Reading broke the news this week that they are scheduled to end their week-long pre-season camp at St Georges Park with a behind-closed-doors friendly against former European Cup winners Benfica.

The Portuguese side are the most successful domestic club in the country with 80 domestic trophies, now home to the likes of Jan Vertonghen and Joao Mario.

They are not the only Champions of Europe, or even Champions of the World, that the Royals have battled against in pre-season’s over the last 15 years.


Reading Chronicle:


River Plate and Lyon- 2007

Famous opponents in the club’s Peace Cup journey, then-Premier League Reading were one of two English sides travelling to South Korea for the eight-team invitational tournament.

Bolton Wanderers and Steve Coppell’s Reading were spilt into two groups of four, pitting the Royals against River Plate, Lyon, and Shimizu S-Pulse of Japan.

Winners of Ligue 1 under Gerard Houllier the year before, Les Gones have won seven top-flight titles (all coming in seven successive years from 2002-2008) and have reached the final four of the Champions League on two occasions.

A teenage Simon Cox scored the only goal of the game as Reading trumped the French side in Seoul.

Brynjar Gunnarsson scored in a win of the same score line over the Japanese opponents, but the Royals lost to the River Plate.

The most successful side in Argentina, they have also won four Copa Libertadores and an Intercontinental Cup- they were even voted ninth in FIFA’s Club of the Century poll in 2000.


Chelsea- 2009

A side played much more regularly than Lyon or River Plate, the Royals have won three in 20 competitive fixtures.

Meeting in friendlies in both 2009 and 2019, Reading failed to win both. A 2-2 draw in 2009, with goals from Jimmy Kebe and Scott Davies, was overshone in an incredible 3-4 defeat in front of a full house at the then-Madejski Stadium.

Mason Mount stole the show was a brace, but Josh Barrett scored a stunning goal in what was to be his final season in a Reading shirt.

The Blues were most recent Premier League champions in 2017 but won the Champions League in 2021 as well as 2011.

They are the only English club to win the Champions League, Europa League, and European Cup Winners Cup, even being declared Champions of the World in 2022.


Reading Chronicle:


Besiktas- 2018

16-time winners of the Turkish top-flight, Reading fought from two down to draw with late goals from Sam Smith and Marc McNulty.

They won the division unbeaten in 1992 and have been European Cup quarter finalists on one occasion in the 1980s, as they have also done in the Europa League in 2003 and 2017.

Despite this success, they are still just the second most successful Turkish side, behind Galatasaray.


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Sevilla- 2019

An 86th minute winner was enough for the Spanish giants to squeeze past Jose Gomes’ Reading in 2019 after Andrija Novakovich had put the Royals into a second half lead.

The most successful club in Europa League history with six titles, they are Spain’s oldest dedicated football club, however, have won La Liga just once in 1946.