Benfica coach Jorge Jesus has labeled Bernardo Silva “ungrateful” after the Manchester City winger said the Portuguese giants are in need of a new president. Ahead of the club’s presidential election this week, Silva posted a lengthy statement on social media in which he praised long-time incumbent Luís Filipe Vieira but claimed Benfica have become complacent in recent years and lack ambition.
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It was Jesus who gave Silva his first chance in the Benfica team and the 66-year-old says he has avoided talking about the Portugal international since his departure, but could not stay silent in the wake of the player’s recent criticism.
“For many years I never wanted to talk about Bernardo Silva, because he also messed with me for many years. It’s okay with me,” he said at a press conference. “Now with the club president who helped him grow, who continues to provide great conditions for young people to go out to better clubs, as is the case with him. It is very ungrateful.
“There are many defects that a man can have, but the worst thing is to be ungrateful. You can have a different idea, but you can’t be ungrateful. “I was the one who added Bernardo Silva to the team. We went on tour for several games and when we arrived in Portugal, he asked me: ‘Mister, what are your ideas about me? I want to know if I will play’.
“I said: ‘If you play, what do you mean? Explain it to me… Nico [Gaitan] comes out and you play? Does Salvio come out and you play? What do you want me to do?” “Silva said: ‘I have a contract to leave, I’m going to earn 20 times more, and I need to help my family. I need the coach to let me out’.
“‘Then talk to the president, it’s not me,’ I replied. If he’s listening to me, let him say that this is the truth, it wasn’t because I put him on the left side. “After all these years I’m telling you because he was ungrateful to the president of Benfica. I didn’t know how to make up for what Benfica and what the president did for him.”