Eusebio Dies Aged 71

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Former Portuguese striker Eusebio has died at the age of 71 from cardio-pulmonary arrest, Eusebio da Silva Ferreira was born in Mozambique and he moved to Lisbon after joining Benfica as an 18-year-old from his local club, Sporting Clube de Lourenco Marques.

He had been admitted to hospital several times over the past year for the treatment of heart and respiratory problems.

Famed for his blistering acceleration and dazzling dribbling skills, Eusebio was named European Footballer of the Year in 1965.

He quickly established himself at the Stadium of Light and was the talisman at Benfica during the club’s glory years in the 1960s.
Widely considered one of the best players of all-time, he was voted the European footballer of year once and scored 733 times in 745 professional matches.

Eusebio helped the Eagles retain the European Cup in 1962 when they beat Real Madrid 5-3.

Eusebio helped Benfica reach the 1965 European cup final with two goals in their second leg semi final against Hungarian side Vasos Eto Gyor, but went on to lose 1-0 against Inter Milan.

Eusebio achieved the same feat three years later with Benfica beating Juventus, before losing the final 4-1 to Manchester United.

Eusebio was the Portuguese First Division’s top scorer seven times, and he helped Benfica to 11 league titles and five national cup wins.

His last game for Benfica was in June 1975.

Current Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo was among those to pay tribute.

“Always eternal, Eusebio, rest in peace,” the Real Madrid and former Manchester United striker wrote on Twitter  alongside a picture of both men together.

Former Portuguese winger Luis Figo  tweeted: “The king! Great loss for all of us! The greatest!”

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho called him one of his country’s “great figures.”

Mourinho told state broadcaster RTP: “I think he is immortal. We all know what he meant for football and especially for Portuguese football.

Eusebio factfile:

Born: 25/01/42 in Mozambique.

Early career: Started with Sporting Lourenco-Marques, a nursery club of Sporting Lisbon but was signed by Benfica for £7,500 at the age of 19.

Benfica: Helped side beat Real Madrid 5-3 in the European Cup final in 1962. Won 10 league championships and five cups in his 15 years at Benfica

Portugal: Scored 41 goals in 64 internationals

Starring roles: Named European Footballer of the Year in 1965 and top scorer at the 1966 World Cup with nine goals

“He was not only a great inspiration but also an important figure in upholding the values, principles and feelings of football, even after finishing his career.”

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