The former manager of Portugal’s Benfica football club, António Carraça, says that the man he chose to bring on to the club in 2004, Rui Vitoria, should finish out his contract and leave his position as manager of Benfica in 2020.
Carraça believes that the coach’s cycle at the Clube da Luz is coming to an end.
“Fifteen years ago I was convinced that the big clubs, a club like Benfica, could have a coach for 20 years. Ten years ago I changed my mind; it’s impossible and counterproductive. I believe that Rui [Vitoria] [should] fulfil his contract [by 2020] and, after fulfilling it, the cycle is finished,” Carraça told Portuguese media on Wednesday.
The former manager of Benfica believes that both sides will win with the ending of this cycle because, on the one hand, “Benfica needs to regenerate and start a new cycle,” and on the other hand, “Rui Vitoria himself, from the point of his national or international career, also needs to change.”
Carraça had no harsh words to say against Vitoria and said he still does not understand the criticisms made against Vitoria, saying that the work he developed in recent years is unassailable and deserving of praise.
“How can anyone question Rui Vitoria’s ability? Sometimes he makes mistakes, of course he does, but who doesn’t?” Carraça asked, noting that “beyond winning [games], Rui Vitoria had won by training players.”
Vitoria first joined Benfica in 2004, after rampant spending finally caught up with the club in the mid-90s, according to Football History.
The financial crisis that followed saw Benfica drop off the map for a while, and the club ended the century with a couple of disappointing mid-table finishes.
After a drought that lasted eight years, the club finally won their 24th Taça de Portugal by defeating Porto in the final. Since then, Benfica have claimed an additional four Primeira Liga titles and one Taça de Portugal trophy, cementing their return to the big stage.
In the 2013-2014 season Benfica won the “Treble”, including Primeira Liga, Taça de Portugal and Taça da Liga (the latter founded as late as in 2007), for the first time.
On June 15, 2015, Portuguese champions Benfica announced that Vitoria had signed a three-year contract with the club.He started the season by managing the team in the Supertaça, which resulted in a loss to Sporting CP (0–1).
Despite a troubled start, on May 15, 2016, Benfica won a third Primeira Liga title in a row and 35th overall, with a win over Nacional at the Estádio da Luz (4–1) on the final matchday. With that victory, Benfica established a Portuguese league record of 88 points in 34 matches.
Vitoria also led the club to the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League, and to their seventh Taça da Liga trophy, beating Marítimo in the final (6–2) on May 20. In this campaign, he also set a Benfica record of 11 consecutive away triumphs in all competitions, with a 0–1 league win at Boavista. Afterwards, he received the Best Coach award in Primeira Liga for the 2015–16 season.
Vitoria started the 2016–17 season on August 7, as he won his first Portuguese Super Cup on his third attempt (3–0 over Braga) and, therefore, succeeded in winning all four major titles in Portugal.
On October 23, he surpassed Jimmy Hagan’s 43-year-old record of 15 consecutive away wins in the league, achieving the 16th as Benfica beat Belenenses (0–2).
On April 7, 2017, Vitoria renewed his contract for a further two seasons. In his second season, he managed the team to a Primeira Liga, Taça de Portugal and Supertaça victories, the second time in Benfica’s history after Lajos Baróti’s treble in 1980–81.
By winning two of four league titles in a row, Vitoria also became the first Benfica manager to guide the team to the tetra.