Rest In Peace Eusebio
Posted: 5 January 2014 Time: 12:33
Former European Footballer of the Year Eusebio died from a heart attack on Sunday at the age of 71, Portuguese media reported.
The death of the charismatic striker, whose full name was Eusebio da Silva Ferreira and was known as the ‘Black Panther’ and idolised throughout the Portuguese-speaking world, was confirmed by state television and the country’s sports dailies.
Eusebio was European Footballer of the Year in 1965, but won world acclaim the year after at the World Cup in England, where Portugal reached the semifinal and he scored nine goals.
He won 64 caps and scored 41 goals, a record that stood for almost two decades before being broken.
He was a European Cup winner with Benfica in 1963 and played in three other finals, including the loss to Manchester United at Wembley in 1968.
He hailed from Lourenco Marques, now Maputo, in colonial Mozambique and, as a teenage prodigy, was supposed to go to Benfica’s great rivals Sporting Lisbon but changed his mind at the last minute.
Even though he played for Portugal he was widely regarded the best known African player of all-time, until the emergence in more recent times of George Weah, Samuel Eto’o, Didier Drogba and Abedi Pele.
Eusebio ended his career playing in the US but returned to Portugal to various roles with Benfica and thee Portuguese federation. He was in his later years referred to the ‘O Rei’ (the king), enjoying widespread affection.
He has had several health scares in recent years.