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Rui Costa elected president of scandal-hit Benfica

Benfica members have elected former Portuguese international Rui Costa as president to replace Luis Filipe Vieira who was arrested in July.

The club said on Saturday that Costa, 49, comfortably won the election for a four-year term, collecting 84.48 per cent of the votes against 12.24 per cent for his opponent, Francisco Benitez.

The club said that slightly more than 40,000 of its members voted, a record turnout.

Costa, who is from Lisbon, was an attacking midfielder who started and ended his playing career with Benfica. In between, he spent seven seasons at Fiorentina and five at AC Milan. He played 94 times for Portugal.

He was vice-president and took interim control of the club when Vieira resigned after he was arrested and placed under house arrest.

Portugal’s Public Prosecution Service said they were investigating possible “breach of trust, aggravated fraud, forgery, tax fraud and money laundering.” 

Vieira, 72, had been in charge at Benfica for 18 years, a record for longevity.

During that time Benfica won seven Portuguese league titles and recovered from financial difficulties caused by previous scandals.

Benfica finished third in the Portuguese league last season, the second in a row in which they failed to win a trophy.

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