Legends of La Cancha
name is Eusebio Da Silva Ferreira , but the world knows him simply as
Not only the greatest player in Portugal, but most consider him the greatest
player ever in Europe
Eusebio's trademark was a spectacular shot which, allied to powerful running
and fine dribbling skills, made him one of the most dangerous strikers of
his era. Capped 74 times for his adopted Portugal, and scorer of 46
goals in European club competitions, Eusebio was widely popular not only
for his footballing ability but also his exemplary sportsmanship and commitment.
He was not born in Europe but born and raised in Mozambique which was then
one of Portugal's African colonies. In 1986 at Wembley Eusebio nearly won
the European Cup Final for Benfica against Manchester United. It was
at Wembley that Eusebio began his international career when Portugal lost
2-0 to England in an exciting World Cup qualifier. One of his finest moments
was when he led Portugal to a third place finish at World Cup 1966.
There is a statue of Eusebio; one of the great footballers in
history at the entrance to Portugal's Estadio da Luz.
Da Silva Ferreira
1943 born in Mozambique
1961 spotted playing for local team Sporting Club of
Laurenco Marques, transferred to Benfica
amidst controversy, makes debut for
1962 Scores twice in European Cup victory over
Real Madrid (5-3)
1965 voted European Footballer of the Year
1966 World Cup semi-finalist and top scorer
with 9 goals
1969 collects seventh Golden Boot with 40
goals, finishes career in Mexico and
1998 inducted into FIFA FOOTBALL HALL OF
We recently met this living legend while in Europe, and are very proud to
have conducted the following interview which appears in this, our first feature
of "Legends of La Cancha."
What was one of your greatest moments as a
A: There were many great experiences that I had playing football. It
is very difficult to choose one at this time, however playing in the 1966
World Cup was a wonderful moment.
Q: Who would you consider to be the best player of all time.
A: There were many great players during my time, before, and after me. Today
many people believe Ronaldo is the best player. This is a difficult
question because there are different positions as well as rules. The
rules can also determine the type of play you will see. But in my opinion,
I would have to say Pele was the best player of all.
Q: How would Ronaldo compare to Pele?
You cannot compare the two persons. Pele played in an era which had
great players and in that atmosphere he stood out above the others. He
was the complete player in every aspect as well as being a kind human being.
Ronaldo is young yet, and has many years ahead of himself. But as of
now, I do not see anyone who can compare with Pele.
Q: Many people consider you to be the greatest player that Africa has every
produced. What is your opinion?
A: I am honored to be considered in that way however, I loved the sport of
football and played only to win. If others want to say such things I am very
Q: What do you consider should be the goal or purpose of the sport of
A: Although football is a sport, it represents more. It is a way for
youth to develope themselves and a vehicle of communication for all people.
The World Cup for example is a way that people from many different
backrounds can come together not only for the purpose of winning a cup, but
more importantly to learn about each other through communication on and off
the playing field.
Q: Speaking of fields, which playing surface would you consider to be the
best you have ever played on?
A: Again,. this is a very difficult question. I love the fields of the country
where I was born as well as those fields in Portugal. If I had to choose
one I would have to say that Wembley was my favorite playing surface. Wenmbley
has such an historic and prestigious backround. The grass surface is very
well kept. It was like playing on carpet.
Q: Do you, as other believe that the quality of the playing surface such
as grass height can affect the level of play? And what type of surface did
you prefer as a player?
A: Yes, the length of the grass is important. For instance a short cut dry
surface is good because the ball will travel faster. I believe that most
players prefer that type of surface. If you are a good player however,
you can adjust to any circumstance many times we have played during rain
on a wet surface. A good player can make the adjustment necessary to play
under less than good circumstances.
Q: What will be the future of football?
A: Football as you know is the most popular sport in the world and
it is still growing. The World Cup for instance has many more countries involved
now than when I was playing and I expect that the number of countries will
grow over the years. It is such a popular sport because anyone can
play whether you are poor or rich. All you need is space and a ball. One's
physical build is not that important that is why so many children play the
sport. You don't have to be big and strong. You must only have a desire to
Left - Eusebio marveling at his special gift from La Cancha , an acrylic
block containing preserved grass from the playing surface of World Cup1994
TO WORLD'S LEADING MAGAZINE |
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