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Wednesday, 10 April, 2002, 17:49 GMT 18:49 UK
Eusebio: The Black Pearl
Eusebio in action against Hungary at the 1966 World Cup
Eusebio won the Golden Boot award in 1966
Portugal did not win the World Cup in 1966, but their star striker certainly caught the imagination of football fans across the world.

Eusebio da Silva Ferreira used his amazing acceleration and dazzling dribbling skills to earn the title of top scorer at the tournament, notching up nine goals.

Known as "The Black Pearl", he made a tremendous impact on Portuguese football and was one of a group of African players who came to prominence in the 1960s .

He was born in the then Portuguese territory of Mozambique in 1942 and began his career with Sporting Lourenco-Marques, a nursery club of Sporting Lisbon.

Eusebio
FACTS
Born: 25/01/42
Country: Portugal
Caps: 64
Goals: 41

WORLD CUP STATS
Participated: 1966
Bronze winner (1966)
Top scorer 1966 - 9 goals

But, on arriving in Lisbon at the age of 19, he was snatched by rival club Benfica for a fee of 7,500.

In one of his first games for the club, Eusebio scored a hat-trick against Santos, a side that included Brazilian star Pele, and confirmed his status as one of Europe's most lethal strikers.

The following year, he was a member of the first side to beat Real Madrid in a European Cup final when Benfica triumphed 5-3.

He won 10 league championships, five cups and one European Cup in his 15 years at Benfica and was Portugal's top league scorer between 1964 and 1973.

His dazzling tally of goals for club and country earned him the prestigious European Footballer of the Year award in 1965.

But it was a year later that he secured a new following with his performance in the World Cup in England.

After winning all their group games and helping to eliminate title-holders Brazil in the first round, newcomers Portugal came from 3-0 down to beat North Korea 5-3 in a dramatic quarter-final, thanks to four goals from Eusebio.

Portugal went on to lose 2-1 in the next round to eventual winners England and a tearful Eusebio left the pitch.

By then, he had captured the hearts of the British public and his figure was soon added to Madame Tussaud's waxwork collection.

Eusebio continued to play at the highest level until 1974, but knee problems had already begun to slow him down.

In 1975, he moved to the North American Soccer League and then returned to Portugal in 1976/77 to play for SC Beira Mar before further spells in the USA and Mexico.

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