Benfica right-back Nélson Semedo has joined Barcelona, signing a five-year contract with the club ranked third in the latest UEFA rankings. The 23-year old fills a void that the Catalans have failed to satisfactorily address since the departure of Dani Alves to Juventus in June 2016.
Barcelona announced that a fee had been agreed on Thursday evening, and the player completed his medical examinations in Spain on Friday. He will now join his new teammates on their preseason tour of the United States.
The deal is worth an initial €30.6 million, plus a further €5.1 million for every 50 competitive games played during his first two contracts at the Camp Nou. This transfer fee makes Semedo the most expensive defender in Barça's history. He is the ninth Portuguese player to represent the club, after Luís Figo, Ricardo Quaresma, Deco, André Gomes, Simão, Vitór Baía, Fernando Couto and Jorge Alberto Mendonça.
Ernesto Valverde's men had been heavily linked with the Portuguese fullback all summer, together with Manchester United. They are thought to have increased their offer for Semedo this week after conceding defeat in the pursuit of their preferred target, Héctor Bellerín.
Semedo began his career at Sintrense, before moving to Benfica in 2012. After a season-long loan with Fátima, he spent two seasons in the Segunda Liga with Benfica B, establishing himself as their first choice right-back. Following the arrival of Rui Vitória as head coach, the Lisbon-born defender was promoted to the first team, and exactly two months later he found himself in Fernando Santos' Portugal squad.
Joy quickly turned to despair as he sustained a serious knee injury whilst on international duty, which cost him his place in Benfica's starting eleven. After fighting his way back to fitness, Semedo made 47 appearances in 2016/17, contributing two goals and 12 assists. Earlier this month, he received the Liga NOS Revelation of the Year Award for his consistent, high-energy performances.
Semedo's departure brings the Eagles' summer transfer revenue to more than €110 million, following the earlier sales of Ederson to Manchester City, Victor Lindelöf to Manchester United, and Marçal to Olympique Lyonnais.