Sport Lisboa e Benfica, ComC, MHIH, OM, commonly known as Benfica, is a Portuguese sports club based in Lisbon, Portugal. It is best known for the professional football team playing in the Primeira Liga, the top flight of Portuguese football. Benfica are the current Portuguese champions, having won four consecutive league titles.
Founded on 28 February 1904 as Sport Lisboa, Benfica is one of the “Big Three” clubs in Portugal that have never been relegated from the Primeira Liga, along with rivals Sporting CP and FC Porto. The Benfica team is nicknamed Águias (Eagles) for the symbol atop the club’s crest, and Encarnados (Reds) for the shirt colour. Since 2003, their home ground has been the Estádio da Luz, which replaced the original one, built in 1954. Benfica is the most supported Portuguese club, with an estimated 14 million supporters worldwide, and the European club with the highest percentage of supporters in its own country. By the end of 2016, Benfica had 184,264 paying members. The club’s official anthem, “Ser Benfiquista”, refers to its supporters who are called benfiquistas. Benfica has been honoured with three Portuguese Orders: those of Christ (Commander), of Prince Henry (Honorary Member), and of Merit (Officer).
With 79 domestic titles and 81 titles overall won – 82 including the Latin Cup – Benfica is the most decorated club in Portugal. They have won a record 36 Primeira Liga titles, a record 26 Taça de Portugal, a record 7 Taça da Liga, 7 Supertaça Cândido de Oliveira and 3 Campeonato de Portugal. Internationally, Benfica won back-to-back European Cups, in 1961 and 1962, a unique feat in Portuguese football. In addition, they were runners-up at the Intercontinental Cup in 1961 and ’62, at the European Cup in 1963, ’65, ’68, ’88 and ’90, and at the UEFA Cup/Europa League in 1983, 2013 and ’14. They have reached ten European finals, a domestic record that ranked seventh all-time among UEFA clubs in 2014. Furthermore, they hold the European record for the most consecutive wins in domestic league and the record for the longest unbeaten run in Primeira Liga, in which they became the first undefeated champions, in 1972–73.
Benfica was ranked twelfth in the FIFA Club of the Century award, and ranked ninth in “Europe’s Club of the Century” by IFFHS. As of the end of the 2016–17 season, Benfica is ranked ninth in the UEFA club coefficient rankings – the best position of a Portuguese club – and has the second most participations in the European Cup/UEFA Champions League.