After inking his new contract on Tuesday night, Jardel sat down with BTV, and was asked to reflect on his Benfica career to date. The Brazilian defender covered a wide range of topics, from his role as third captain, to his relationship with the fans.
ADAPTATION TO PORTUGUESE FOOTBALL
"I was a different player to the style of play (here) because Brazilian football is very different. It took me a year to adapt, playing in a lower division [at Estoril], and later I made the jump to Olhanense where I played for 6 months. Afterwards came the big leap in my career, which was arriving at Benfica. I evolved a lot, grew a lot, and I hope that - together with my teammates and all of the staff here - I continue to grow."
EVOLUTION AT BENFICA
"It was all new to me! Honestly, I didn't expect to stay for so long. It's already been 5 years at Benfica, which has surprised me. The work that I've done has really helped me to grow, not only as a player but also as a man. I've matured a lot, and today - thanks to God, my colleagues and my friends who have really helped me in everything that I've done here - I have the opportunity to renew my contract. God willing, I hope to stay here a long time."
"Last season was the best for me because in the past I didn't play as regularly, and this is very difficult for a player. When you get a longer sequence of games, you feel greater motivation and encouragement. Last season I played many games, and had a very good run. I consider it the best season of my career so far."
MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT
"There are so many. I've already lived many special moments in this jersey, and I hope to live many more. But if I had to choose, I think the most special was winning the title last season, after everything I went through in the previous seasons."
"It's getting to the end of the season and the championship is (very) balanced; there are three teams in the title race. (We will take it) game by game. Every game is a battle, every game is a cup final, and there are still 10 to go! Our thoughts are on our work, and always on winning, because our fans really deserve it, and we fight for them!"
"Our dressing room was always very close, and our team has grown a lot in this final stretch. In fact, we have become even closer in the past few months. The key is the (hard) work and the friendship that unites us, and this will be so until the end of the season."
BEING THIRD CAPTAIN
"(I've had) 5 years at the club, (and I'm) 29-years old with lots of experience. It's not only me but also other teammates, other captains (that) have this leadership (role) within the group. We always try to assist and talk with the youngsters coming through, passing (on) our experience, so that they too can grow and help the team. This is most important for the cohesion of the team."
REMAINING CAREER ASPIRATIONS
"To win titles! (With) Benfica's greatness, a club with this fantastic structure, it lives to win titles, and our thinking is no different. Winning and always looking to win more! And that is the profile of a Benfica player: to always give your maximum on the field to win. My biggest dream is to play here for many years and perhaps to end my career at Benfica."
RELATIONSHIP WITH THE FANS
"The most important part is the fans! They are passionate, they live (and breathe) the club, they are intense, and the strength that they pass onto us is huge. If we ordinarily play at 100%, we can double this with the energy that they transmit to us. Even in the street, they are always encouraging us! The Benfica fan is, without doubt, our 12th man. We are always together!"
"I will always fight for Benfica, and leave everything on the field; (that's) not only me, but also all of my teammates. The thinking of the team is just that, (to) always (go) in search of victories and titles for Benfica, as that is the most important (thing)."