well-timed interception followed by a swift and incisive pass. This helps explain why has been able to fit in so well with Benfica’s fluid style.
The speed with which his contract was improved makes it clear what the Portuguese League leaders think of the former Chelsea man who could go on to haunt his old club as both Benfica and Chelsea have been made favourites to get to the Europa League final.
The problem is that they are not the only club to be aware of the Serbian’s talents, with the newly crowned Premier League champions, Manchester United, among others, reportedly interested in bringing Matic back to England. A long list of players who have come to prominence in Portugal over recent years have gone on to shine brightly at some of the world’s biggest clubs: Deco, Ricardo Carvalho, Angel Di Maria, Pepe, to name just a few. There is no doubt that Matic will join that list. The question is when.  

Happy at Benfica

For the time being, the new golden boy of the Benfica faithful appears in no rush to move on. “I think I’ve evolved a lot at Benfica and with this coach, but I believe I can improve. I’m doing well at the moment but I still have a lot to learn. Will I continue here? I’m only thinking of Benfica, and of course I’m happy to be at the biggest Portuguese club. We enter every competition to win it, and that’s why I’m happy here,” Matic told journalists after helping the Eagles complete their Europa League victory over Newcastle.
Should Benfica wrap up the Liga, defeat Vitória de Guimarães in the Portuguese Cup final and perhaps conquer Matic’s old side, Chelsea, to complete the treble with the Europa League, would he want to leave so soon? Especially with the 2014 Champions League final to be staged at... Benfica’s Estádio da Luz.
by David Thomas

Comments (8)
8 Wednesday, 15 January 2014 21:20
Blue Sniper
Wishing Matic all the best
Player of the Year.....?
7 Saturday, 27 April 2013 12:29
Pretty sure either Moutinho or Jackson will win Player of the Year, if we're talking best player in the league, then it's Moutinho, hands down.
Rewind to last year
6 Thursday, 25 April 2013 06:38
Orlando Mac
While Benfica was coughing up a 4 point lead in the Liga...

NJ & I talked about Matic and his ability rusting away on the bench.

Javi was untouchable.

NJ & I are not shocked by his excellence even tho really he is a box to box, but even then he has made the DM his own because of his excellence in coverage and the amount of distance he covers.

Like NJ has said Mal is useless and the greatness of this squad is that Garay & Matic cover so much territory that we can play with 10 men on a regular basis without it affecting us.

Matic is the main reason for that, clearly the best player in the Liga, with so many wonder goals.. including the strike against Porto.

The only player that compares with him is Cardozo.. who with the ball at his feet has crushed many on the path to the treble.
He's been superb
5 Wednesday, 24 April 2013 20:04
He really has! He has made everyone swiftly forget all about Javi Garcia, and in all honesty is better than Javi in just about every single aspect. I really liked Garcia's commitment and energy and you could see he loved the club, but he was not great at protecting the defence from dangerous counters, and as such we could hardly ever buy a clean sheet in the big matches for the last few seasons.

With Matic, that's all changed. Not only does he protect the defence so well, as others have pointed out he also switches defence to attack with real class, and is very good on the ball too. I think him and Lima have made all the difference for us this year (as well as big improved seasons from Artur and Garay). Player of the year in Portugal has been a toss up between Matic and Lima imo!
Matic vs big teams
4 Wednesday, 24 April 2013 13:26
SLB - Sweden
I have to disagree with you. I thin Matic was the best player vs Porto earlier this year. And he was also Benficas best player home vs barca and now last game vs sporting.
So in the 3 biggest game of the season he has been on fire!
But I agree with you about Moutinho, he is probably the best player in the Liga sagres.

Anyway Im new here and I am a Benficafan from Sweden.
My thoughts
3 Wednesday, 24 April 2013 12:21
I think that everyone knows how much I've liked Matic, since I've been praising him from the moment he arrived. I'm not sure many Benfiquistas, never mind Portuguese, realized how well rated he was. Barca, Arsenal and Bayern were just a few of the clubs that had inquired about him. Also keep in mind that I am a Garcia fan. I thought he always brought a necessary toughness to our squad.
I think that what has impressed me about Matic's game is how well he reads a game. He's got tremendous vision, and the on the ball skills to maximize his effectiveness. He knows where teammates are supposed to be and knows their tendency's in order to put them at an advantage.
Last campaign during a European match he took hold of the ball and took it all the into the corner to kill off a match. He could have gone for goal or crossed it, but was smart enough to realize the situation. Granted this season he did the exact opposite verse Newcastle and crossed the ball.
Please keep in mind that he plays for a team that constantly has to rotate to cover for Ugh. Matic either has to slide out wide or back when Garay covers for Ugh. A tiresome proposition.

The Luiz transfer was very lucrative in many ways. We got top dollar for a player that clearly wanted to leave. We brought in a DM that is arguably better than Luiz as a true DM. And we got back a potential star that will enrich the coffers.

As for his future, it's always a wait and see. It will be hard to turn down a large transfer offer and he'll be hard pressed to turn down higher wages.
I will relish in enjoying his play now. Hopefully he'll be able to help us earn some much needed silverware.

On a side note;
Chelsea has dropped the ball on several youngsters. It will be interesting to see what they do this upcoming off season. They have a few nice pieces out on loan, Lukaku being one, in which they'll have decisions to make.

Moutinho? Really? I admit in being a Moutinho basher, and that has a lot to do with him being from the Maca Podres. But putting that aside, Moutinho seems to be lacking something. Yes, he's a tireless worker with a great mind for the game. He gets all the things done that don't always show up in a scorecard. But I've seen him disappear much to often at the world class level. He really shines brightly if the players around him are excelling, but he doesn't always instill his will on a game. I know, I'm harsher than most.
Comparing the two at this time is silly. Despite what I've said above, Mourinho is the better player right now. Matic may never even reach Moutinho's caliber. But the potential to exceed it, is definitely there.
matic nemanja
2 Wednesday, 24 April 2013 10:17
vienam , haiphong
chelseafc make alot of mistakes of selling players build a team for the future not immediate, now they are planing of kevin d bruyn tomorrow the boy will be one of the hotest i am sorry of cfc management the are absolutly blind so i don't blame them,davila ulise,nd others they are decieving themself a about cothois gk one day cfc will regret sturidge score a goal nd make equaliser pass to luis suarage cfc have very bad management.
Player of the year
1 Wednesday, 24 April 2013 10:06
I can understand Matic being the player of the year as he has been a revelation and very good in a midfield that imo is lacking something against bigger teams, but Moutinho operates at another level and there's honestly no doubt that he's the best player in Portugal.

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