Jonas lauds Benfica’s squad depth

At 31 years of age, Jonas is enjoying his most productive season in European football. He has already bagged 31 goals this season, equalling his final tally from last year. Jonas has been rewarded with his first international call-up since September 2012, and is currently training with Dunga’s Brazil squad ahead of World Cup qualifiers with Uruguay and Paraguay. Benfica’s number 17 will wear the number 18 shirt for his country.

The ex-Valencia forward was interviewed at Lisbon airport before departing for Brazil, and took the opportunity to highlight Benfica’s strength in depth: “(We) have 27 or 28 players of a great level that can play at any moment, and we have demonstrated this. Injuries happen, but then another (player) comes in and does the job, and this will happen until the end of the championship, because we are a strong and united group.”




International preview: Sanches and Lindelöf set for debuts, Jonas returns

Benfica do not return to action until Friday 1st April, when they host Braga at the Estádio da Luz. Nonetheless, a host of their players could be in action this week, as the Liga NOS gives way to a full programme of international friendlies and World Cup qualifiers. Read on to discover who is playing where and when.




International round-up

Benfica's 18-year-old youngster Gonçalo Guedes was handed his first senior debut by Portugal manager Fernando Santos in a friendly away to Russia. Left-back Eliseu was also named in the starting line-up in a game that ended in a 0-1 defeat.




International round-up

Euro 2016 logo

There were mixed fortunes for Benfica’s international contingent during October’s international break, which marked the end of the Euro 2016 qualifying campaign.

PORTUGAL

Fernando Santos’ Portugal secured their place at Euro 2016 by beating Denmark 1-0 in Braga on Thursday night. Neither Eliseu nor Nelson Sémedo played any part in the fixture, but both started in the 2-1 away win over Serbia on Sunday. Eliseu replaced the rested Fábio Coentrão, and assisted João Moutinho’s 78th minute winner. Sémedo continued his meteoric rise by making his full international debut after just six league appearances for Benfica, and having never represented Portugal at youth level. Unfortunately for the fullback, he returned from international duty with an injured knee.




Benfica well represented internationally

Various Benfica players will be in international duty over the coming week. Details below:

Portugal
Manager Fernando Santos called both Nélson Semedo and Eliseu for Portugal's key Euro 2016 qualifier games at home to Denmark on 8th October (Braga) and away to Serbia (Partizan) three days later

Portugal under-21
Gonçalo Guedes and Pedro Rebocho (Benfica B) were named by manager Rui Jorge for Euro 2017 u21 qualifiers against Hungary and Greece on 9th and 13th October respectively




Nélson Semedo makes Portugal call debut

Benfica's 21 year-old right-back has earned his first call up to the Portugal national side. 

Portugal manager Fernando Santos has acknowledged the youngster's contribution at Benfica this season and may look to give him some playing time for the Euro 2016 qualifiers.

"Nélson Semedo is one of the players we have been keeping a watch on, he has responded positively to his development. Rui Vitória is taking the best out of him which is what I'm after."




Gaitán selected in Argentina squad

Nicolás Gaitán was selected by manager Gerardo Martino to face Equador and Paraguay for the South American 2018 World Cup qualification.

Benfica's Argentine playmaker will join his colleagues on 5th of October and may feature on the matches being played on the 8th (Ecuador) and 13th (Paraguay) of October.

Gaitán had previously missed out the Copa America during June 2015.




Eliseu one step closer to Euro 2016 with Portugal

Lefft-back Eliseu played the full 90 minutes in Portugal's one-nil away win to Albania where former Benfica player Bernardo Silva made his debut.

The deadlock was broken in the dying seconds of the game with a headed goal from Miguel Veloso. Eliseu had a great opportunity ten minutes from full-time after a counter-attacking move led by Ronaldo but his chip over goalkeeper Djimsiti was inches wide.




International round-up

Six Benfica players have been out in action during the international break out of the 9 that were free to travel to their respective national teams:




Gaitan out of Copa America

Nicolas Gaitán, who is heavily linked with a summer move away from Benfica, has failed to make the Argentina squad for the Copa America.

The creative midfielder has been touted to join Manchester United after winning back-to-back league titles for Benfica and making a couple of Europa League final appearances.

Former Benfica star Angel Di Maria has made the ranks whilst Enzo Pérez has been left out.

The Copa America will be played between 11th June and 4th July 2015 and will be hosted by Chile.




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