Benfica Off To Monster Start Of Season

Julio CostaContributor ISeptember 16, 2009

AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS - JULY 24:  Pablo Aimar of Benfica during the Amsterdam Tournament match between Sunderland and Benfica at the Amsterdam Arena on July 24, 2009 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

There's a rush amongst fans that for a while hasn't been felt. People now count the days until the next SL Benfica game, in hopes of seeing repeated past performances that have shown a team playing consistent and beautiful football and scoring a lot—12 goals in the past 2 games.

It's hard not to get euphoric with these past performances. Many fans seem to have already forgotten the disappointments suffered these past few seasons where Benfica has started off strong, but then seemed to fade as the season wore off. In fact, that's what many detractors hope will happen to Benfica, again this year.

But it may be a different story this time around.

Benfica has managed to purchase confirmed talents as Ramires, who came from Cruzeiro and has been a fixture in the Brazilian National team on their road to South Africa 2010. They've also managed to acquire Javi Garcia, a defensive midfielder from Real Madrid who after having a disappointing season with Real.

He has already caught the eye of Spanish National team manager Del Bosque, thanks to performances that have defined him as a mainstay in the team, and helped the team forget Katsouranis, an important feature of Benfica for these past seasons. Javier Saviola, who also had a disappointing season with Real after not playing for most of the season, seems to be playing with renewed enthusiasm.

But the pleasant surprises come from players like Angel DiMaria, Fábio Coentrão, Sidnei and David Luiz, who seem to be willing to show all their talent and worth this season, after having a subpar season last year that in some cases led many to question their true value as players.

Oscar Cardozo is perhaps the most notorious case. Coming to Benfica billed as a top striker and after scoring consistently in previous years, the past season saw Quique Flores, then Benfica's coach, have him sit out many games. On the few occasions that he played, he managed to average roughly a goal a game, but still the manager chose to have him sit out. This season despite missing a few penalty shots in key moments, Cardozo is already top scorer in the Portuguese league...

A miracle? Perhaps... But it may have something to do with the head coach, Jorge Jesus, who at one time defined himself as a "poor man's José Mourinho". Though a Sporting fan, Jesus transmits a passion and purpose to the team that have been lacking for a while, and that many seem to point out as the main reason for the shortcomings of previous seasons.

All that is left to do is to wait and see how the season rolls out. The message most heard from both team players and managers, has been to not be too euphoric. But it's hard for fans to contain themselves, when the team has been performing and scoring like it has.

Now, it's time to wait for the next game and see how things end up...