Simao deal collapses
By Mark Buckingham. Last Updated: January 1, 1970 1:00am
Benfica have pulled the plug on Simao Sabrosa's proposed move to Liverpool.
The Portugal international appeared primed to join the European champions after passing a medical earlier on Wednesday.
Simao had been allowed to leave Portugal's training camp to finalise his switch to Anfield, with The Reds due to pay é¼15 million (£10 million) for the wide man.
But Benfica have backed out of the deal at the 11th hour, to leave Liverpool frustrated in their efforts to bring in a right winger.
The reason for the failure to conclude a deal was a change in Benfica's demands as they wanted é¼20 million (£13.6 million), while The Reds only went as far as é¼18 million (£12.3 million).
Benfica were reluctant to lose their captain, despite the enormity of Liverpool's bid, and Simao will now stay in Lisbon.
Simao had returned to the Portuguese squad's training headquarters in the early evening fully expecting the final details of his transfer to Liverpool to be completed.
Instead, Simao will have to concentrate on the upcoming World Cup qualifiers in the knowledge a move to The Premiership has collapsed.
Though the player lamented the failure to complete a move to Merseyside, he accepts Benfica's decision to reject the bid.
"The decision is exclusively Benfica's," said Simao. "An offer from the European champions is enormous for any player.
"This is the best thing for me and now I want to follow my work in Benfica 100 percent with the objective of winning the league and the World Cup in Germany next year."
Benfica are also confident Simao will not be affected by the late collapse of his move, according to the club's sporting director Jose Veiga.
"I am convinced that Simao will not be against us because he is a great professional and he has proved this throughout the years he has played for Benfica," Veiga told the Renascenca radio station.
"He is the captain of this team and knowing the spirit of sacrifice, I know that he will put his soul and body into it in order to help us achieve success."
Liverpool have spent a fruitless summer in pursuit of a new right winger, with Simao's name now added to a list containing Luis Figo, Stelios Giannakopoulos and Nolberto Solano as players Rafa Benitez has missed out on.