Benfica chief claims UEFA want Juventus to progress

The vice president of the Portuguese side believes the governing body is hoping for an Italian success rather than his club advancing to the final.

Benfica vice president Silvio Cervan has suggested UEFA would rather Juventus make the Europa League final rather than his side.

The final of this season's competition is in Turin and Cervan believes European football's governing body would rather have Juve in next month's showpiece in its own stadium rather than Benfica.

No Italian side has won a European title since 2010 when Inter won the Champions League, while you have to go back to Parma's 1999 victory for success in the UEFA Cup or Europa League.

Cervan believes this lack of success is something UEFA would like to see change, but he hopes his side can progress.

"It's a long time since an Italian team last won in Europe," Cervan is quoted by Italian media. "I have no doubts that, particularly for commercial interests, UEFA would like to see Juventus go to the final and win the tournament.

"They would also want to have a team with great history in the European Super Cup in Cardiff. But we are a great club too, as shown by our sixth place in the European rankings. Football is great if it's only played on the pitch. But if there are outside interests that surround it, it’s not worth believing in the beauty of football anymore."

Thursday sees the second leg of their semifinal at the Juventus Stadium with Benfica holding a 2-1 advantage from the first meeting, and head coach Jorge Jesus insists his side is heading to Italy looking to attack.

"We firmly believe we must score," Jesus said. "We have the players who can help us to do that. Thanks to their great characteristics and technical qualities, we can think about playing an offensive game.

"We know that we face a tough match. Benfica have the advantage having won the first match, but we will not change who we are."