Mens Team

Nicolas Otamendi joins Benfica

Nicolas Otamendi joins Benfica
Nicolas Otamendi has left Manchester City and signed a permanent deal with Benfica.

The 32-year-old defender embarks on a new challenge in Portugal after five years of fantastic service during which he helped the Club lift every major honour in English football.

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In total, Otamendi made 210 appearances, scoring 11 goals and he departs a two-time Premier League champion, with four League Cup medals to his name and having lifted the FA Cup in 2019.

He also won the Community Shield on two occasions.

“They were five wonderful years, not just in a footballing sense, but also at a club where they treat you in the best way possible, from the chefs to the kitmen, through to the backroom staff,” he told mancity.com.

“I’ve had the opportunity to win two Premier Leagues, to win the Carabao Cup, the FA Cup and the Community Shield. If you win titles it is because you are doing things well, and so I’m happy to have enjoyed these moments, and more than grateful.

“I was lucky enough since the first year I arrived to win a trophy, and later with the arrival of Pep to win even more. I am just happy to have played my part, with the support of my teammates and the staff.

“I [also] wanted to show my gratitude [to the fans]. Since my arrival they have always treated me well, from the people who bump into me in a service station or in a supermarket, they have always been so kind, saying nice things to me.

“I hope they are happy; I gave everything I could to the club, and I hope the success keeps coming. I send all my love to the fans.”

A summer 2015 acquisition, the Argentine arrived from Valencia where he had established himself as one of Europe’s leading defenders.

On signing, he said: “I am here to give my best, to fight game by game and push City to the highest peaks for as long as possible,” and it is a promise he certainly delivered on.

A robust, physically imposing defender who loves to tackle, Otamendi’s committed style was well suited to English football and after winning the League Cup with Manuel Pellegrini in his first season, he flourished under Pep Guardiola.

The 2017/18 campaign was the best of his City career and the combination of his defensive qualities and passing ability made him a key figure in our Premier League triumph and earned him inclusion in the PFA Team of the Year.

He will be fondly remembered for his winning goal in the Manchester derby at Old Trafford during that stellar season and he continued to play an important role in the years that followed.

The Argentine turned out 33 times in 2018/19, writing his name into the history books as part of a City squad that achieved an unprecedented clean sweep of all four English honours in a single campaign.

Last season, he played 39 games, winning his fourth League Cup and the ninth trophy since his arrival.

City Director of Football Txiki Begiristain led the tributes to the defender: “Nico’s contribution over the last five years cannot be underestimated.

“Every time he has stepped on the pitch, he has given his all for the Club and his commitment and passion for the game has been an example to all.

“He has helped us achieve great things and has played an important role in all of our recent success.

“I would like to thank Nico for his efforts and I wish him all the best for the rest of his career.”

Everyone at the Club echoes Txiki’s sentiments and wishes Nico good luck for the future.

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