Sad To See You Leaving 2014: Eusebio

by Ray_North on December 30, 2014

UnknownGoodison Park, Liverpool, July 23rd 1966
Portugal v North Korea in the World Cup Quarter Final – unbelievably after 25 minutes, North Korea are ahead, and not just by the odd goal, not just noses in front, they are emphatically beating the favourites from Europe – it is 3-0.

This would have been one of the most incredible upsets in World Cup history, the Portugese had completely choked and were heading home, the North Koreans with absolute no football pedigree whatsoever, were heading for the Semi-Finals.

Then step forward Eusebio.

Eusebio Da Silva Ferreira born in Mozambique in January 1942, died on January 5th 2014, a man blessed with speed, skill and an absolutely devastating shot; the Black Pearl, he single-handedly transformed the match, scoring four goals in half an hour to put the Koreans back in their place and Portugal into the Semis. Amazing.

Wembley Stadium, London, Mau 29th 1968
Benfica v Manchester United. Benfica the club who signed Eusebio in 1960 and for whom he played 301 games scoring, wait for it, 317 goals! Yes, have that Ronaldo.

These days, money couldn’t buy a goal scorer like Eusebio (well it could but you would be talking hundreds of millions of Euros) and the Benfica team where built around him. In 1968 they faced Matt Busby’s Man United, a match of massive emotional significance, a match United had to win. After 88 minutes the scores were locked at 1-1, when the ball was played through to Eusebio, he found himself one-on-one with the United keeper Stepney. He never missed. This was the man who had scored forty goals that season alone. This was the Black Pearl. Stepney to his credit, came out early, narrowed the angle and blocked the shot. It was a fantastic save, it was the save that won Man United the European Cup and allowed, Busby, Charlton and Foulkes to partly put to rest the ghosts of Munich 1958.

Eusebio will have known it. He will have known that his team mates were tired and that extra-time would be difficult. What did he do? Did he sulk? Did he think about the massive transfer fee he could command if he moved club? Did he roll around on the floor feigning injury to deflect from his miss? No, he immediately went over to Alex Stepney and shook his hand.

Footballers are not like Eusebio anymore.

We are sorry to see him leaving.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: