Eusebio da Silva Ferreira, more commonly known as Eusebio, is regarded as Portugal’s greatest ever striker. Eusebio was born on 25th January 1942 in present day Mozambique and played club football for Benfica in Portugal and represented Portugal at international level. He is remembered vividly as a star of the 1966 World Cup, held in England
Eusebio was known for his blistering pace and phenomenal right foot, which earned him the nickname, ‘The Black Pearl’. The young Eusebio was discovered when a scout from Brazilian club Sao Paulo was touring Europe and Africa. At that time Eusebio was playing for a feeder club of Portuguese giants, Sporting Club Lisbon. Sporting Lisbon was so furious that Eusebio had been transferred to Benfica, that the club had to hide the Black Pearl, in a fishing village in the Algarve until the completion of contract disputes.
Eusebio went on to play for Benfica for 15 years and won 11 league titles, five Portuguese cups along with, European player of the year. He was the first player to win the European Golden Boot award in 1968. Benfica successfully defended the European Cup and Eusebio was the difference in a 5-3 victory over Real Madrid in Holland.
Eusebio’s influence in the Portuguese national team coincided with the era when many African nations were gaining independence from European colonial powers. However, the Portuguese would not allow self-determination.
This led to Eusebio heading to the North American Soccer League (NASL) for one last lucrative payday. He would win the NASL with Toronto Metro-Croatia before becoming an ambassador for Portuguese club Benfica. Eusebio passed away on 5th January 2014.