Pizzi

Pizzi and Ederson have reaffirmed their commitment to Benfica by signing new deals with the club. The Portuguese midfielder, 27, has extended his contract until 2022, and the Brazilian goalkeeper, 23, has renewed until 2023. Pizzi's minimum fee release clause has been increased to €45 million, while Ederson's is now €60 million.

Luís Miguel Afonso Fernandes - better known as Pizzi - has been in sparkling form this season, contributing 11 goals and 8 assists in 31 appearances. He has been a virtual ever-present in Rui Vitória's side, missing just one game, through suspension, in the League Cup against Paços de Ferreira.

After inking his new contract, the ex-Atlético Madrid man expressed his satisfaction at securing his long-term future.

"I feel great joy... it is the result of hard work, it is the reward, and I want to thank all of the people that helped me from the first moment that I arrived at the club... the President, the coaching staff, my teammates, all the staff, my family, and all the people that work at Benfica. It is the culmination of two and a half seasons that went well. I'm happy, proud, and eager to reciprocate this affection."

"This renewal brings a greater responsibility, but we are accustomed to this... Benfica is a huge club. The pressure from the supporters is good, they help us and always support us in reaching our objectives. I hope to reciprocate this affection."

Despite playing predominantly as a central midfielder, Pizzi is the Eagles' second top goalscorer in 2016/17, and the fourth top scorer in the Liga NOS.

"Things are going well... I'm motivated and confident. Everyone has helped me a lot. I'm scoring goals, I'm another player helping the team, and I hope to continue like this."

"[Rui Vitória] is a special coach for me... at Paços de Ferreira he helped me to grow as a player and a person, and he has helped me a lot here at Benfica."

"It's time to continue working like this, doing things well. I'm happy and proud to continue here until 2022."

"The dressing room is very healthy, with a very good spirit, and this makes us grow as a team and a group. Part of this renewal is also due to my teammates, they've always helped me."

After a stunning breakthrough season in 2015/16, Ederson has continued to shine this term. He has just conceded just 14 goals in 22 appearances, keeping 14 clean sheets along the way. Like Pizzi, the Brazilian youth international was delighted with his new deal.

"I'm very happy with this renewal, I'm grateful... it's a sign of my work being recognised and I really want to continue contributing on the field."

"I've evolved a lot, gained experience and maturity, and that counts a lot. There have been important moments where I've learned a lot."

Does the young goalkeeper have a message for any young players aspiring to become professionals?

"Don't give up... have focus, willpower and desire. I worked hard to reach where I've reached today. Always chase your dreams."

Lastly, the 23-year old was asked to reveal the secret of Benfica's success under Rui Vitória.

"The friendship, respect and unity! This is fundamental and results in good results. We are a family in the dressing room."

Category: