Eusébio da Silva Ferreira, GCIH, GCM (Portuguese pronunciation: born 25 January 1942 in Mozambique - then a colony of Portugal), popularly known simply as Eusébio, is a Portuguese former football forward of Mozambican origin. He helped the Portugal national team reach third place at the 1966 World Cup, being the top goalscorer of the tournament with nine goals (six of which were scored at Goodison Park) and was elected the European Footballer of the Year in 1965. He played at the club Benfica for 15 years, and is the team's all-time top scorer.
Nicknamed "The Black Panther", or "The Black Pearl", Eusébio scored 727 goals in 715 games. Eusebi is also known for his speed and his powerful, accurate right-footed strike.
Eusébio is considered Benfica's and Portugal's most renowned player and the
first world-class African striker. Eusébio was elected the 9th best footballer
of the 20th century in a poll by the IFFHS. Pelé named Eusébio as one of the 125
best living footballers in his 2004 FIFA 100 list. In November 2003, to
celebrate UEFA's Jubilee, he was selected as the Golden Player of Portugal by
the Portuguese Football Federation as their most outstanding player of the past
Eusébio was born in Lourenço Marques (now Maputo), Portuguese East Africa (Mozambique). He moved to Lisbon in his late teens, and in 1961, Eusébio joined S.L. Benfica as an 18 year old from his local club, Sporting Club of Lourenço Marques, for £7500.
In 1962, Eusébio won the European Cup with Benfica, scoring two goals in the final against Real Madrid. Benfica won 5-3. Benfica were also European Cup runners-up in 1963, 1965 and 1968.
Eusébio was the 1965 European Footballer of the Year and in 1968 was the first winner of the Golden Boot Award, as Europe's leading scorer, a feat he repeated five years later. The Portuguese First Division's top scorer seven times from 1964 to 1973, he helped Benfica to 11 league championships (1961, 1963-65, 1967-69, 1971-73, 1975) and five cup wins (1962, 1964, 1969, 1970, 1972). He scored 727 goals in 715 matches wearing Benfica's jersey, including 317 goals in 301 Portuguese league matches.
In 1976-77 and 1977-78, Eusébio played for two minor Portuguese teams, S.C. Beira-Mar, in I Division, and União de Tomar, in the II Division.
Eusébio also played in the North American Soccer League (NASL), for three different teams, from 1975 to 1977: Boston Minutemen (1975), Toronto Metros-Croatia (1976) and Las Vegas Quicksilver (1977). His most successful season in the NASL was in 1976 with Toronto Metros-Croatia. He scored in their 3-0 victory at the 76 Soccer Bowl to win the NASL title. The same year, he played ten games for Monterrey in the Mexican league.
The following season (1977), Eusébio signed for the Las Vegas Quicksilver. This was to be a very disappointing end to Eusébio's career. By this time, injuries had taken their toll on The Black Panther, and Eusébio was constantly receiving medical treatment whilst playing for the Quicksilver. During the season he only managed to score two goals.
Although Eusébio's knees robbed him of his ability to continue in the NASL, Eusébio wanted to continue to play soccer.
Eusébio found a home in 1978 with the New Jersey Americans of the second-tier
American Soccer League (ASL). He was forced to retire for good at the conclusion
of the season.
This Eusebio Biography Page is Copyright © 2004 - 2009 Chuck Ayoub