American news giant CNN has included Portuguese footballer Eusébio in its list of ‘Legends we lost in 2014’ published online at the end of December.
Written by CNN’s Portuguese journalist Duarte Mendonça, the article reflects on the effect that the death of iconic footballer had on the Portuguese people and how much Eusébio da Silva Ferreira, who passed away from a heart attack on January 5, 2013 at the age of 71, was mourned.
Regarded as one of the greatest football players of all time, Eusébio (aka ‘The Black Panther’) built up a career in Benfica in the 60s and 70s and was the first Portuguese footballer to win the Ballon d’Or – given to the best football player in Europe by a panel of sports journalists from UEFA member countries – in 1965.
Mendonça stresses that although he never saw Eusébio play, the “real insight” came from generations before him through stories his parents and grandparents told him.
“Those stories still resonate until this day almost like fairy tales,” the journalist points out, telling of “the young kid who ended up travelling almost 5,000 miles to pursue his passion for soccer and ended up with a lot more than he bargained for.”
Eusébio was also remembered in a recent online article released by football’s international governing body FIFA, which paid homage to the most notable footballers and coaches who passed away last year, including Real Madrid legend Alfredo Di Stefano and ‘La Liga’-winning Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova.
Tributes are expected to intensify on Monday (January 5), which will mark one year since the death of the ‘King’.
The Mozambique-born footballer arrived at Benfica in 1962, winning 11 Portuguese championships, five Portuguese cups and the European Cup. He is still the club’s all-time top scorer and tallied 41 goals in 64 matches for the Portuguese national team, having become the top marksman of the 1966 World Cup held in England with nine strikes.