Benfica legend Nuno Gomes has been snubbed by the club for a new contract, and the Portugal international is now looking for a change of scenery after serving "as águias" for almost a decade.
“There have been many reports about my situation in Benfica, and today I can confirm that Benfica have not offered me a new contract. It is a technical decision that I respect and will always respect, but from this moment I am free to consider all proposals that can arise,” Gomes revealed on his website.
Nuno Gomes began his footballing career with Boavista in 1994 and joined Benfica in 1997, returning to the Lisbon club in 2002 after two seasons with Fiorentina in Italy.
Benfica also made a point of publicly thanking the striker, who scored 166 goals in 401 games for the club, releasing a public statement that read:
“Benfica thanks Nuno Gomes for his career, his work and his dedication at the club. Benfica wishes him the best of sporting success, and makes it clear that the doors of this house are always open for when he decides to end his playing career.”
The Estadio do Luz officials offered him a coaching role at the helm, but he refused, as he believes that he can still play for one more season.
He won two league titles with Benfica and is also the fourth-highest goal scorer in the history of the Portuguese national team with 29 goals.
Braga have already been linked with a swoop for the veteran marksman, with rumours also linking Gomes with a move to Italy, Switzerland, USA and Benfica's bitter rivals Sporting Clube de Portugal.
Nuno Gomes undeniably still has a knack for goal. Over the course of the season he scored five goals in just seven appearances, with a combined 94 minutes of playing time.
One reason the 34-year-old Gomes has decided to prolong his career is because he has not yet given up hope of getting into Portugal’s squad for next summer’s 2012 Euro Cup. Gomes leaves Benfica and their fans with this statement:
“I say goodbye to Benfica, wishing them all the luck in the world and for them to know that I gave everything for this shirt (jersey) on and off the pitch. I would also like to say goodbye and to thank them for everything they have given me. Thank you for everything. A big hug
- Nuno Gomes.”
A world class player who will make Benfica regret their decision. Nuno Gomes, the eternal No. 21.