Eliseu Pereira dos Santos, better known simply as Eliseu, has agreed a new one-year contract with Benfica, which ties him to the club until summer 2018. The 33-year old left-back, who turns 34 in October, was granted an extended vacation this summer due to his participation in the Confederations cup. He was due to report back to the club's Seixal training base on July 22nd, but returned early in order to sign his contract and play in the Algarve cup.
As a free agent, Eliseu was permitted to join the club of his choice, but he opted to remain in Lisbon despite reported interest from Turkey. Following the sale of Marçal to Lyon and the loan of Yuri Ribeiro to Rio Ave, the Portuguese international is widely expected to continue as Álex Grimaldo's understudy. Brazilian left-back Marcelo Hermes may be loaned out to aid his adaptation to European football.
Eliseu has been pinpointed by some supporters as a weak link in the squad, but the majority of Benfica fans are satisfied with his latest contract renewal. Of the 259 Benfiquistas that responded to our 24-hour Twitter poll, 84% feel that the club made the right choice in offering the experienced defender a new deal.
Since arriving from Málaga, Eliseu has made 97 appearances in three seasons at the Estádio da Luz, contributing four goals and eight assists. In that time, he has lifted three league trophies, one Portuguese cup, two League cups and two Supercups.
The Azorean was handed his senior international debut in June 2009 by Carlos Queiroz. He now has 25 caps to his name, including two appearances in France during the triumphant Euro 2016 campaign, and four appearances at this summer's Confederations cup in Russia, in which Portugal finished third.
After penning his new contract, Eliseu spoke exclusively with BTV:
"The truth is that I had many proposals, but Benfica and I had an objective... for me to continue at Benfica. Both I and Benfica are content, and here comes another year with the Eagle on my chest!"
"My family and I are very happy to continue here at Benfica, and I think that now it is time to repay the faith that Benfica have shown by giving me another year... I'll give everything on the field."
"I already miss [the guys] a lot. It is a fantastic working group. It was one of the best dressing rooms that I've encountered until today in football, and I'm eager to get back to being with my teammates."
The powerful fullback was also quizzed about his ambitions for the forthcoming season.
"I think that we always aim for more, whilst knowing that it will be difficult. We have to work hard, but I think that, with the commitment and effort of everyone, we can win many things this year."
"We have to accelerate, but always with caution, because it will be a very difficult, intense season. But I think that Benfica and I are prepared."