Walked Off with My Head in the Clouds ...
Eusebio (of Benfica and Portugal)
'International Football Book No.9'
Souvenir press Ltd, London, 1967
I was 12 I'd never even seen real goalposts, but for as
long as I can remember I've been playing football. In
Mozambique, where I come from, there's not much grass but
plenty of open ground, and wherever one looks, almost,
you can see youngsters kicking a ball around with sticks
to mark the goals and usually everyone playing barefoot.
how it started with me, too; though I was one of the
lucky ones taken on as an amateur bv the Sporting Club of
Laurenço Marques. I was 15 at the time, raw but eager to
learn and already having something of a reputation being
in action for Portugal
18 I was a regular player in Sporting's first team, and
at the end of my first season Sporting were Champions and
I was the top scorer in the League. At that time we had a
visit from one of the top Brazilian clubs, São Paulo
F.C., who stopped off in Mozambique on their way to
Champions, Sporting played a friendly with São Paulo
and, scoring a couple of goals that day, I heard later
that their manager had wanted to sign me. Unfortunately
Sporting had asked a fee of 20,000 dollars and the São
Paulo directors didn't think it worth while paying such a
fee for an unknown boy.
it turned out the visit of São Paulo F.C.set off a chain
of events that took me to Lisbon and Benflca, for later
on their tour the Brazilians played in Lisbon. By the
strangest coincidence the Benfica manager Bela Guttman
and Jorge Bauer, formerly a Brazilian international
wing-half and now boss of São Paulo F.C., were old
had been coach of São Paulo for a spell during Bauer's
playing days and the two men met, quite by accident, in a
barber's shop in Lisbon. During their conversation Bauer
mentioned that he'd wanted to sign a player in
Mozambique, and hearing all about me Mr. Guttman decided
to see me for himself.
Baucr thinks this boy is worth 20,000 dollars he must be
good,' Mr. Guttman told the Benfica President, and a five
weeks later he came to Laurenço Marques himself I
signed, and returned to Lisbon with him and then the
Sporting Club of Lisbon insistcd that I belongd to them
although I'd never signed any agreement with them.
Apparently the Sporting Club of Laurenço Marques was
formed by former Sporting Lisbon fans and for years
there'd been an agreement between the two clubs.
found myself, unwittingly, in the middle or a great
struggle between the two clubs, and the dispute raged on
and on. Sporting appealed to the Portuguesc F.A. and
later went to court before it was finally agreed that I
would stay with Benfica. Thc squabble went on for more
than seven months, and for all that time I was kept in
two of the Benfica coaching staff I was taken to a quiet
hotel in a tiny fishing village on the Algarve coast in
Southern Portugal. It wasn't at all what I'd expected
life to be like in Europe, very quiet, with few people
about and a daily training stint alone on the beach.
dispute was finally settled early in 1961 and a few weeks
later Benfica met C.F. Barcelona in the first of their
European Cup Finals. At the Wankdorf Stadium in
Switzerland, I sat on the trainer's bench with several
other reserves watching Benfica win 3-2.
than a month later benfica were invited to Paris, where
the Racing Club were staging their annual international
tournament. Though Benfica took part as European
Champions it was the Brazilian aces Santos F.C. who were
the big attractions, and as expected both teams qualified
for the final.
with Portugal with Shetchev of Bulgaria
more I was sitting amonst the reserveswatching the game -
and watching Pelé at his greatest. By half time Pelé
had scored a hatrick and Santos had the game well in
hand. I hadn't expected to play, for bela Guttman had
explained to me that though tempted to play me in the
European Cup Final he had decided against it in view of
my inexperience, and would slip me into the team in
relatively unimportant fiendly matches during the summer.
Santos leading Benfica 5-0, the boss no doubt thought the
experience would do me good and with half an hour left he
put me on in place of inside-left Santana.
thirty minutes went like a dream for me. After only five
minutes Benfica captain Mario Coluna opened up the
Brazilian defence with a great run and though he could
have scored himself he pulled the ball back the ball for
me. 'Shoot!' he said, 'Shoot!' ... and there was Gilmar,
Brazil's World Cup 'keeper, picking the ball out of the
the end I was lucky enough to score twice more and Pelé
got another for Santos to give them a 6-3 win, but I
walked off the parc des Princes with my head in the
following season everything happened just right for me. I
kept a regular place in the first team, and after
eliminating Tottenham Hotspurin the semi final we beat
Real Madrid 5-3 in Amsterdam. Though I scored two of
Benfica's goals that day, and have hit many time since, I
can't imagine any goal giving me a greater thrill than
those I got on my début against Santos.
with Portugal v Hungary
links on this site...
at Euro 2004 Final presentations, see Summer 2004
further links see ...
EUSEBIO - International
Football Hall of Fame
Hall of Fame - Eusebio
The World Cup Archive -
Legends - Eusebio
special thanks to Ian Corry for sending the pictures for