UK & World News
Eusebio: Portugal Football Legend Dies
Former Portugal footballer Eusebio, often ranked as one of the best players ever, has died at the age of 71, his former club has confirmed.
The forward was the top scorer in the 1966 World Cup as he guided his team to third place in the tournament.
The 71-year-old reportedly died early on Sunday morning of cardiac failure.
Portuguese state television channel RTP quoted his his biographer, Joao Malheiro, as saying: "Having followed his life close up and on a daily basis, I was a witness to his health having become very fragile and there were clear signs of this in recent years.
"At the moment though this isn't the most important thing, what's most important is to remember the man who was, and always will be, in the place of the imortals of this country and was clearly of emblematic importance for Portuguese in the 20th century, above all during the 1960s when Portugal lived under a dictatorship."
Nicknamed the Black Panther or the Black Pearl, Eusebio†spent most of career with Benfica in Portugal after moving from†the then Portuguese territory Laurenco Marquez, now Mapatu in Mozambique.
The club's fans will 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.
"It's a very sad day for all of us."
Current Portugal star Ronaldo posted a picture of himself and Eusebio on his Facebook page.
"Eusebio will always be eternal. Rest in peace," he wrote alongside the picture.
Former Portugal captain Luis Figo, the 2001 FIFA world player of the year, tweeted: "The king!! Great loss for us all! The greatest!!"
Franz Beckenbauer, the former Germany player and manager, said: "One of the greatest football players ever has passed away. My friend Eusebio died last night. My thoughts are with his family."
Eusebio†scored 733 goals in 745 competitive games - including 317 goals in 301 appearances for Benfica†- over his career and in a poll conducted for Uefa's Golden Jubilee celebrations in 2004 he was voted as the 7th best European footballer to have played the game.
He won the European Cup with Benfica in 1962 and was named European Footballer of the Year in 1965.
In an interview in 2011, recalling his tears after a 2-1 World Cup semi-final loss to England, Eusebio said: "I was the best player in the world, top scorer in the world and Europe. I did everything, except win a World Cup."
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