Nicolas Gaitan must seek pastures new away from Benfica

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Benfica's Nicolas Gaitan scored the fastest goal in this season's Champions League last Wednesday, but ultimately it was to no avail.

Goals from Selcuk Inan and Lukas Podolski secured Galatasaray the three points, bringing to an end the Portuguese's 100% start to the tournament.

Gaitan was a rare shining light for Benfica in a game they were expected to get a result from, with defeat placing their hopes of making the cut for the last 16 in doubt.


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Rui Vitoria's side have failed to progress past the group stages in their last three attempts, meaning for continual disappointment amongst his players, most notably Gaitan.

This poses a question, then: why, for all the Argentine's undoubted ability, does he remain at Benfica?

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Well, there are two reasons: he wants to remain loyal to a club that gave him his chance in European football, and because a bigger club is yet to take a leap of faith with him. 

Players like Gaitan are often a risk - they can entertain and delight the crowd one week, but then be completely anonymous the next. His performances for Benfica in the past few seasons, however, suggest he is a risk worth taking.

His situation is similar to that of Christian Eriksen when he was at Ajax - there was a lot of hype around him, but for a while there were no clubs willing to gamble. Luckily for Spurs, they took the chance and have since thrived from his creativity. It's likely that Gaitan would experience a similar journey.

As loyal as the 27-year-old has been to Benfica, any talented footballer dreams of winning trophies with the best clubs in the world. Benfica can offer the opportunity to compete for the domestic title every season, but is that enough to keep Gaitan satisfied?

We have seen success stories from Portuguese clubs in European competitions before in the shape of Jose Mourinho's victorious Porto side, but that seems to be an exception as opposed to the rule. Gaitan would love to win the Champions League, or even reach the knockout stages with Benfica - the question is, though: how long is he willing to wait?

Rumours circulating the Estadio Da Luz suggest this could be Gaitan's last season at Benfica, and with many Manchester United fans losing faith in Wayne Rooney, the Red Devils may have already lined up their replacement. 

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