Former Portuguese winger Simao Sabrosa has finally discussed his failed transfer to Liverpool in 2006, citing a last minute decision from Benfica’s president Luis Filipe Vieira as the reason the move broke down, according to an exclusive interview with The Express.
Rafa Benitez was desperate to secure the services of Simao at the time, who was fresh off from knocking Manchester United out of the Champions League the previous season, and a move was all but done.
However, Simao has revealed in the interview the true reasons as to why the move ultimately broke down and he ended up staying put with the Portuguese giants.
“I did not sign because, in the last minute, the president of Benfica said no,” he stated.
“We had an agreement, I was ready to take the plane to fly to Liverpool.”
“I’m at the airport and the president calls me to tell me I have no authorisation to go.”
“I was told to fly back to the national team.”
“I did not know what happened.”
Simao was told to return to Benfica by his agent and a deal to play at Anfield failed to materialise; chief executive of Liverpool at the time Rick Parry claimed the story leaking to the press prematurely generated “such a strong reaction they felt they couldn’t sell.”
Although a blow for both player and club, Simao went on to become a cult hero at Benfica, scoring 94 goals in 227 appearances, as well as capturing the Primeira Liga on one occasion.
He later went on to enjoy stints with the likes of Atletico Madrid and Besiktas, as well as a fruitful career with the national side, until his retirement from football in 2015.