This name uses Portuguese naming customs. The first or maternal family name is Esteves and the second or paternal family name is Coluna.
Mario Coluna (1969).jpg
Coluna in 1969
Full name Mário Esteves Coluna
Date of birth 6 August 1935
Place of birth Inhaca, Mozambique
Date of death 25 February 2014 (aged 78)
Place of death Maputo, Mozambique
Height 1.72 m (5 ft 7 1⁄2 in)
Playing position Midfielder
1951–1954 Desportivo Lourenço Marques
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1954–1970 Benfica 364 (89)
1970–1971 Lyon 19 (2)
1971–1972 Estrela Portalegre
Total 383 (91)
1955–1968 Portugal 57 (8)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
Mário Esteves Coluna (Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈmaɾiu kuˈlunɐ]; 6 August 1935 – 25 February 2014) was a Portuguese footballer who played mainly as a central midfielder.
He spent most of his career with Benfica, appearing in 525 official games and scoring 127 goals during 16 professional seasons. Dubbed Monstro Sagrado (Sacred Monster), he won 19 major titles with his main club, including ten national leagues and two European Cups.
Coluna represented Portugal at the 1966 World Cup, earning a total of 57 caps. He was considered one of the best midfielders of his generation, also being viewed as one of the most talented Portuguese players of all time.
1 Club career
2 International career
3 Post-retirement / Death
Born in Inhaca, Portuguese Mozambique, to a Portuguese father and a Mozambican mother, Coluna was spotted by S.L. Benfica while playing for Desportivo de Lourenço Marques, where he excelled at basketball and track and field. Signed by the Lisbon club in 1954, he started playing as an inside forward, scoring a career-best 14 goals in 26 games in his first season in Portugal and winning the first of his national championships; subsequently, he was successfully reconverted as a central or attacking midfielder by manager Otto Glória, where he put to good use his stamina and strength, adding to this an accurate and powerful long-distance shot and technical skills.
Coluna captained Benfica from 1963 to 1970, in 328 matches. Already at the service of Olympique Lyonnais he was awarded a testimonial match by his main club on 8 December 1970, playing against a UEFA selection that featured the likes of Johan Cruyff, Dragan Džajić, Geoff Hurst, Bobby Moore, Luis Suárez or Uwe Seeler. He retired professionally at the age of 35, after one sole campaign with the French side – he still spent one year with amateurs Sport Clube Estrela from Portalegre, acting as player-coach.
Coluna scored in both European Cup finals won by Benfica: in 1961, he beat FC Barcelona's Antoni Ramallets from long range in a 3–2 win in Bern. The following year, against fellow Spaniards Real Madrid, he netted the 3–3 equaliser and, subsequently, was supposed to take the penalty that resulted in the 4–3 lead (eventual 5–3 triumph), when youngster Eusébio politely asked if he could shoot it instead.
Coluna played 57 times for the Portuguese national team, scoring eight goals. His first appearance was in a friendly match with Scotland on 4 May 1955 (0–3 loss), and his last on 11 December 1968 in a 2–4 defeat in Greece for the 1970 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
Coluna captained the Magriços side in all except one of the games during the third-place campaign at the 1966 World Cup, in England.
Post-retirement / Death
After Mozambique became independent in 1975, Coluna held the post of President of its Football Federation. He also served as the country's Minister of Sports, from 1994 to 1999.
Coluna died on 25 February 2014 at the age of 78 in Maputo, after not being able to overcome a pulmonary infection.
European Cup: 1960–61, 1961–62; Runner-up 1962–63, 1964–65, 1967–68
Primeira Liga (10): 1954–55, 1956–57, 1959–60, 1960–61, 1962–63, 1963–64, 1964–65, 1966–67, 1967–68, 1968–69
Taça de Portugal (5): 1954–55, 1956–57, 1958–59, 1961–62, 1963–64, 1968–69, 1969–70; Runner-up 1957–58, 1964–65
FIFA World Cup: Third-place 1966
World Soccer World XI: 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966
FIFA World Cup: All-Star Team 1966
FIFA XI: 1967