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Saturday, 28 August 2010 15:40

Ex-Benfica man Nelson hints at Portugal return

Defender retains Seleccao ambition

Real Betis’ Portugal international Nelson says last season was the worst year of his professional career, and has suggested he is ready to leave the Spanish club should the opportunity arise.

Nelson signed for Betis in a €6m deal from Benfica in the summer of 2008, following a somewhat bitter departure from the Estadio da Luz. Since then, things have not gone well for the right-back, with Betis suffering relegation in his debut season and failing to achieve promotion from the Spanish second tier last season.

Speaking about his experience in Spain, Nelson admits that it is difficult to accept playing at a lower level. “I’ve had some good experiences, like playing in the Champions League, so it’s not easy to deal with this situation,“ he said. “It was tough to adapt and last year I had to play in the second division.

“I also had the misfortune to get injured, so it was the worst year of my football career. But I look at the future with great confidence and hope to return to the highest level.

“The league starts on Sunday, but there are still things that can happen. There are interested clubs but it is not easy because Betis depend on me, I’m a very important player here. The club is going through a difficult phase, but we’re talking about a big club with massive support.

“Would I like to return to Portugal? Yes, because Portugal has great teams and I consider myself a great player who can play in them. “

After admitting that there was some truth in a possible move to Sporting, Nelson was asked about the possibility of returning to Benfica, where he played for three years after signing from Boavista. The 27-year-old suggests he would be open to a move to Jorge Jesus’ side, while also expressing his desire to one day earn his place back in the Portugal squad.

“I left Benfica at the right time, because I wanted to leave. The conditions were such that I couldn’t continue. But I’m not sorry for what I did, because I was eager to succeed. I started well during my early days in Spain and got myself back in the national team, which was very good for me, so I must keep working.

“(Benfica) is a club I care a lot about, to which I will always be grateful and will continue to follow. I don’t know what will happen tomorrow, but I’m keen to return to top the major competitions and to be at a club the size of Benfica.

“Until the end of my career, I will never give up my dream (of returning to the national team) and, God willing, I will get back in. Today I am a mature player and am ready for all challenges. I hope to have a great season, with Betis or another team, and return to the Seleccao. I have the ability and the courage to play for Portugal, but the players who are there now are quality.”

Article update:

Sources in Navarre suggest Osasuna have opened talks with Betis over bringing Nelson to Pamplona. Osasuna are currently coached by Jose Antonio Camacho, who worked with Nelson when the pair were at Benfica in the 2007-08 season.

By Sean Gillen

Comments (6)
6 Saturday, 28 August 2010 21:51
Benfica to Real Betis is hardly a move in the right direction. That club is a joke. Look what happened to Denilson there.
Bad move now he is regretting it.
dream on
5 Saturday, 28 August 2010 21:04
This guy can dream as much as he want and keep saying how much he loves Benfica, but I doub't Benfica will take him back anytime soon, not now, not never. I think Braga would be most suited for him. Also, as much as I love seeing Braga playing a highly entertaining football, I would love them to reduce the number of foreign players to their starting XI, the point of which Portuguese players should in their squad should fight for a spot.
Hahahaaaa Ramos
4 Saturday, 28 August 2010 18:47
That was a great joke
ramos' comment too
3 Saturday, 28 August 2010 18:29
hahahahahahaha....I swear u're right...he'll play I think in the B league in portugal and get al call from Ferguson to play in Manchester...loooooool!
Ramos' comment
2 Saturday, 28 August 2010 16:46
1 Saturday, 28 August 2010 16:08
nelson you are not south american, so you can forget about a move to benfica.

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