By Tom Gott
Benfica president Rui Costa has criticized Enzo Fernandez for “not giving us a chance” in negotiations for a transfer at Chelsea.
An initial round of talks collapsed at the start of the January window, during which Fernandez missed training to force a move, but Chelsea reignited their chase at the end of the month and finally secured a deal from 106 million pounds.
Costa has since revealed that Benfica had initially agreed to sell Fernandez to Chelsea at the end of the season but criticized the midfielder for asking for an immediate exit.
“Enzo Fernandez didn’t want to stay at Benfica. He didn’t give us any chance,” Costa said.
“I did my best, I’m sad, but I won’t cry for a player who didn’t want to stay. When Chelsea arrived it was really impossible to change his mind.”
The president continued: “During the deadline day we reached an agreement for the sale of Enzo to Chelsea in the summer but he didn’t want to stay.
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“From the moment Enzo made [Chelsea would pay] the value of the clause was inexorable. We tried to insist, but the player hasn’t shown any willingness to continue at Benfica. I offered Chelsea to stay until the summer for less money, but the player didn’t want to continue at Benfica – and that’s when everything changed.
“At that point I said: ‘He can’t play for Benfica anymore, absolutely not’. I don’t cry for players who don’t want to wear our shirt.
“I was hoping Enzo would want to fight for the title with us. When I realized he didn’t want to, I didn’t even want him to wear the Benfica shirt again.
“A player who, despite the possibility of not losing a euro and with a secure contract with Chelsea, doesn’t want to continue, could never stay at Benfica. This player could no longer enter the dressing room.”
Fernandez has been training with his new Chelsea team-mates and is expected to be part of the squad to face Fulham on Friday night.
This article was originally posted on 90min.com as Benfica president lashes out at Enzo Fernandez over Chelsea transfer.