sport

Portugal legend Eusebio dies

Portuguese football legend Eusebio has died three just weeks before he was due to celebrate his 72nd birthday.

The former Benfica star, nicknamed the Black Panther, was the top scorer in the 1966 World Cup in England, when he helped Portugal to the semi-finals and a third-place finish.

He scored 41 goals in 64 appearances for his country.

Eusebio da Silva Ferreira was born in Mozambique and he moved to Lisbon after joining Benfica as an 18-year-old from his local club, Sporting Clube de Lourenco Marques.

He quickly established himself at the Stadium of Light of was the talisman at Benfica during the club's glory years in the 1960s.

Eusebio helped the Eagles retain the European Cup in 1962 when they beat Real Madrid 5-3 in Amsterdam, while the club lost Wembley finals to AC Milan in 1963 and Manchester United in 1968, and well as Inter Milan in 1965.

He was the 1965 European Footballer of the Year 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.

Eusebio was the Portuguese First Division's top scorer seven times, and he helped Benfica to 11 league titles and five national cup wins.

His last game for Benfica was June 1975.

A spokesman for Benfica said: "We have just received confirmation of the death of Eusebio.

"It's a very sad day for all of us."

The club were unable to confirm details of Eusebio's death but reports in Portugal say he died of a cardiac arrest in the early hours of Sunday morning.

He had been in poor health for some time and was hospitalised during Euro 2012 after suffering a heart scare in Poland.

Benfica fans will now 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 added.