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Benfica reject AEK Athens' loan offer – for their eagle mascot

Athens president Dimitris Melissanidis, who is also known as "Tiger", reportedly wanted to borrow Benfica's mascot eagle to celebrate the inauguration of their new stadium, Agia Sophia, ahead of the Greek Super League season opener next month.

It is customary at Benfica home games for the bird to fly from the top of the Estadio da Luz pre-match and drop down onto the pitch, and so Melissanidis wanted to witness the same in Athens.

Added motivation came with the AEK Athens crest featuring a two-headed eagle, a symbol of the Byzantine Empire. So what could be more appropriate?

But unfortunately Melissanidis was forced to digest the news that Benfica had rejected his offer. The Portuguese champions felt their mascot (and accompanying birds) wouldn't be able to adapt to their new surroundings in time for the spectacle.

In other words: get your own eagle.

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