Benfica's 10 biggest sales of all time

Suraj Radia
Suraj Radia
  • Updated: 23 Feb 2024 15:10 GMT
  • 6 min read
Enzo Fernandez, Benfica, 2022/23
© ProShots

Benfica have built a legacy as the most successful club in Portugal as well as being a home for young talent to establish themselves in Europe.

Enzo Fernandez is the latest star to explode at Benfica before being sold for a massive fee abroad, following his €121 million move to Chelsea in January 2023.

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He is not the only example of this happening, however, with Benfica regularly bringing in huge profits on talented youngsters, with midfielder Joao Neves speculated to be next in line for a big money move.

Below, FootballTransfers takes a look at the 10 biggest sales Benfica have made.

10. Victor Lindelof - €35m (to Man Utd, 2017)

Victor Lindelof was one of the most highly-rated defenders in Europe during his time at Benfica, which prompted Manchester United to pay €35m to sign him in 2017.

The Swede joined Benfica as an 18-year-old and initially played in the 'B' team before making before establishing himself in the senior setup in 2015.

After winning seven trophies during his time in Portugal, Lindelof moved to England, but his time at United hasn't been as smooth-sailing.

9. Renato Sanches - €35m (to Bayern Munich, 2016)

Could Renato Sanches replace Gini Wijnaldum at Liverpool?
© ProShots

Renato Sanches was the most sought-after teenager in world football when he joined Bayern Munich in a deal that could have risen as high as €80m in 2016. However, the eventual fee was only €35m as several add-on clauses were not activated.

The midfielder had only played one full season in Benfica's first team, but he scored twice in 24 games during that campaign and was named the Young Player of the Tournament as Portugal won Euro 2016.

Sanches struggled during his time at Bayern, however, making 35 appearances in three years as well as spending a year on loan at Swansea, before becoming Lille's most expensive signing in 2019 at €25m.

A move to Paris Saint-Germain came in 2022 before a loan to Roma, with Sanches still finding fitness and form in Serie A.

8. Nelson Semedo - €35.7m (to Barcelona, 2017)

Nelson Semedo initially joined Benfica's 'B' team as a 19-year-old in 2012 before breaking into the senior side at right-back in 2015.

After winning the league in both his years with the first team, Semedo was signed by Barcelona for €35.7m in 2017 and helped the Spanish side to two La Liga titles in three years.

However, his most memorable Barcelona moment was when he was spun by Alphonso Davies during Bayern's 8-2 Champions League win at Camp Nou in 2020.

The Portuguese defender went on to join Wolves for €32m the summer after that game.

7. Raul Jimenez - €38m (to Wolves, 2019)

Raul Jimenez, Wolves, 2021-22
© ProShots

Mexican striker Raul Jimenez was Benfica's most expensive signing when he joined from Atletico Madrid in 2015.

The target man spent three years at the club, but failed to reach his potential, only scoring 18 goals in 80 games before joining Wolves on loan in 2018.

After a successful loan spell at Molineux, in which he scored 13 Premier League goals, the English side made the move permanent for €38m. He then joined Fulham on a permanent deal in 2023.

6. Ederson - €40m (to Man City, 2017)

Ederson, Man City
© ProShots

Manchester City signed Ederson from Benfica in 2017 for €40m, which made him the second-most expensive goalkeeper ever at the time.

The Brazilian had led Benfica to the league title in both his seasons at the club and was named Portugal's Goalkeeper of the Year during his first campaign in Lisbon.

He won five Premier League titles in his first six seasons at City and helped Pep Guardiola's side to Champions League glory in 2023. Ederson is regarded as one of the best ball-playing goalkeepers in the world.

5. Axel Witsel - €40m (to Zenit, 2012)

Axel Witsel had only been at Benfica for one year before Zenit St Petersburg activated his €40m release clause to bring him to Russia.

The Belgian international had joined Benfica from Standard Liege for €10m in 2011 and he made 32 league appearances in his year at the club, scoring once.

Witsel spent five years at Zenit and had a spell in China before joining Borussia Dortmund for €20m in 2018 and Atletico Madrid in 2022.

He was Benfica's most expensive departure for seven years before his transfer fee was eclipsed in 2019.

4. Ruben Dias - €71.6m (to Man City, 2020)

Ruben Dias
© ProShots

Ruben Dias established himself as one of the best defenders in Europe during his time at Benfica and he has only enhanced that reputation at Man City.

Dias was at the heart of Benfica's defence for three seasons, winning the league once, before he joined the English side in 2020 for €71.6m.

The Portuguese international was named as City's Player of the Year in his first season and helped Pep Guardiola's side to a memorable treble in 2023.

3. Darwin Nunez - €85m (to Liverpool, 2022)

Darwin Nunez, Benfica, 2021/22
© ProShots

Darwin Nunez's departure to Liverpool in the summer of 2022 represented the second biggest sale in Benfica's history at the time.

The Uruguayan was prolific in the 2021-22 season, scoring 34 goals in 41 games - including twice in the Champions League quarter finals against Jurgen Klopp's side, which prompted the Reds to sign him.

Nunez had arrived from Almeria in 2020 as Benfica's record signing at €24m, and although he failed to win the league title during his two seasons in Portugal, his move was a success given the profit they were able to turn on him.

2. Enzo Fernandez - €121m (to Chelsea, 2023)

Benfica continued their incredible business in the 2022-23 season by following up the sale of Nunez to Liverpool by selling Enzo Fernandez to Chelsea in January 2023.

The Portuguese club had only signed Enzo six months earlier from River Plate for a fee that has risen to €44.3m, due to a sell-on clause, so this represented an incredible profit.

Enzo impressed during his six months at Benfica and also shone at the World Cup, winning the Young Player of the Tournament award as Argentina lifted the trophy.

But, €121m for the central midfielder represented brilliant business again by Benfica and it somehow wasn't the biggest fee they'd earned for a player either.

1. Joao Felix - €127.2m (to Atletico Madrid, 2019)

Joao Felix, Atletico Madrid, Primera Division
© ProShots

The sale of Joao Felix to Atletico Madrid in 2019 is not only the biggest fee ever received by Benfica but also the fourth highest sum ever paid for a player by any club.

The Portuguese wonderkid had only played one season in Benfica's first team - scoring 15 times in 26 games - before Atletico agreed a deal worth €127.2m to bring him to Spain, the second-highest fee ever for a teenager, behind Kylian Mbappe.

Felix won La Liga in his second season with Atletico, but never truly found a place under Diego Simeone. He moved to Chelsea on loan in January 2023 before joining Barcelona on another loan deal for the 2023-24 season.

The 10 biggest Benfica sales of all time

1. Joao FelixAtletico Madrid€127.2m2019
2. Enzo FernandezChelsea€121m2023
3. Darwin NunezLiverpool€85m2022
4. Ruben DiasMan City€71.6m2020
5. Axel WitselZenit€40m2012
= EdersonMan City€40m2017
7. Raul JimenezWolves€38m2019
8. Nelson SemedoBarcelona€35.7m2017
9. Renato SanchesBayern Munich€35m2016
= Victor LindelofMan Utd€35m2017

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