Diego Simeone has admitted that winger Eduardo Salvio was sold to Benfica for financial reasons.
In declarations to Portuguese daily O Jogo the Argentine said he regarded his compatriot as a ‘high-class player’ and that the decision to offload him to the Lisbon club was purely a monetary one.
Salvio was sold to Benfica for more than €10m in late July after previously being on loan at the Estadio Da Luz during the 2010-11 season, when he excelled, and Simeone confessed he would have been happy to keep the player in his 22-man squad.
Salvio had featured in 28 of the 31 games since Simeone took charge but, with the retention of other players more of a priority, ended up being transferred to Benfica.
“The financial efforts made to keep hold of [Radamel] Falcao, Adrian [Lopez] and Arda Turan meant he was shown the exit door,” said Simeone.
The offer from the Eagles allowed Los Rojiblancos to make a profit on their investment in the 22-year-old two years ago, having paid Lanus close to €8m for his services.