SL BENFICA (SLB) Guide
SL Benfica is one of the three greats in portuguese football. Overshadowed in recent times by the more succesful FC Porto, SL Benfica (SLB in FM 2013) try to get back the prestige they once held as the biggest club in Portugal. Do they have the tools for the trade in FM 2013? Or are they doomed to slump?
Facilities and Budget:
SLB has top tier facilities for training and a very good youth academy and setup. They also have a B team competing in the portuguese second league, so make sure to look at it for developing your young talent and keep it rather competitive.
Initial transfer budget is set at 15 M€ and wage budget at 2.1 M€, 1.9 of which are being used. So, little room to breathe here. The big 64000 seater stadium ensures a good income throughout the season, with a starting 35000 season tickets bought.
Make sure not to miss Champions League qualification every season, or you won't be able to keep the club afloat without selling players.
Mika (B Team)
Rafael Copetti (B Team)
Artur Moares is a solid, yet not stellar, keeper and should be your first choice. Don't expect him to develop since he is 31 and playing at his maximum ability.
Júlio César is an odd player. He has been overrated systematically in FM over the years, although this year a better Artur relegates him to second place. A good backup but easily substituted.
Paulo Lopes in real life is an average yet solid and experienced keeper. In FM he's below mediocre. The only reason to keep him around is to fill a club-developed slot.
Mika is a young keeper that might develop enough to challenge for a first team spot. Meanwhile, it's for the best to give him playing time at the B team.
Copetti is just too bad.
Veredict: Besides a good starting keeper, SLB could benifit from a strong backup as well. Your best young keeper, Oblak, is on loan so you might want to look for a cheap and effective second keeper on the transfer market.
João Cancelo (B Team)
Maxi Pereira is pretty much your only right defender, and he's pretty good at it. Aggressive and willing to go forward, he should be your first choice.
João Cancelo is very young, but showing potential. Feel free to bet on him if you want, or keep him in the B team in favour of another option. But be sure to keep him around as he has lots of potential.
Veredict: SLB desperately needs a sub right back. Cancelo is too green to be an option. André Almeida is a young midfielder that can play as a right back but he doesn't really make the grade.
I suggest looking at the market for players like the ever-sought for Vrsaljko or bring in someone more experienced like Nélson from Betis or Odiah on a free transfer.
Carole (B Team)
Luis Martins (B Team)
Melgarejo is a sorry excuse for a left back in FM 2013. He simply doesn't have the stats for it. You'd be better off playing him as a winger... or just selling him.
Luisinho is a decent left back, but the team needs more. OK for a backup.
José Shaffer is very weak. Get rid of him, ASAP.
Carole is a young french left back with some potential, but don't put too many hopes on him. Can be a decent backup and is a strong first team choice for your reserves.
Luis Martins is home grown, but a weak player overall. Keep him around for the registration demands if you wish.
Veredict: If you are going to spend money on just a few signings, then one of them has to be a left back. Neither of the options in the squad have the quality to perform at SLB's level and you will struggle
with the team if you plan on fielding any of them at the LB position. Either buy a good LB or... play without them.
Carlos Ascues (B Team)
Luisão is your team captain and your defence leader. There's no way around it - he is your prime centre back... except he's ruled out with a ban for a couple of months. Try to hold on until he's back.
Garay is a very solid, all-round centre back. He surely had an upgrade from FM 2012. He is, however, a bit temperamental with your team talks, so try to please him.
Sidnei is a good backup, a young centre back with good potential and should be your first pick to sub Luisão while the latter is banned. Keep him around, you won't regret it.
Miguel Vitor is a decent centre back and also counts as a club grown. Keep him around as a 4th option for a rainy day.
Jardel is slow and doesn't really make the grade. He is tall, so you might want to keep him if you play a deep defensive line and have an expertise on corner kicks... but, really, you should just sell him for the best bid.
Carlos Ascues, a Peruvian rising star and a solid defender and defensive midfielder. You should either loan him or keep him in the B team to build up is stats. Since your team is not that strong on defensive midfielders,
he also makes a good sub for that spot. Definitely a keeper.
Veredict: No problems with the CB position at SLB. Luisão being banned for a couple of months is a drag, but you should do all right with Garay and Sidnei. Also, a good prospect, Roderick Miranda, is on loan at Deportivo and you might want to incorporate him on your squad during the second season.
Aimar is arguably your most talented player and should be deployed as a number 10 creative player. He is at his best when creating chances and given free reign. However, his advancing age and short contract duration means you might want to look at a substitute rather quickly.
Matic is your only natural defensive midfielder, and he's not that good at that. He is actually quite better in real life, so maybe he'll get an upgrade soon. In the meantime, try to bring in a stronger player.
André Almeida is a young portuguese midfielder that can play as a defensive midfielder, or right in the centre, even as a right back, but he's not that good in either. Should be kept in the squad while you don't have enough options.
Carlos Martins is a good all-round creative centre midfielder. If you don't play with a typical "10", then use Carlos as a deep playmaker. He is also strong from mid distance so try to have him shoot from afar. Watch out for his fitness, though.
Miguel Rosa is a young, versatile midfielder who is more comfortable in the middle of the pitch. While he is not stellar, he can be a good emergency backup for any of your midfield and wing positions. Plus, he is home grown.
Veredict: SLB really needs to boost their midfield. Depending on how many centre players you like to field, you may want to buy a strong defensive midfield and a capable box-to-box midfielder. The team
is low on options and not that great on quality either.
Urreta (B Team)
Salvio is a flairy argentinian winger and that will show on the pitch. He has good pace and can work also as an inside forward on the left side or even up front in the centre. He should be your first pick for the right wing.
Enzo Pérez is a bit more versatile than Salvio, but slower and overall not as impressive. Can be trained to play in the centre midfield rather easily since the team is short on options there, or employed as an effective right wide
midfielder or defensive winger.
Urreta is a competent young winger from Uruguay. Good enough for a backup if you want to bring speed to your wings.
Veredict: Wing play is strong in SLB and should not be a problem. Salvio is a great player and there are plenty of options should he become unavailable.
Gaitán is basically Benfica's Messi. He is an adept left winger but can play in any position on the offensive midfield range. He has a great left foot and plenty of flair, so set him free and watch him wreck havock in the opposition.
Bruno César is a competent offensive midfielder. He playes well on the left wing and as a centre attacking midfielder. Although not very fast, he has a very good shooting ability so he may excell as a lurker for long shots outside the area.
Nolito is an odd one. He is a fan favorite in real life, but in FM he fails to make the difference. He is a natural left winger but he plays best as an inside forward over the wing, to make the best of his strong right foot. However, he can be sold with little danger for the team as he's just not that good.
Ola John is a great young dutch winger that can play on either side of the pitch. He might not look that great to start with, but give him time and playing opportunities and he will develop into a quality winger that can
speed past any defence. Definitely a keeper, or a loan for a first team chance.
Veredict: Left wing is probably SLB's strongest point if you think that wonderkid Rodrigo can also play in this position. There are a lot of good options here and you can even get rid of one or two
to balance the checks.
Cardozo is an assassin in front of goal. When played correctly, he will massacre the opposition and score bucketloads of goals. He is incredibly strong in front of the goal and from long range, which also means he will pack in quite a few scorchers from afar and free kicks. Not very fast, so he will probably be better off being given the ball to the feet so he can do his magic. Keep him at all costs.
Rodrigo is your wonderkid. He is very good as he is now, and he will only get better and attract attention from the big teams. He can play as a fast striker, on the left wing, or trained on the right wing as a inside forward. Give him playing time and he won't disappoint.
Lima is a good all-round forward and a decent backup to Cardozo. While not as murderous, he is faster and that gives a bit of depth to SLB's attack.
Kardec is best employed as a target man for high crosses. He has a nice heading ability so he could be a good weapon against tall and tight defences. Not really impressive otherwise.
Veredict: Benfica's striking force is of excellent quality. Cardozo will bag 20 goals or more per season and Rodrigo is a rising star. Plus, you have Nelson Oliveira on loan, and he also has lots of promise.
Lima and Kardec are a few steps below and, depending on your play style, you might look to offload one of them.
SLB is an odd team. The squad is not very balanced as they have very strong positions (Centre backs, Wings, Forwards) combined with weak or bad ones (Right back, Left back, Centre midfield). So, if you're planning
on picking SLB up for glory, you'll have to do a bit of work balancing out the squad. Be also on the lookout for your young talent on loan (Oblak, Roderick Miranda, Nelson Oliveira) and in the reserve squad (Ivan Cavaleiro, João Cancelo, André Gomes, Guzzo, Derlis González); with the good standard of your facilities and a couple of efficient coaches brought in, you can spend time developing your youth players to challenge for a first team spot in a few seasons. The first season probably won't be easy but if you manage to cover up SLB's weaknesses with well thought-out signings, it can be a very strong side to play.
RECOMMENDED SIGNING PROFILES:
Back-up young goalie, First-team left back, Back-up young right back, Strong defensive midfielder, Box-to-box midfielder, plan ahead for a Pablo Aimar replacement if your tactic needs it.
4-3-3, 4-2-3-1 with wingers or 4-4-2 Diamond
Hope you enjoyed my guide and have fun with FM 2013, no matter what team you play with! Yes, even FC Porto. Bah.