Example of overcoming
The contractual bond may end, but the emotional and historical bond will last forever.
Jardel, “the warrior of the Light”, ceases to represent Benfica after 10 and a half seasons, in which he won 14 titles and trophies and was noted for his high competence, unsurpassed delivery, permanent commitment and remarkable regularity, characteristics that earned him the achievement of pulse of the ever-demanding Benfica adept mass.
He arrived at the Club in 2010/11, signed from Olhanense halfway through the season, in charge of the thorny task of replacing David Luiz, admired by the associative mass and the departure for Chelsea. He soon imposed himself, gaining ownership and beginning to demonstrate the attributes that aroused Benfica’s interest in his hiring.
After three seasons as the first resource option in his position (59 times starting), Jardel has established himself in the starting eleven, becoming a reference of the team and even making his debut in the role of captain. He was the central figure of bi and tri, indispensable on the journey towards 37.
Jardel is part of the restricted group of four-time national champions with eagle on his chest (with André Almeida, Fejsa, Luisão and Salvio) and won another Championship, in a total of 5, a feat that only 41 players have achieved in the entire history of Benfica. He also contributed to Benfica’s triumph in two Portuguese Cups, 5 League Cups and 2 Super Cups (and was part of the squad that won two more).
In the trio season, in a championship disputed inch by inch, he was the author of two decisive goals, in the 30th and 32nd rounds, which earned the team three points in each one of them. In the previous season, that of the bi-championship, he scored in Alvalade in the additional time and avoided defeat.
It was not, however, these fundamental goals for titles or the exhibitional consistency over the years that made it consensual among Benfica fans.
Rather, it was the return from the dressing room for the second part of a match, in Luz, wearing a protective cap after having needed long medical assistance in the first half. Only a few hours after the game was over, the Benfica fans had the opportunity to realize how impressive the gallantry with which Jardel had dealt with the heads-up play had been. The deep blow to the face, which would require 20 stitches of suture, in no way affected the performance of the central, from that moment, by definition and on his own merit, a player to Benfica!
Benfica and the Benfica fans are grateful to Jardel for his contribution to the Benfica cause. It was undoubtedly those Benfica players who, whenever he took to the field for the Club (320 times for team A, of which 288 in all official competitions, including 3 in the AFL Honor Cup), he committed to fulfilling the challenge “honor now the aces who honored us in the past”. When the games return with the public, Jardel will be in Luz for the due tribute of the Benfica partners and the deserved ovation on the pitch.
Thanks for everything, captain!