Jota’s emotional tribute to mentor and Benfica legend Fernando Chalana

When Jota scored his howitzer of a goal to add to his repertoire of sensational strikes for the Scottish Champions, he held his hand upwards and gestured his wrist towards the TV cameras and stands at Rugby Park. Many wandered why this was but now it has all come to light in what is a heart-warming tribute to a Benfica legend and a mentor to our Superstar from Portugal.

The Celtic winger revealed it was a tribute to the late, great Fernando Chalana, whom was a mentor to the young Jota when coming through the ranks at the Stadium of Light. Speaking after the match to Sky Sports, he said:

“This week was sad for me because Fernando Chalana died. He was one of Benfica’s most glorious players. He was someone who marked me through my life. He always believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself, so this one was for him. He kept saying to me, ‘Don’t be like the others, try to be different. Every game I play I will just play for him.”

Fernando Chalana during the match OM / Bordeaux, on February 23, 1985 in Marseille. – Ex-Portugal midfielder Fernando Chalana has died aged 63, his former club Benfica announced on August 10, 2022. (Photo by GERARD FOUET,PIERRE CIOT/AFP via Getty Images)

It has been quite the emotional week for both Celtic and Benfica, as we both lost men who were part of the fabric in our respective club’s histories. The passing of John ‘Yogi’ Hughes and Fernando Chalana reminds us all of the luxury of life and why we should enjoy the things that we are passionate about to the maximum whilst we can. For many of us, football is that thing that manages to make the heart beat a little faster and it should be cherished forever.

Paul Gillespie

About Author

I'm a Garngad Bhoy through and through. My first ever Celtic game was a friendly against Italian side Parma at Celtic Park, in 2002. Currently a student of English Literature and Education at the University of Strathclyde for my sins. Favourite game would be a toss up between beating Manchester United with that Naka freekick, or the game against the Oldco when Hesselink scored in the dying seconds. I'm still convinced Cal Mac is wasted playing that far back.

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