Rafa Silva was officially unveiled as a Benfica player on Friday, in between Portugal's friendly victory over Gibraltar last Thursday, and their World Cup qualifier against Switzerland tonight. His signing was completed on transfer deadline day, after a summer of protracted transfer negotiations. In declarations to BTV, the 23-year old admitted his relief at finally sealing his move.
"I feel very good. Everything was resolved... it was last-minute, but everything was resolved and I'm very glad to be here and to be able to wear this jersey!"
Rafa can play as a winger, attacking midfielder or second striker. He scored 26 goals in his 127 appearances for Braga, where he played mainly as a left-winger, and he won his tenth cap for Portugal against Gibraltar last week.
Signing for Benfica represents something of a homecoming for Rafa, whose family originate from the Greater Lisbon area.
"Benfica was always my choice and it was an easy decision. My family is all from here and this influenced me a lot. Plus Benfica is "Tricampeão", always fights for great objectives, and it was also this that made me want to come."
The Portuguese international also paid tribute to Benfica's President, Luís Filipe Vieira.
"The President of Sport Lisboa e Benfica was very important because he always demonstrated a really great interest in me. This for me was pivotal and touched me."
Far from being overawed by his €16.4 million move, Rafa stressed the importance of keeping calm and settling in quickly at his new club.
"I will be received in a normal manner, because the (other players) also went through this. The life of a footballer is like this... at times you change club, change location, and I'm certain that I will be well received by all of my teammates. I will do everything to adapt rapidly and I'm certain that everyone will help me to adapt."
"I never even expected to arrive where I've arrived today. I've always lived moments day by day, leading the quiet life, and I think it was this that brought me here."
"I never dreamed of reaching this level. I didn't live obsessed with this, it happened naturally, but to arrive here - to represent Benfica and wear this jersey - is a dream."
Rafa could make his debut when Benfica travel to Arouca on Friday night, or against Besiktas in Lisbon next Tuesday. The following Monday, the Eagles host Rafa's former club Braga in the Liga NOS. Whoever the opponent, Rafa is looking forward to his first game at the Estádio da Luz.
"My debut here? It will be a very gratifying moment for me. I will feel huge pride... I'm very glad to be able to represent this club."
"You can feel and see that they are supporters that love the club. When I came here to play [in the past], I already felt that this could be huge. The support of the team is very important and makes the difference. (The fans) end up being an extra force, and very important in all of the games."
Rafa was then asked what the Benfiquistas should expect from their latest recruit.
"They can expect hard work, always giving everything until the end, never giving up, and helping Benfica to go even further."
"I'm already able to imagine myself spotting (chances) and helping lots of balls to enter the goal... whether goals (or) assists, scored by me or by my teammates... I will be very satisfied."
This year, Rafa has already won Euro 2016 with Portugal and the Portuguese Cup with Braga, but he is hungry for further success.
"It will improve even more! It is (time) to work hard to achieve all of (our) objectives, and I believe that 2017 will be even better!"
"(My) objectives? To dignify the club and help Benfica to reach their goals."