The first “Pic of the Week” of the year starts off on a somber note, as this week’s picture features the final bow Portuguese legend Eusébio will ever make on a football pitch. His body laid in state at Benfica’s Estádio da Luz after the great striker passed away this week aged 71. Though the Mozambique-born forward is one of the best players to ever lace up a pair of boots, he’s probably one of the lesser known all-time greats in the US. Which is odd, considering he played in North America for a stretch in the late 70’s for the Boston Minutemen, Toronto Croatians, Las Vegas Quicksilvers, and the New Jersey Americans.
But where the Black Panther really made a name for himself was during his time tormenting defenses while leading the line at Benfica. Eusébio bagged 317 goals in 301 appearances for Benfiquistas, leading them to three European Cup finals in the 1960’s, as well as leading Portugal to a third place finish at the 1966 World Cup. If you’ve never seen him in action, check him bossing the 1968 European Cup final despite getting hacked by Manchester United’s Nobby Stiles hack him the entire match. He was like a modern day footballer travelled back in time.
RIP to a true legend of the beautiful game.