All football clubs have their myths and legends, I doubt however that many would be able to match Benfica’s famous “Guttmann Curse”.
For those of you who may not know, Benfica is a football club from the city of Lisbon, Portugal. Their famed “Stadium of Light” will hold the 2014 Champions League final. Guttmann joined Benfica in 1960 as manager and promptly won the championship and then again in 1961. He also won the European Cup (Old Champions League) in 1961 beating FC Barcelona 3-2 in the final (obviously poor refereeing) and then again in 1962 by beating Real Madrid after coming from 0-2 to win 5-3. After the 1962 final Guttmann asked for a pay rise, but even with all the success was refused and immediately resigned. On leaving he reportedly said;
“Not in a hundred years will Benfica ever win a European Cup”. Since then Benfica have been finalist in 1963, 65, 68, 83, 88, 90 and 2013 and have lost them all.
The 1990 final was played in Vienna, the city where Guttmann is buried, and Eusébio (arguably Benfica’s greatest ever player) visited his grave to pray and ask for the curse to be lifted….they still lost.
With the 2013 Europa League Final it’s 7 finals lost in 51 years and counting, the good news for supporters of the red half of Lisbon is that there is only 49 more years to go.