Ex West Ham United ace Joao Mario is doing something truly incredible for Benfica this season.
The 30-year-old joined West Ham on loan from Inter Milan during David Moyes‘ first stint in charge at the London Stadium in January 2018.
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Mario was a big hit with the Hammers, and many fans were disappointed when his loan deal wasn’t made permanent in the summer of 2018.
He bagged two goals in 13 Premier League games for West Ham, before returning to Inter Milan.
The 55-capped Portugal international then spent loan spells with Lokomotiv Moscow and Sporting Lisbon before joining Benfica in the summer of 2021. Interestingly, West Ham were actually linked with a £8.6 million move to bring him back to East London before Benfica signed him.
And Mario has been a huge hit with the Portuguese giants…
Joao Mario on fire for Benfica
The ex-Hammer has been a standout performer in the Primeira Liga this season.
Amazingly at 30, and considering the fact that he a midfielder, he’s the top scorer in the league with 17 goals in 24 games.
Mario is ahead of the likes of Goncalo Ramos and Mehdi Taremi in the goalscoring standings – a truly incredible achievement.
The 30-year-old has six assists in the league to his name as well – that’s some output for a midfielder, albeit one with an attacking persuasion. In fact, he has an incredible 23 goals and 12 assists in 40 games in all competitions for Benfica this season. Six of those goals have come in the Champions League (Transfermarkt).
I always felt like we should have pushed the boat out to keep the Portuguese star at the London Stadium. He’s a top talent and to be producing the goods at 30 with a top club like Benfica really is very impressive.
If Joao Mario ends up leading the goalscoring charts out in Portugal it will be a truly sensational achievement given his age and the position that he plays in. There is still a long way to go though, of course.
Mario’s form this season highlights how we had a really good player on out hands at West Ham five years ago. It’s just such a shame that we didn’t see more of him in a Hammers shirt.
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