“Forever Eusebio, Rest in Peace” tweets our very own Christiano Ronaldo, arguably one of the top two current football players. The illustrious Portuguese football legend Eusebio da Silva Ferreira passed away leaving behind a legacy at one of the most celebrated football clubs in the world – Benfica. Eusebio won the Ballon D’or in 1965, the European Cup championship in 1961-62 with Benfica football club and led his country to third place in the 1966 World Club apart from being the top scorer of the tournament. This Mozambique born Portuguese player was born talented. He scored 733 goals in 745 matches for his clubs and country.
Rei (another of his nick names, meaning ‘King’) was known for his athletic physique, mind-blowing speed and infallible technique. It is important to note that the Black Panther took just 11 seconds to complete the 100 metre sprint. The current generation remembers Roberto Carlos, David Beckham and others as free kick specialists, but probably Eusebio was the best free kick specialist of all time. His right foot was worth insuring for a million dollars and the accurate angles created by his shots were nothing short of miracles. The world has not seen a better African player than Eusebio and he was regarded as the first African football champion. He was so important to the clubs back then, that his club Benfica feared he would be kidnapped by rivals Sporting Lisbon and hid him for 12 days under the name of Ruth Malosso, in 1960. Fittingly the first team that Eusebio played for was called the Os Brasilieros (The Brazilians), named after the great Brazilian national football team of the 1950s.
His influence on Portuguese and European football is tremendous and players from Franz Beckenbauer and Bobby Charlton who played along with him in the 1966 World Cup to Gary Linekar, from Ruud Gullit to Luis Figo, from Mourinho to Platini – all have offered their condolences to this great Footballer. While Portugal as a nation mourns his death for three days, Sportzcosmos remembers Black Panther for his humungous contribution to the world of sports in general and to the Football Galaxy in particular!
As Jose Mourinho puts it – “…he is immortal”.