Football world in mourning as Portugal legend Eusebio dies at 71

The football world is in mourning on Sunday, with the news that Portugal legend Eusebio has passed away at the age of 71.

Born in Mozambique on 25 January 1942, Eusebio da Silva Ferreira went on to play 64 times for Portugal, scoring 41 goals in the process. At the 1966 World Cup Finals, held in England, he helped his nation reach third place in the competition, and on a personal level, he ended the tournament as top goalscorer with nine goals.

At club level, the man nicknamed ‘The Black Panther’ or ‘The Black Pearl’ made his name with Benfica, for whom he spent 15 years with. During this time he won 11 league titles, five Taca de Portugal’s, and the European Cup when, in 1962, when they edged past Tottenham Hotspur in the last four before he scored twice in a 5-3 final win over Real Madrid.

He again reached the European Cup final in 1968, when Benfica were defeated 4-2 by Manchester United at Wembley. By this time he had enjoyed perhaps his most prolific season of his career, scoring 50 goals in 35 appearances in all competitions.

Eusebio was named European Football of the Year in 1965, and by the time he hung up his boots he has recorded an incredible 733 goals in 745 professional matches. He had been admitted to hospital on a number of occasions in recent times for the treatment of heart and respiratory problems, and sadly lost his battle on Sunday.

Current Portugal captain and goal machine Cristiano Ronaldo was among those to pay tribute: “Always eternal, Eusebio, rest in peace,” he wrote on twitter. Another Portuguese legend, Luis Figo, tweeted: “The king! Great loss for all of us! The greatest!” And current Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho told RTP: “I think he is immortal.”


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