Eusébio the winner of the first European Golden Boot died today

Eusebio - Portugal

Eusébio a former portuguese soccer player (born in Mozambique) and one of the best football players worldwide in the 1960’s and 1970’s, passed away today age 71 (cardiac arrest). Eusébio was the first Portuguese football player that reach worldwide stardom, preceding Luis Figo, Rui Costa and Cristiano Ronaldo.

He was the leading player for Sport Lisboa e Benfica and his reign in Benfica squad was hugely responsible for the slightly bigger popularity of Benfica among the three big Portuguese soccer teams: Sporting Clube de Portugal and Futebol Clube do Porto. He was also the most influential player in the Portuguese National Team with which reached the third place in the 1966 World Cup played in England (still the best result for Portugal in a World Cup).

Probably the best obituary of this soccer legend written so far can be read in the piece by The Guardian’s Gavin McOwan: “Eusébio obituary“. An excerpt:

“Eusébio, who has died aged 71, was the greatest African footballer in the history of the game. He moved from his native Mozambique to the Portuguese club Benfica in 1961, blazing a trail from poverty to stardom that scores of young African footballers would follow, though none since has played with such grace or reached the benchmark he set.

He was the prototype of a complete 21st-century striker, decades ahead of his time; a superb athlete (he ran the 100 metres in 11 seconds at the age of 16) with explosive acceleration who could leave defenders trailing in his wake. He could also dribble, was good in the air and possessed a fearsome and highly accurate right foot. (…)”

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