Brazilian defender Jardel has extended his contract with Benfica. The 29-year old is now tied to the club until June 2020. Speaking to BTV on Tuesday night, he revealed his delight at renewing his deal.
“It is my second (contract) renewal. I’m very happy, very content. I feel valued. It is a joy for a player to renew their contract with a great club like Benfica. I feel grateful for everything, and honoured to wear this jersey.”
To read a full transcript of the interview, click here.
The towering centre-back first arrived in Portugal in 2009, when he secured a loan move from Desportivo Brasil to Estoril, who at the time were playing in the Segunda Liga. He quickly made the step up to the top flight with Olhanense, who signed him permanently in the summer of 2010. The Brazilian made the transition with relative ease, and caught the attention of Benfica with a string of impressive performances for the Algarvian side.
Jardel made the move to the Estádio da Luz in January 2011, with Jorge Jesus paying €500,000 for his services. During his first 4 seasons at the club, Jardel racked up 82 appearances in all competitions, but never established himself as a guaranteed starter. At first, he was competing with Luisão and Sidnei, and later, he served as understudy to Luisão and Ezequiel Garay.
The defender was solid and dependable when called upon, but most felt that he lacked the quality to merit a starting place. His opportunity finally came in the 2014-15 season, after Garay’s big-money move to Zenit. At last, Jardel began a campaign as first-choice, and he repaid the coach’s faith by developing a formidable partnership with compatriot Luisão. He made 43 appearances in all competitions, and helped Benfica to their 34th Championship title and 6th League Cup crown.
Although Jardel is not the quickest or the most technically gifted player, he compensates with his positioning, anticipation, aerial power, and unparalleled commitment. He is a popular figure with the fans and in the dressing room, and has captained the side on 8 occasions this season. The experienced Brazilian is the longest-serving member of the current squad behind Luisão and Nico Gaitán.