The Uruguayan international signed for the Dragoes on Wednesday after seven seasons spent with the Aguias before his contract expired in June.
“I spent a year saying that I wanted to stay at Benfica, but I reached the end of my contract, then I came to the Copa America and my future could go either way,” Pereira told Uruguayan media following his decision, via La Voz de Galicia.
Additional salt in the wounds of the club’s most loyal supporters was that the 31-year-old defender’s transfer cost Porto absolutely nothing.
Pereira became the second key figure to leave the Aguias this summer after their title-winning 2014/15 campaign, following the former coach Jorge Jesus, who went across town to coach Sporting after leading Benfica to three Primeira Liga titles, one Taca de Portugal (Portuguese Cup), and five Taca da Liga (League Cups) in his six-year tenure at the Estadio da Luz.
Pereira’s numbers for Benfica – 327 appearances, 21 goals, and 10 domestic trophies – also explain why his departure is such a heavy blow for the Encarnados’ faithful.