Joao Mario to Join Benfica

Joao Mario

Portugal international Joao Mario has left Serie A champions Inter Milan upon the expiry of his contract with the Italian giants, paving the way for him to join Benfica as a free agent.

The 28-year-old struggled to settle in Milan following a big-money transfer from Sporting Lisbon in 2016, and has been on three separate loan spells away from the club in the years since. Fabrizio Romano is reporting that the midfielder’s impending transfer to Benfica is already a done deal, and will be announced in the coming days.

Joao Mario Agrees Benfica Transfer

Central Midfielder Enjoyed West Ham Spell in 2018

Joao Mario is known to Premier League audiences as a result of his six-month loan spell at West Ham United from January until June 2018. The midfielder made 14 appearances for the Hammers, scoring twice.

Prior to that chapter of his career, Joao Mario played a starring role in Portugal’s Euro 2016 triumph. He played in the centre of midfield over the duration of the tournament as Fernando Santos’ side made it through to the final and defeated host nation France to bring home the trophy.

Joao Mario’s form in that tournament was a key factor in Inter Milan’s decision to sign him from Sporting Lisbon for £29 million that summer. In his six years as an Inter Milan player, the 28-year-old made 69 appearances and scored four goals.

Benfica Aiming for Portuguese Title

Benfica finished the 2020/2021 season in third place in the Primeira Liga, nine points behind champions Sporting Lisbon – Joao Mario’s former club.

The two-time European champions won four straight Portuguese league titles from 2014-2017 – and again in 2019 – but were unable to prevent Sporting from clinching a first title for nine years last season.

In a bid to reassert themselves as Portugal’s dominant club, Benfica are set to make Joao Mario their third summer signing. The club have also sold 21-year-old left-back Nuno Tavares to Arsenal for £6.8m plus add-ons.

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