Benfica have added another talented youngster to their ranks in the form of Slovakian youth international Martin Chrien. The 21-year old central midfielder joins from Czech side Viktoria Plzeň, after impressing at the under-21 European Championships this summer, where he scored against England and Sweden, and bagged an assist against Poland. He has signed a five-year contract with the Eagles. The fee has not been disclosed, but is believed to be around €1 million.
Chrien was born in Banská Bystrica, central Slovakia, on September 8th 1995. He began his career with hometown club Dukla Banská Bystrica, for whom he made his first team debut in December 2012. 29 Slovak Super Liga appearances and five goals later, he was snapped up by Viktoria Plzeň in May 2014.
His new team won the Czech First League in 2014/15 and 2015/16, although Chrien played no part as he was loaned out to Viktoria's league rivals Dynamo České Budějovice and Zbrojovka Brno. In 2016/17, Chrien returned to Slovakia with Ružomberok. He contributed 6 goals and 4 assists in 19 appearances, convincing Viktoria to recall him and integrate him into their first team.
After completing the formalities of his transfer, Chrien shared his thoughts with BTV.
"I feel very good. I feel in fantastic shape. Benfica is a really big club in Portugal and in the world. I'm very happy. Benfica is the best club for young players."
"I've already seen that it has a beautiful stadium. I also know that it has fantastic supporters. I want to play in this stadium and win many trophies."
"I know Luisão, who is a leader, a captain, and a legend! I know Jonas... a great forward, and also Pizzi."
“I'm a fast player, a number 8 that plays box-to-box. I promise to play with maximum effort!"