• Text size      
  • Send this article to a friend
  • Print this article

Eusebio, the Black Panther of football, dies at 71

Former Portugal forward Eusebio has died at the age of 71, his former club Benfica have confirmed.

Nicknamed the Black Panther, Eusebio was regarded as one of the best players of all time and helped Portugal to third place at the 1966 World Cup, finishing as top scorer in the tournament with nine goals.

The Mozambique-born striker made his name at club level with Benfica, winning 11 league titles during a 15-year spell there and two Golden Boot awards as Europe's leading goalscorer.

He also notched 41 goals in 64 appearances for Portugal.

A spokesman for Benfica said: "We have just received confirmation of the death of Eusebio. It's a very sad day for all of us."

The club were unable to confirm details of Eusebio's death but reports in Portugal say he died of a cardiac arrest in the early hours of Sunday morning.

He had been in poor health for some time and was hospitalised during Euro 2012 after suffering a heart scare in Poland.

Benfica fans will now be offered the chance to pay their final respects to the player at the Estadio da Luz later on Sunday.

"Eusebio's body will be brought to the stadium later today and all fans will be able to say goodbye," the spokesman said.

Eusebio was a torment to defenders because of his speed and technique, and scored an astonishing 317 goals in 301 appearances for Benfica, where he was a player between 1960 and 1975.

He then spent the twilight of his career in North America with spells at Boston Minutemen, Toronto Metros-Croatia, the Las Vegas Quicksilvers and New Jersey Americans until a series of knee injuries forced his retirement at the age of 37.

But it was his achievements with Benfica which made him a global star, with five national cup titles and a European Cup complimenting his list of league achievements.

Despite his prolific scoring record and international renown, his only appearance at a World Cup finals was in 1966 in England.

Contextual targeting label: 
Football

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis.
If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.

203699