Can you spot the wheel? Now you can, right? That’s probably the first detail worth mentioning when talking about S. L. Benfica’s badge. It has a bicycle wheel in it. The reason for it is because Sport Lisboa e Benfica is the product of the merger between two clubs: Sport Lisboa, a football club founded in 1904 in a drugstore in Lisbon, and Sport Clube de Benfica, a club founded in 1906 (as Grupo Sport Benfica) whose main activity was cycling. Cycling was never a big part of S. L. Benfica’s history – even if its fans cherish the sport and find joy in seeing cyclists in red and white – but the wheel remained as a key element of its badge for the last 109 years.
On top of the wheel you can see an eagle with open wings, which was already present in the original Sport Lisboa’s badge, in 1904, and means authority, strength, victory and pride. To the founders of the club and, today, to its fans, it is also a symbol of elevation of intentions and spirit of initiative.
The badge has two separate inscriptions. The one in yellow on a blue background that naturally stands for Sport Lisboa e Benfica and the one in Latin right below the eagle’s claws on a green and red background (Portugal’s national colours): “e pluribus unum”, which means “out of many, one”. It is said that the choice of these specific words was meant to enhance the union and family spirit that characterized the creation of the club.
On a more personal interpretation of the badge and, therefore, more prone to inaccuracies, I believe the colour usage is very telling of the spirit that surrounds the club and its fans. It is not common for a club to have its main rivals’ colours in their badge but SL Benfica is definitely not a common club and the usage of green (Sporting’s colour) and blue (Porto’s colour) is, in my view, just another manifestation of the democratic and inclusive manner in which those who truly understand the Club and its legacy behave.