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5 famous football jinxes which have stood the test of time

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#2 Benfica’s inability to break the curse of Béla Guttman

bela guttman
Gutmann guided Benfica to successive European Cups in 1961 and 1962

Bela Guttman – the manager whose curse Benfica are yet to break

Bela Guttmann might have been a master tactician, won loads of trophies as a manager, might have pioneered the 4-2-4 formation along with Márton Bukovi and Gusztáv Sebes, mentored the legendary Portuguese forward Eusébio and come up with gems like “the third season is fatal” and advocated the need for not staying at a club for more than two years, but he will always be remembered for just one thing. Not just by the people in Benfica but football fans all over the world as well.

After winning back-to-back European Cups in 1961 and 1962, the latter against Real Madrid in Amsterdam, Benfica’s coach Bela Guttmann walked into the board room requesting for a pay-rise. Having guided his side to the pinnacle of European football twice in two seasons, the Hungarian was well within his right to ask for a raise in his contract. But, he was rejected and Guttmann promptly proceeded to walk out of the club. But not before he cursed the club and declared:  "Not in a hundred years from now will Benfica ever be European champion". 

Benfica have gone on to lose all eight of their subsequent European finals, including five European Cup finals (1963, 1965, 1968, 1988, and 1990), and three UEFA Cup/ Europa League finals (1983, 2013 and 2014). Before the 1990 final, which was played in Vienna, where Guttmann was buried, Eusébio even prayed at his grave and asked for the curse to be broken, but it has been of no avail as Benfica just cannot seem to win a European final no matter how hard they try.