Eusébio da Silva Ferreira
|Also Known As:||"Pantera Negra"|
|Birthplace:||Maputo, Maputo City, Mozambique|
|Death:||Died in Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal|
|Managed by:||Carina TT|
Eusébio da Silva Ferreira (born 25 January 1942), commonly known simply as Eusébio, is a retired Mozambican-born Portuguese football forward. He is considered one of the best footballers of all-time by the IFFHS, experts and fans. He helped the Portuguese 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 receiving the Bronze Ball award. He won the Ballon d'Or award in 1965 and was runner-up in 1962 and 1966. He played for Benfica for 15 years out of his 22 as a footballer, thus being mainly associated with the Portuguese club, and is the team's all-time top scorer with 638 goals scored in 614 official games. There, he won 11 Primeira Liga titles (1960–61, 1962–63, 1963–64, 1964–65, 1966–67, 1967–68, 1968–69, 1970–71, 1971–72, 1972–73 and 1974–75), 5 Portuguese Cup titles (1961–62, 1963–64, 1968–69, 1969–70 and 1971–72), 1 European Cup title (1961–62) and managed to help them reach three additional European Cup finals (1962–63, 1964–65 and 1967–68). He was the European Cup top scorer in 1965, 1966 and 1968. He also won the Bola de Prata (Primeira Liga top scorer award) seven times (a national record) in 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1970 and 1973. He was the first ever player to win the European Golden Boot award, in 1968, a feat he later replicated in 1973.
Nicknamed the Black Panther, the Black Pearl, or O Rei (The King) in Portugal, Eusébio scored 733 goals in 745 competitive games in his career. He was known for his speed and his powerful, accurate right-footed strike, making him an outstanding prolific goalscorer. He is considered Benfica's and Portugal's most renowned player and one of the first world-class African strikers. Although born in Mozambique and having an Angolan father, Eusébio, like Matateu and Mário Coluna, among others before him, could only play for the Portuguese team, since both of the African countries were overseas territories and their inhabitants were considered Portuguese.
Eusébio's name often appears in best player of all time lists and polls by football critics and fans. He was elected the 9th best footballer of the 20th century in a poll by the IFFHS and the 10th best footballer of the 20th century in a poll by the World Soccer magazine. Pelé named Eusébio as one of the 125 best living footballers in his 2004 FIFA 100 list. He was 7th in the online poll for UEFA Golden Jubilee Poll. 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 50 years.
Since his retirement, Eusébio has been an ambassador of football and is one of the most recognizable faces of the sport. He is often praised for his known fair play and humbleness, even by opponents. There have been held several homages by FIFA, UEFA, the Portuguese Football Federation and Benfica in his honour. Former Benfica and Portugal teammate and friend António Simões acknowledges his influence on Benfica and said: "With Eusébio maybe we could be tri European Champions, without him maybe we could win the League."