Fernandez’s old manager unhappy with Chelsea move and hits out at his ‘passion’

Benfica boss Roger Schmidt has slammed former player Enzo Fernandez's transfer to Chelsea and questioned the midfielder's passion.

Fernandez, 22, completed his switch to Stamford Bridge on transfer deadline day following a nerve-wracking negotiation process with Benfica. The Blues smashed the British record transfer fee to get the deal finalised when they splashed £107million on Fernandez.

But the large sum has done little to console Benfica boss Schmidt who's not happy about Fernandez's exit. The youngster missed training on Monday and was left out of Benfica's squad that beat Arouca 3-0 on Tuesday while he wrapped up his switch to West London.

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And Schmidt expressed his frustration over losing Fernandez while highlighting how strong they are without him after the match. The 55-year-old said: "It's always difficult to lose a good player in the winter market, but today we showed that we are a good team without him, that we are capable of playing good football without him, that the players are focused on getting the most points, to be champions."

In the German's eyes, no player is bigger than the club, and he made it clear he only wants those with passion to play for his team. In a subtle dig towards Fernandez, he added: "Benfica is much bigger than a player. We just need players who are happy to play for Benfica, who are passionate.

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"We had a player who wanted to leave and a club willing to pay the clause, we couldn't do anything. We accepted and looked into it."

Fernandez only joined Benfica a year ago for a mere £8.8m, but his stock rose in the Qatar World Cup where he played a starring role in Argentina's trophy win, prompting Chelsea to meet his release clause fee. And the Blues' initial approach at the start of January infuriated Schmidt who raged: "They know we don't want to sell the player [and] they tried to get the player on their side and they know that they can only get this player when they pay the [release] clause.

"So it's a very clear situation for what the club is doing who want to buy Enzo. It's disrespectful against all of us, against Benfica. And I cannot accept what they are doing."


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