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Benfica and Porto being forced to sell their best players?

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For some teams, success enables you to bring in a better quality of player as you look to build on your achievements - but not in Portugal it seems.

Year after year, the Primeira Liga's top two teams, Porto and Benfica, face a familiar battle; keeping hold of their brightest talents.

Portuguese football has developed somewhat of a selling culture, whereby the better their teams perform at home and in Europe, the more likely they are to spend their summer trying to avoid constant transfer speculation while attempting to bat away the interest of Europe's elite.

So far this summer they've been successful in fending off interest in their brightest talents, but it seems the only reason why the Primeira Liga is yet to lose a major star since the season's end is the small matter of the 2014 World Cup.

There's certainly been plenty of speculation, even with the greatest football show on earth in full swing, barely a day goes by when we don't read of Manchester United's interest in Nicolas Gaitan, Manchester City's continued attempts to sign Fernando or Liverpool's battle to beat Chelsea to Lazar Markovic. But why should these clubs have to so often threat about having their star players poached?

Just last season Benfica won an historic domestic treble and came within a penalty shoot-out of lifting the Europa League, yet rather than turn their attentions to strengthening their team they've been forced to focus on turning down transfer approaches from Premier League and La Liga clubs. Likewise Porto, who have won nine league titles in the previous 12 seasons, know they're likely to once again lose their star striker this summer.

In previous years big money offers have tempted the likes of Radamel Falcao and Hulk away from Estadio do Dragao and this summer Jackson Martinez is the man being linked with clubs in England and Italy.

The truth of the matter is, the Primeira Liga is not the league big stars want to play in. Though Porto and Benfica regularly qualify for the group stages of the Champions League, the lack of quality in the domestic league is there for all to see. Meanwhile in Europe, simply qualifying for the Champions League isn't enough when genuine title contenders come calling.

Since 2010, Angel di Maria, Fabio Coentrao, David Luiz and Ramires have all won the Champions League having left Benfica for the Premier League or La Liga. While Porto's list of alumni contains Joao Moutinho, James Rodriguez, Bruno Alves and Raul Meireles, as well as the aforementioned Hulk and Falcao.

The problem is also all too evident within the national team.

Of the eleven that started Portugal's catastrophic 4-0 World Cup defeat to Germany, only goalkeeper Rui Patricio plays his football in his home nation, and the Sporting keeper is joined by just six other Primeira Liga players in Paulo Bento's squad. While it's easy to see why the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Pepe, and João Pereira have chosen to play their football in La Liga, it must frustrate fans of Portuguese football to see Bruno Alves, Miguel Veloso and Luis Neto plump for the Turkish, Russian and Ukrainian leagues.

With that said, it seems there are two things drawing star players away from Portugal - the chance to thrive among Europe's elite, and money. Until Porto and Benfica can again challenge in the Champions League, or at least offer the kind of wages Zenit St. Petersburg, Fenerbahce and Dynamo Kyiv pay, the brightest stars in the Primeira Liga will continue to flee to Europe to further their careers.

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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