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Former Portugal midfielder Chalana dies aged 63

Ex-Portugal midfielder Fernando Chalana has died aged 63, his former club Benfica announced on Wednesday.

Chalana, came through their academy before playing 27 times for his country, which included reaching the Euro 1984 semi-finals, losing to eventual winners France.

A mazy attacking midfielder, he also had temporary coaching spells at the helm of Benfica’s senior side and spent time in charge of their youth team.

“Fernando Chalana, our Little Genius, passed away at the age of 63 in the early hours of Wednesday, August 10,” the two-time European Cup winners said.

“One of the great and eternal names in the Benfica Mystique, he joined the Club at the age of 15 and represented it, first as a player for 13 seasons (1974-1984 and 1987-1990), and then, for many years, as a technical element connected to football.

“At this time of mourning, the Benfica flag is at half mast at Estadio da Luz and at the Benfica Campus,” they added.

In 1976, aged 17 years and 25 days, he became the youngest player to feature in the Portuguese top-flight and went on to win six league titles with Benfica. 

He went to win two French championships and two French Cups with Bordeaux before returning to Benfica. He ended his career, aged 33, after brief spells at Belenenses and Estrela Amadora.

Chalana was also nicknamed Chalanix due to his moustache which resembled the comic character, Asterix.

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