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Triantafilos Machairidis, one of the Greek players at the centre of Benfica's court case with PAOK over unpaid transfer fees, has announced that he will not return to the Stadium of Light next season.

The midfielder, who did not settle at the club after signing in December 1999, claims to have family problems requiring him to remain in Greece.

Benfica reacted suspiciously to Machairidis' comments and threatened to report him to Fifa for deserting the team.

Eagles chairman Dr. Vale e Azevedo said, "Machairidis informed us that he is facing personal problems and cannot return to Lisbon" and added that the board were investigating the "strange" situation and would soon decide what to do.

Inevitably, speculation about the right-sided player's strike centred on whether Benfica owed him a substantial amount in wages, as they do to various players, among them ex-Liverpool midfielder Michael Thomas and former manager Graeme Souness.

However, the debt-ridden club maintained that the Greek player had been paid.
 

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Man if we Benfica fans were to ever take these reports that are posted here seriously...we wouldn't even field a team in the third division...the debt, the politics, the fact that none of our players are paid...That's why Joao Vale e Azevedo is a genius :D How does he do it?? :)
 
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