You probably know that Eusebio, the legend who played for Portugal in the 1966 World Cup Final, died of heart failure yesterday at the age of 71.
The Benfica striker scored 733 times in 745 professional games and was top goalscorer at the 1966 World Cup. To be honest I was unaware of him until the 1966 World Cup tournament in England, except to know that he wasn’t Portuguese, but was born in Mozambique, a Portuguese colony.
But he was a gentleman on and off the pitch, worthy to rank alongside Bobby Moore, Pele, Bobby Charlton and Franz Beckenbauer. I was at Blackburn Rovers ground on Boxing Day, and sat opposite the Ronnie Clayton stand. Ronnie, another legendary ambassador for the sport, who I met at Blackburn’s Royal Infirmary, as we both were visiting our hospitalised wives. All were excellent role models for young players.
Alex Stepney, then United’s goalkeeper, made a crucial save from Eusebio towards the end of normal time in the 1968 European Cup final, which the striker applauded.
“The fact he was standing there clapping before running away is a mark of the man,” Stepney said.
This morning I read that one of Arsenal’s brightest lights, Theo Walcott, a few hours before Eusebio breathed his last raised 2 fingers to the opposing Tottenham fans to remind them that Arsenal were beating their team 2-0.
Youth can be impetuous.
He’s certainly not worthy to clean Eusebio’s boots. Eusebio, by comparison, like many great men, is a giant among pygmies.
And this little boy earns £85,000 a week (and an £8 million deal with Nike). There there little boy. Someone give him a dummy