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Saturday, 18 January 2014
BLACK SOCIAL HISTORY : AFRO-PORTUGUESE " EUSEBIO da SILVA FERRERIRA " GCIH, GCM - WAS PORTUGUESE FOOTBALL FORWARD AND CONSIDERED ONE OF THE BEST FOOTBALLER OF ALL TIME : GOES INTO THE " HALL OF BLACK GENIUS "
BLACK SOCIAL HISTORY Eusébio da Silva Ferreira, GCIH, GCM 25 January 1942 – 5 January 2014 was a Mozambican-born Portuguese football forward. He is considered one of the greatest footballers of all time. During his professional career, he scored 733 goals in 745 matches.
He helped the Portuguese national team reach third place at the 1966 World Cup, being the top goalscorer of the tournament with nine goals (including four in one match against North Korea) and received 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 out of his 22 years 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 eleven Primeira Liga titles, five Taça de Portugal titles, a European Cup (1961–62) and helped them reach three additional European Cup finals. He was the European Cup top scorer in 1965, 1966 and 1968. He also won the Bola de Prata (Primeira Liga top scorer award) a record seven times. He was the first ever player to win the European Golden Boot, in 1968, a feat he replicated in 1973.
Nicknamed the Black Panther, the Black Pearl, or o Rei (the King), he was known for his speed, technique, athleticism and his ferocious, accurate right-footed shot, making him an outstandingly prolific goalscorer and one of the greatest free-kick takers in history. 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. He has been called "Africa's first great footballer" and "Africa's greatest-ever player".
From his retirement until his death, Eusébio was an ambassador of football and was one of the most recognizable faces of the sport. He was often praised for his fair play and humility, even by opponents. Homages by FIFA, UEFA, the Portuguese Football Federation and Benfica have been held 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 European Champions, without him maybe we could win the League."
Eusébio was born in the Mafalala neighborhood, Lourenço Marques (now Maputo), Portuguese East Africa (now Mozambique) on 25 January 1942. Born to Laurindo António da Silva Ferreira, a white Angolan railroad worker from Malanje and Elisa Anissabeni, a black Mozambican woman. He was Elisa's fourth child. Raised in an extremely poor society, he used to skip school classes to play barefoot football with his friends in improvised pitches and using improvised footballs. His father died from tetanus when Eusébio was eight years old, so Elisa almost exclusively took the parental care of young Eusébio.
He first started to play for a local amateur team called Os Brasileiros (The Brazilians), in honour of the great Brazilian team of the 1950s that he and his friends formed, they would play under the names of some of those superstars. The balls they used were made of socks stuffed with newspapers rolled into spheres. He tried to enlist with some friends for the team Grupo Desportivo de Lourenço de Marques, his favourite team and a Benfica feeder team, also the team where Mário Coluna had played for before his move to Benfica, but was rejected, without even being given a chance to prove his worth. He then tried his luck with Sporting Clube de Lourenço Marques, who accepted him. He affirmed that he was spotted by a former Juventus goalkeeper turned scout when he was 15 years old: "When I was 15, Juventus of Italy, wanted to hire me, because one of their scouts, who had been a famous Italian goalkeeper for them, saw me and told them that there was a boy with a potential, that it would be good to take advantage while I was still unknown. Juventus proposed but my mum never wanted to hear anything from anyone".
Eusébio played for two seasons with their youth team, while he made sporadic appearances in the senior team. There he won the Campeonato Provincial de Moçambique and the Campeonato Distrital de Lourenço Marques in his last season, in 1960.
He moved to Lisbon in his late teens, after joining Benfica as an 18-year-old from his local club, Sporting Clube de Lourenço Marques, for 350,000$ PTE (equivalent to €136,000 in 2009). Benfica discovered Eusébio due to the efforts of Brazilian former player José Carlos Bauer, who saw him in Lourenço Marques in 1960. Eusébio could run 100 metres in 11 seconds. Bauer recommended Eusébio first to his former club, São Paulo, but the Tricolor turned him down. Bauer then discussed Eusébio with his former coach in São Paulo, Béla Guttmann, who was coaching Benfica at the time.
The move was controversial; Sporting Lourenço Marques was a subsidiary of Sporting Clube de Portugal and the two rivals disputed the legality of the transfer. According to Eusébio: "I used to play in Sporting's feeder club in Mozambique. Benfica wanted to pay me in a contract to go while Sporting wanted to take me [to Portugal] as a junior player for experience with no monetary reward. Benfica made a nice approach. They went to speak to my mum, my brother, and offered €1,000 for three years. My brother asked for double and they paid it. They signed the contract with my mother and she got the money".
By 17 December 1960, Eusébio arrived at Lisbon and was sent to Lagos, in the Algarve, with Benfica fearing a kidnapping operation by Sporting rivals. During his transfer he was codenamed Ruth Malosso. He remained there for 12 days, until the transfer upheaval would calm down. While he stayed in a hotel room he was warned for possible running-overs. Eusébio considered leaving Portugal, but his mother convinced him to stay.
Benfica only registered him in May the next year and Eusébio made his first appearance for them against Atlético Clube de Portugal in a friendly game on 23 May 1961. He scored a hat-trick in a 4–2 victory. His debut in an official match was on 1 June 1961, against V. Setúbal, in the 2nd leg of the Round 3 of the 1960/61 Portuguese Cup. This game was controversially scheduled to the following day of the European Cup final against Barcelona and the Portuguese Football Federation didn't postpone the game; as the first team was returning from Bern, Benfica played with the reserve squad and was defeated 1–4. Eusébio scored a goal and missed a penalty (the first of only five he missed throughout his career), but wasn't enough to win overall the round (4–5 on aggregate). On 10 June 1961, Eusébio played for the first time in the National Championship, the last match day against Belenenses, where he scored a goal in a 4–0 win. On June 15, Benfica played the final of the invitational Tournoi de Paris against Pelé's Santos, and in the beginning of the second half, with Benfica down 0–4, Béla Guttmann decided to bring Eusébio from the bench to substitute Santana. Shortly after coming in, Santos reached 0–5. However, between the 63rd and the 80th minute, Eusébio scored 3 goals and suffered a foul inside the penalty area, the penalty taker, José Augusto, failed to score though. The game finished 6–3 for Santos, with Eusébio being on the cover of the famed French sporting newspaper, L'Équipe.
His following season was the one where he started to gain global recognition among football fans and critics alike. He scored 12 goals in 17 league matches, and even though the club finished third, they won the Portuguese Cup against Vitória de Setúbal, with Eusébio scoring two goals in the final. In that same season, he won the European Cup, also scoring two goals in the final against Real Madrid in a 5–3 result to Benfica. Due to his fine form during the season, he finished second in the 1962 Ballon d'Or, in his first complete season as a professional. In October 1963, he was selected to represent the FIFA team in the "Golden Anniversary" of the "Football Association" at Wembley Stadium.
With Eusébio playing for Benfica, they were also European Cup runners-up in 1963, 1965 and 1968. In the 1968 defeat to the English league champions Manchester United at Wembley Stadium, with the scores 1–1, he came close to winning the game for Benfica in the dying seconds of the game, only to have his shot foiled by a spectacular Alex Stepney save. Despite this, and the fact that the English side went on to win 4–1 in extra time, he openly congratulated Stepney for his efforts throughout the game, stopping to applaud Stepney, as he threw the ball back into play.
He received a number of individual accolades and awards while playing for Benfica. He was the 1965 European Footballer of the Year (Ballon d'Or) and finished as runners-up twice, in 1962 and 1966, and in 1968 was the first winner of the Golden Boot Award, as Europe's leading scorer, a feat he repeated five years later. He was the Portuguese First Division's top scorer seven times (1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1970 and 1973), helping Benfica to 11 Primeira Liga wins (1960–1961, 1962–63, 1963–64, 1964–65, 1966–1967, 1967–1968, 1968–1969, 1970–1971, 1971–1972, 1972–1973 and 1974–1975), 5 Portuguese Cup wins (1961–1962, 1963–1964, 1968–1969, 1969–1970 and 1971–1972), 1 European Cup win (1961–1962) and 3 European Cup finals (1962–1963, 1964–1965 and 1967–1968). He scored 638 goals in 614 matches wearing Benfica's jersey, including 319 goals in 313 Primeira Liga matches, 97 goals in 60 Taça de Portugal matches and 57 goals in 76 European competitions matches (65 games on European Cups, 7 games on the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup and 4 games on the UEFA Cup).
In 1976–77 and 1977–78, Eusébio played for two minor Portuguese teams, Beira-Mar, in the First Division, and União de Tomar, in the Second Division.
He 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 the Las Vegas Quicksilvers (1977). His most successful season in the NASL was in 1976 with Toronto Metros-Croatia. He scored the winning goal 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), he signed for the Las Vegas Quick silvers. 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 he was constantly receiving medical treatment whilst playing for the Quick silvers. During the season he only managed to score two goals.
Although his knees robbed him of his ability to continue in the NASL, Eusébio wanted to continue to play soccer. He 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 end of the season. He played five games for the Buffalo Stallions during the 1979–1980 Major Indoor Soccer League season. He retired in 1979 and formed part of the technical committee of the Portugal national football team.
Eusébio was the leading scorer for his country, with 41 goals in 64 matches, until Pauleta equalled and surpassed his record against Latvia on 12 October 2005. Eusébio was also the most capped Portuguese player from 1972, until Tamagnini Nené made his 64th cap against Yugoslavia on 2 June 1984 in a friendly match, breaking Eusébio's record during the UEFA Euro 1984 on 20 June against Romania. He made his debut for the Portuguese national team against Luxembourg on 8 October 1961, a match his country lost 4–2, with the player scoring his country's first goal in the match.
After Portugal qualified for the 1966 World Cup, they were drawn in Group 3, alongside Bulgaria, Hungary and the reigning World Cup champions Brazil. After a modest performance against Hungary in the first game, Eusébio scored a goal against Bulgaria. Topping the group with two wins, the team would play against the Brazilians for the final group match. With an injured Pelé, Portugal had no trouble in defeating them with two goals from Eusébio, including a famous volley from a tight angle after a corner kick. The result meant Brazil's early elimination.
In the quarterfinal, Portugal played North Korea, who had defeated and eliminated Italy in the group stage. After trailing 0–3 in the 25th, Eusébio proceeded to score four consecutive goals, two before half time and two in the first fifteen minutes of the second half. His last goal in that match came from a penalty when two North Korean players tackled him after a fast run Eusébio had made from the middle of the Portuguese half to the opposition's penalty area. Portugal came back to win 5–3.
In the semi-final match Portugal would have to face England. There was controversy to where the match would be hosted. Goodison Park in Liverpool was the original venue for the game. However, due to intervention of the English officials, the venue changed to Wembley. It was rumoured that this had happened because of fear from English officials of the Portuguese performance and embarrassment if England lost in their own country with a debuting team. Portugal had to make a last-minute train trip from Liverpool to London. Throughout the game Eusébio was closely marked by defender Nobby Stiles, but still managed to score Portugal's only goal from the penalty spot in the 82nd minute, ending yet-to-be broken records of 7 consecutive clean sheets and 708 minutes without conceding a goal for the English team. After scoring the penalty, Eusébio went on to catch the ball and saluted Gordon Banks. The goal was not enough to nullify Bobby Charlton's two earlier goals. António Simões had a last-minute chance only for Stiles to make it into a corner. Portugal lost 1–2 and Eusébio famously walked off the pitch in tears, being comforted by both his teammates and opponents. The game is known as the Jogo das Lágrimas (Game of Tears) in Portugal.
In the third place match, Portugal played against the Soviet Union. In the 12th minute after a handball inside the area, Eusébio scored the opening goal (his 9th and final World Cup goal) from the penalty spot. Although the legendary Lev Yashin guessed the side in which the ball would go, he was powerless to save it. Again and as he had done before with Banks, Eusébio went to salute his friend Yashin after he had scored. Portugal won the game 2–1 to what remains their best ever World Cup participation, and the best performance by a team on its debut since Italy's victory in 1934 (subsequently equalled by Croatia in 1998).
In addition to winning the Golden Boot (with nine goals) for the 1966 World Cup, Eusébio also set a record that year for the most penalties scored (shoot-out not included), with four. Eusébio's four goals against Korea DPR in the quarter-final match also helped Portugal tie the record for largest deficit overcome in a win (three goals, equaling Austria in 1954) and he became the fifth player to score as many goals in a FIFA World Cup match, a record he jointly held until Oleg Salenko scored five in the 1994 World Cup. The English were so impressed by Eusébio's performances that he was immediately added to the Madame Tussauds collection of waxwork.
Eusébio died at his home on 5 January 2014 of heart failure. He was survived by his two daughters and several grandchildren.
The German former world champion captain and coach Franz Beckenbauer, who also starred at the 1966 World Cup, stated "One of the greatest football players ever has passed away. My friend Eusébio died last night. My thoughts are with his family." Former English international Gary Lineker stated on his Twitter page that it was "sad news that Eusébio has died. One of the greats of his generation. Could play and strike a ball like very few others. R.I.P." Former Netherlands player Ruud Gullit said: "A great footballer left us and I want to say thanks to Eusébio for all his greatness and beautiful football moments he gave us."
The Portuguese Football Federation said in a statement; "Portugal is mourning. Eusébio, the King of Portugal's 1966 team and the eternal symbol of the country, national team and Benfica passed away". They further announced that a moment of silence was to be observed in Portuguese football matches. Portugal national football team's captain and friend, Cristiano Ronaldo, posted a picture on his Twitter page, saying, "Always eternal Eusébio, rest in peace" in the caption. Luís Figo, the first Portuguese footballer to win a Ballon d'Or after Eusébio, posted a picture with Eusébio on his Twitter page with the caption "The King. A big loss to all of us. [Eusébio was] the greatest." José Mourinho on a television broadcast said "He was one of the great figures of Portugal. I think he is immortal. We all know what he meant for football and especially for Portuguese football" said the current Chelsea manager. He also added, "He was not only a great inspiration but also an important figure in upholding the values, principles and feelings of football, even after finishing his career." Former Portugal and current Iran manager Carlos Queiroz said in an interview with a Persian magazine that "Eusébio was a great person, a great Portuguese, a great footballer. I'm very proud that I have worked with him in 2010 FIFA World Cup. I still remembers his messages. These messages of encouragement to the difficulty in your life."
The President of FIFA, Sepp Blatter, said on his Twitter page that "football has lost a legend but Eusébio's place among the greats will never be taken away." Michel Platini the president of UEFA stated "Today football has lost one of the greatest players ever. On the field, Eusébio was a true legend, both in the colours of Portugal and Benfica. But also off it, he was a true ambassador for Portuguese football on the international stage. He was more than a footballer. A good and charming man, Eusébio will be sadly missed."
"Every generation has great footballers," the chairman of the The Football Association, Greg Dyke told BBC News. He added that "[Eusébio] was clearly a world-class footballer who scored an awful lot of goals. He had a level of natural talent that most players don't have."
The former President of Mozambique and childhood friend Joaquim Chissano said that "it is with a feeling of great utter sadness that I get the news of his death. I lost a friend, when we were kids we used to play together, we played football together. He was almost family. Portuguese football lost one of his references. Football connected Portugal and Mozambique. Eusébio was a pride to the Mozambican people. Through sport, Eusébio was one of the ambassadors for Mozambique. His deeds will live on."
Following Eusébio's death, the Portuguese government declared three national days of mourning.
On 6 January 2014, a Mass was held at the Igreja do Seminário do Largo da Luz. On 9 January, one of his wishes was granted as his coffin was transported around the field of the Estádio da Luz. Three days later, his statue at the Praça Centenarium was transformed into a memorial. Hours later, the name "Eusébio" was on the back of Benfica players' shirts during the "The Classic".