S.L. Benfica (basketball)

Sport Lisboa e Benfica, commonly known as Benfica, is a professional basketball team based in Lisbon, Portugal, who play in the Liga Portuguesa de Basquetebol (LPB). In June 2007, the club decided to leave the professional top league, then known as LCB, and join the Proliga, a league organized by the Portuguese Basketball Federation. From 2008 onwards, they returned to the LPB after the federation took over the realms of the competition.

NicknameAs Águias (The Eagles)
Os Encarnados (The Reds)
LeaguesLiga Portuguesa de Basquetebol
FIBA Europe Cup
Founded20 March 1927 (1927-03-20)[1]
HistoryS.L. Benfica
ArenaPavilhão Fidelidade
LocationLisbon, Portugal
Team coloursRed and white
PresidentJosé Tomaz
Team managerJoão Nuno Crespo[2]
Head coachCarlos Lisboa
Championships27 Portuguese Leagues
22 Portuguese Cups

Founded in 1927, Benfica is the most successful Portuguese club, having the record for most championships, cups, league cups, super cups, and other national competitions, with a total of 80 domestic titles. It is also the Portuguese team that advanced the furthest in the European top club championship, now known as the EuroLeague.

Some of their most memorable moments were when they won European clashes against the likes of European clubs which have won the Euroleague, such as Virtus Bologna, Real Madrid, Cantù, Cibona, Joventut Badalona, Panathinaikos, Partizan, CSKA Moscow or Varese.[1][3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10] Despite basketball not being nearly as popular as football among the Portuguese population, Benfica has a major rivalry with FC Porto in this sport. (The rivalry was interrupted in 2012 and resumed in 2015.)

Along with its several junior teams that play in their respective top division championships, Benfica also has a developmental basketball team, Benfica B, that plays in the Proliga, the second highest tier in Portugal after the LPB, in which the main team competes.[11]


Early years

Created on 20 March 1927,[1] the basketball team followed the steps of many other sports that were supported by the club, achieving great success almost immediately. The team established itself as a main contender by the 1940s and during the whole 1960s gained the status of championship favourite and was already the club with the most titles won. By this time the club had won eight national championships and eight cups. This dominating spell decreased the following decade until the early 1980s. In this time-span Benfica could only win two championships, in the 1969–70 and the 1974–75 season, but won four national cups, the second most prestigious Portuguese tournament, in 1969–70, 1971–72, 1972–73 and 1973–74. After these years, Benfica again dominated the national scene.

Golden years

The most successful period of the club was between 1985 and 1995. In eleven seasons, the team won ten national titles, seven of which in a row, five national cups, five league cups and six super cups, achieving the best season ever by a Portuguese basketball team in 1994–95 winning the Portuguese League, Portuguese League Cup, Portuguese Super Cup, Portuguese Basketball Cup and finishing the European Champions' Cup in the Top 16. One of the highlight from that European Champions' Cup season was a 22-point victory (102–80) against CSKA Moscow in Lisbon on 12 January 1995.[10] Benfica also made successful international campaigns in the other seasons considering the budget the team had compared with other European big teams. Some of the most successful of those campaigns include the 1993–94, when Benfica was close to reach the Top 8,[12] and for a third season in a row Benfica managed to reach the Top 16 again in the European Champions' Cup, in 1995–96, grabbing a win against Panathinaikos, the eventual champions.[13][8]

Decline in the late 1990s

This period was followed by a dark era in which Benfica was internally overshadowed by Ovarense, Portugal Telecom and FC Porto. Even though this period is considered to be a dark one, Benfica did manage to reach the LPB final once as well as winning Super Cups and finishing runners-up in the national cup and in the league cup. Also noteworthy is an away win against Real Madrid, in the 1996–97 EuroCup, the same season the Spaniards won the competition.[4] The team finally decided to withdraw from the top tier and applied for the second league, the Proliga, which was the highest division run by the Federação Portuguesa de Basquetebol. However the first division was folded and the LPB (league) was again being overviewed by the national federation. This allowed the team to make a comeback to the main league.

Revival in the late 2000s

After more than a decade without any titles and in the same season Benfica had made a return to the first league, the 2008–09 season, the team won the Portuguese League, with a perfect score of 100% wins during the regular season, becoming the second team in the world to do so, after Maccabi Tel Aviv in the 1970s, and thrashing Ovarense 4–0 in the best-of-four game final. Benfica won the championship again the following season with a 91% winning record in the regular stage and a 4–1 final against Porto. The recent success brought the team to participate in the EuroChallenge, thus marking the end of a mid-term long hiatus from Portuguese clubs in European basketball competitions. The following year, Benfica won the League Cup and the Super Cup but did not renew the championship as it lost 4–3 in the final to Porto.

Recent years

In the next season Benfica regained the title of Portuguese champion after defeating Porto in their home court Dragão Caixa (53–56) in the last best-of-five series game following a 2–2 playoff tie. Benfica retained the title the following season, having only lost two games, one in the regular season, and the other in the play-off final, which they won 3–1 against Académica de Coimbra, both defeats coming only in overtime. Overall Benfica won every title except the Cup, losing against Vitória de Guimarães in the final, amassing only three losses in the entire season in all competitions. On 23 May 2014, Benfica defeated Vitória de Guimarães (3–0) and conquered its 25th champions title (third consecutive), completing the domestic treble of League, Portuguese Cup and Hugo dos Santos Cup. In this season they won a total of 4 titles (including the 2013 Super Cup).

In the 2014–15 season, Benfica returned to the European competitions, playing in EuroChallenge where they finished in third place of Group E. At domestic level, Benfica won all the five competitions.[14][15] Starting the 2015–16 season, they won their fifth and fourth consecutive António Pratas Trophy, setting a club record of ten consecutive Portuguese trophies won.[16] They achieved the domestic treble of League Cup, Portuguese Cup, and league title the next season.[17]


Domestic competitions

Winners (27) – record:[18] 1939–40, 1945–46, 1946–47, 1960–61, 1961–62, 1962–63, 1963–64, 1964–65, 1969–70, 1974–75, 1984–85, 1985–86, 1986–87, 1988–89, 1989–90, 1990–91, 1991–92, 1992–93, 1993–94, 1994–95, 2008–09, 2009–10, 2011–12, 2012–13, 2013–14, 2014–15, 2016–17
Winners (22) – record:[18] 1945–46, 1946–47, 1960–61, 1963–64, 1964–65, 1965–66, 1967–68, 1968–69, 1969–70, 1971–72, 1972–73, 1973–74, 1980–81, 1991–92, 1992–93, 1993–94, 1994–95, 1995–96, 2013–14, 2014–15, 2015–16, 2016–17
Winners (12) – record:[18] 1989–90, 1990–91, 1992–93, 1993–94, 1994–95, 1995–96, 2010–11, 2012–13, 2013–14, 2014–15, 2016–17, 2017–18
Winners (14) – record:[18] 1985, 1989, 1991, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1998, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017
Winners (5) – record:[18] 2008–09, 2011–12, 2012–13, 2014–15, 2015–16
Winners (1):[18] 2007–08

International competitions

Winners (1): 2010

Current roster

S.L. Benfica roster
SF 0 Downs, Micah 2.03 m (6 ft 8 in) 91 kg (201 lb) 33 – (1986-09-08)8 September 1986
C 2 Coleman, Eric 2.01 m (6 ft 7 in) 113 kg (249 lb) 34 – (1985-08-08)8 August 1985
SF 4 Vilhena, José 1.94 m (6 ft 4 in) 92 kg (203 lb) 30 – (1989-04-16)16 April 1989
SF 8 Delgado, Gonçalo 2.04 m (6 ft 8 in) 91 kg (201 lb) 21 – (1998-01-22)22 January 1998
SF 10 Lima, Fábio 1.97 m (6 ft 6 in) 95 kg (209 lb) 31 – (1988-08-18)18 August 1988
SF 15 Betinho 2.01 m (6 ft 7 in) 86 kg (190 lb) 34 – (1985-05-02)2 May 1985
C 16 McGhee, Gary 2.11 m (6 ft 11 in) 113 kg (249 lb) 31 – (1988-10-28)28 October 1988
PG 21 Barroso, Tomás (C) 1.85 m (6 ft 1 in) 88 kg (194 lb) 29 – (1990-11-02)2 November 1990
PF 22 Hallman, Arnette 2.00 m (6 ft 7 in) 99 kg (218 lb) 31 – (1988-01-06)6 January 1988
PG 23 Murry, Toure' 1.96 m (6 ft 5 in) 91 kg (201 lb) 30 – (1989-11-08)8 November 1989
PG 28 Lisboa, Rafael 1.78 m (5 ft 10 in) 20 – (1999-11-27)27 November 1999
PF 88 Hollis, Damian 2.03 m (6 ft 8 in) 103 kg (227 lb) 31 – (1988-08-19)19 August 1988
Head coach

Carlos Lisboa

Assistant coach(es)

Nuno Ferreira
Carlos Seixas

Team manager

João Nuno Crespo

  • (C) Team captain
  • Injured

Updated: 2 October 2019

Home arenas

  • Pavilhão dos Desportos: 1946–1965
  • Pavilhão da Luz: 1965–2003
  • Pavilhão Fidelidade: 2003–present

Results in international competition

Note: Benfica score is always listed first.[19]

Former coaches

Former notable players

Won an official title or individual titles

Women's honours

Winners (1): 2019–20[20]


  1. "The History". glorioso-triplo.blogspot.com (in Portuguese). Retrieved 17 September 2010.
  2. Guerreiro, Luís Afonso (26 September 2018). "Team Managers: Os rostos por detrás das equipas" [Team Managers: The faces behind the teams]. S.L. Benfica (in Portuguese). Retrieved 22 December 2018.
  3. "Benfica vs Virtus Bologna final score". FIBA Europe. Retrieved 18 September 2010.
  4. "Real Madrid vs Benfica final score". FIBA Europe. Retrieved 24 October 2010.
  5. "Benfica vs Pallacanestro Cantù final score". FIBA Europe. Retrieved 26 January 2013.
  6. "Benfica vs Cibona final score". FIBA Europe. Retrieved 26 January 2013.
  7. "Joventut Badalona vs Benfica final score". FIBA Europe. Retrieved 18 September 2010.
  8. "Benfica vs Panathinaikos final score". FIBA Europe. Retrieved 18 September 2010.
  9. "Benfica vs Partizan final score". FIBA Europe. Retrieved 26 January 2013.
  10. "Benfica vs CSKA final score". FIBA Europe. Retrieved 17 September 2010.
  11. "SL Benfica B". Federação Portuguesa de Basquetebol (in Portuguese). Retrieved 2 October 2012.
  12. "Semi-final round 1993–94". FIBA Europe. Retrieved 17 September 2010.
  13. "Semi-final round 1995–96". FIBA Europe. Retrieved 17 September 2010.
  14. "Basquetebol é Tetracampeão!" [Benfica are champions for the fourth consecutive time] (in Portuguese). S.L. Benfica. 30 May 2015. Retrieved 30 May 2015. Supertaça, Taça de Portugal, Troféu Hugo dos Santos, Troféu António Pratas e Campeonato Nacional
  15. "Benfica derrota V. Guimarães e sagra-se tetracampeão nacional" [Benfica beat V. Guimarães and become national champions four times in a row]. A Bola (in Portuguese). 30 May 2015. Retrieved 31 May 2015. tendo conquistado todos os troféus que houve em disputa.
  16. "Troféu António Pratas vem para a Luz" [Troféu António Pratas goes to Luz]. S.L. Benfica (in Portuguese). 29 September 2015. Retrieved 16 November 2016.
  17. "SL Benfica dethrone FC Porto to complete triple crown in Portugal". FIBA. 10 June 2017. Retrieved 30 September 2019.
  18. "Honours". S.L. Benfica (in Portuguese). Retrieved 25 April 2016.
  19. "Participations in FIBA Europe competitions". FIBA Europe. Retrieved 19 October 2016.
  20. https://www.slbenfica.pt/pt-pt/agora/noticias/2019/09/29/basquetebol-feminino-jogo-benfica-ad-vagos-final-taca-vitor-hugo

Further reading

  • Perdigão, Carlos; Pires, Fernando (2004). 100 Anos de Lenda [100 Years of Legend] (in Portuguese) (First ed.). Diário de Notícias. pp. 242–247. ISBN 972-9335-52-4.
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