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The Top 10 Greatest Footballers of all time No. 7 – Eusebio

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Football has seen many great players over the years, many of which were, and continue, to be household names around the globe. The game has changed drastically, but the talent of the players has not, and many of the players who are commonly regarded as some of the best of all time plied their trade well-before the game turned into the mega-business it now is. Every sport has their all-time legends and contemporary stars, and none more so than football, and comparing players of different generations is an impossible task.

Here at The Sports Lowdown, we attempt to do just that. In our top 10 countdown, our specialist team of football writers will formulate a list of the greatest players of all time in reverse order, commencing at 8am on Monday and finishing at 6pm that same day.

Pele? Maradona? Messi? Zidane? Keep a watchful eye on proceedings at The Sports Lowdown to find out who we have picked as our top 10 players of all time, and as usual we would love to hear your views, so any comments would be greatly appreciated!


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No. 7 – Eusebio

Eusebio da Silva Ferreira was undoubtedly an exceptional footballer; born in Mozambique but with a Portuguese nationality he grew to be one of the greatest players the game has ever seen. He was known for his lightening pace and technique with a thunderous right-foot which made him one of the most clinical strikers in the history of football. He scored 733 times in 745 professional matches so there is no reason why he should not be on the list of football’s greatest players.

After his mother turned down reported interest from Juventus, Eusebio began his senior career at the age of 15 at Sporting de Lourenço Marques, a team in Mozambique. The potential he showed at a young age soon reached the surface as he excelled in his last couple of seasons with the club. He scored a total of 77 goals in just 42 appearances for the side and helped his team win the Campeonato Provincial de Moçambique title in his final season; the top division of Mozambique football.

His goal scoring record began to attract interest from a number of scouts and the approach from Benfica was preferred by Eusebio and his family in 1960 while he was in his late teens. It took a long while for him to become a registered Benfica player but he made his debut in a friendly against Atlético Clube de Portugal, where he scored a hat-trick. Another one of his early Benfica appearances came against Pele’s Santos in which he came off the bench to score a 17-minute hat-trick in a 6-3 defeat in the final of the Tournoi de Paris.

Eusebio’s second season with Benfica was where he began to get noticed on a worldwide scale. He scored 12 goals in 17 matches and Benfica finished 3rd in the Primeira Divisão, now the Primeira Liga. In that season however Benfica won the Taça de Portugal with Eusebio scoring two goals in the final and the European Cup with another two Eusebio goals in the final against Real Madrid. In the modern game a team’s achievements can massively contribute to individual accolades, but Eusebio was only awarded the Ballon d’Or runner-up in that 1961-62 season. While he was at the club, Benfica were runners-up three times in the European Cup.

During his 15-year spell with Benfica, Eusebio scored a remarkable tally of 638 goals in 614 official matches. He later went on to play in America and Mexico before returning to Portugal in the latter stages of his career.

Eusebio also performed exceptionally on the international stage with Portugal and earned his first call-up following an impressive start to his term at Benfica. His debut came in a 4-2 defeat to Luxembourg, a bitter-sweet affair as he did score his first goal for his country.

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His most memorable international period was during the 1966 World Cup held in England. Portugal were drawn against Bulgaria, Hungary and reigning champions Brazil. He scored one goal against Bulgaria and two against Brazil who were without Pele; this victory knocked Brazil out of the tournament. The quarter-final saw something extremely special from Eusebio as Portugal were 3-0 down to North Korea, but four unanswered goals from their star man sparked an incredible comeback to win 5-3. They lost 2-1 to England in the semi-final with Eusebio scoring the only goal for Portugal; a game to remember for most football fans as Eusebio walked off the pitch in tears. He also scored in the third place play-off; his ninth goal of the tournament which saw him win the Golden Boot.

Eusebio went on to be capped 64 times for Portugal, scoring 41 goals in the process. He was the leading goal scorer for his country for decades until Pauleta and Cristiano Ronaldo both went on to break his record.

He was been credited with many accolades over his established career with his teams; the most notable of which being the European Cup title, ten Primeira Liga titles, five Taça de Portugal titles and third place in the World Cup.

Individually he has been awarded a number of honours including the Ballon d’Or in 1965, the FIFA World Cup Golden Boot and Bronze Ball, the European Cup top scorer on three occasions and the BBC Overseas Sports Personality of the Year in 1966.

Eusebio was appreciated amongst football fans and critics around the world during his time and even after his retirement he was an ambassador of football and one of football’s most recognisable faces. Many Portuguese fans even rate him higher than contemporary hero Cristiano Ronaldo – and that speaks volumes about his footballing ability.

Sadly on 5th January 2014 the Portuguese legend died of a heart failure at the age of 71.

He is now known as the Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi of his generation and will always be remembered for his flair and professionalism. Eusebio was a great player to watch with talent in abundance and he captured the hearts of football fans around the world, giving them many memories to look back on. There is no doubt about it he is one of the greatest football players to ever grace the game.

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Thank you for reading this article: I hope it has been an informative and enjoyable read, and any comments would be greatly appreciated.

@TheSportLowdown  @MarkShep_Lcfc

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About Mark Sheppard

I am an 18-year-old Journalism and Media student at De Montfort University, Leicester. I enjoy writing, especially about sport because my interests involve football, snooker, rugby, F1 and tennis.

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