Great Reputations: Portugal 1966 – the alternative champions

ASIDE from the image of Bobby Moore holding the Jules Rimet trophy aloft, one of the abiding memories of the 1966 World Cup is of Eusébio in full flight, the leading scorer and the most exciting player of the tournament. If you asked most people who would have been worthy champions if England had not won, the answer would undoubtedly be Portugal, who came through … Continue reading Great Reputations: Portugal 1966 – the alternative champions

Paradise lost…but we’ll never forget Cruyff, Eusebio and their pals

CLUBS like Ajax and Benfica once created some of the most exciting teams we have ever seen. Today, their names still carry enormous weight, but they have been pushed into the shadows by clubs gorging on TV broadcasting fees and the rewards of globalisation. Only 22 clubs have won the European Cup/Champions League, but of those clubs, only four or five could currently claim to … Continue reading Paradise lost…but we’ll never forget Cruyff, Eusebio and their pals

Eusebio the great

It’s fashionable to liberally throw the word “legend” around, but very few footballers actually achieve that status in their lifetime, let alone when they pass from view and their legacy is grainy video footage or yellowing newspaper coverage. In Portugal this week, the government has declared three days of official mourning for the death of one genuine sporting icon – Eusebio da Silva Ferreira. Eusebio … Continue reading Eusebio the great

Europa Finalists, but Benfica are a long way off Eusebio’s heyday

There was a time when a meeting with Benfica would send shivers down the spine of any team in Europe. That was in the day of Eusebio, the rapier-like finisher from Mozambique with blistering pace and power like no other player. He was Europe’s answer to Pele – at least that’s what World Cup 1966, when he tore Brazil to pieces, suggested. Benfica were one … Continue reading Europa Finalists, but Benfica are a long way off Eusebio’s heyday