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Eusebio: Career Highlights of the Late Portugal and Benfica Legend

Will Tidey

The world lost a football great on Sunday, with the passing of legendary Portuguese attacker Eusebio at the age of 71—full report from Sky Sports here. He suffered a heart attack early Sunday morning.

Eusebio will be remembered as a devastating forward talent, blessed with frightening pace and a fiercely powerful shot. He was a European Cup winner with Benfica in 1962, European Footballer of the Year in 1965 and top scorer at the 1966 World Cup.

Here follows a brief summary of a playing career that ranks among the most celebrated of all time.

1962 European Cup Final

Eusebio's Benfica were up against the might of Ferenc Puskas' Real Madrid. It was the Hungarian great who looked set to steal the show, with a first-half hat-trick to put his side 3-2 up at the break, but Eusebio won the match with two goals in the second half.

1963 European Cup Final

Benfica were back in the final the following season, this time up against AC Milan. Eusebio put his team ahead, but Benfica were denied, with Milan winning the match 2-1.

Benfica Destroy Real Madrid in 1965

The goals of Eusebio drove Benfica to a third European Cup Final in four years in the 1964-65 season. Most notable was a dominant 5-1 thrashing of Real Madrid in the quarterfinals. Once again, however, Benfica lost in the final, this time to Inter Milan.

1966 World Cup

Eusebio scored nine goals at the 1966 World Cup in England, leading Portugal to the semifinals and a third-place finish. His impact that summer saw him named BBC Overseas Sports Personality of the Year.

Eusebio at the 1966 World Cup
Match Round Goals
Portugal 3-1 Hungary Group Stage /
Portugal 3-0 Bulgaria Group Stage 1
Portugal 3-1 Brazil Group Stage 2
Portugal 5-3 North Korea Quarterfinal 4
Portugal 1-2 England Semifinal 1
Portugal 2-1 Soviet Union Third-Place Playoff 1
Eusebio with his BBC Overseas Personality Award in 1966, alongside Sports Personality and World Cup winner Bobby Moore AP

1967-68 European Cup

Benfica's run to the 1968 European Cup Final, where they fell to the great Manchester United team of George Best and Bobby Charlton, was made possible by Eusebio's goals.

He was top scorer with six goals for the competition, including a goal in both legs of Benfica's semi-final victory against Juventus.

Eusebio on Tour

After ending his glorious career at Benfica in 1975, Eusebio spent the next four years skipping between teams in America, Mexico and back home in Portugal.

In 1976, he was influential as the now-defunct Toronto Metros-Croatia were crowned National American Soccer League (NASL) champions.

Here's Eusebio in action, and on the scoresheet, in their 2-0 win at Tampa Bay Rowdies for the conference championship.


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