Calcutta/ New Delhi: Some of the big names of the Indian football fraternity expressed their condolences on the demise of the legendary Eusebio.
According to P.K. Banerjee, goalkeepers around the world feared the Portuguese striker more than anyone else.
East Bengal coach Armando Colaco recalled his meeting with the legend when he visited Portugal some years ago.
Here’s what some of them had to say (alphabetically):
PK Banerjee: There was no dearth of good forwards in international football in the 60s. Yet, the goalkeepers around the world feared the Portuguese striker more than anyone else.
There were players, who were a shade better than Eusebio in skill and ball control. But none could match his powerful and accurate shots. Also, amazing was his tremendous punch behind a shot in a short space with very little back lift. We have to keep in mind that the quality of the balls was much inferior. Yet, he used to find the target perfectly. As a goal-scorer, he was simply unmatched.
Armando Colaco: I had a chance to meet the legend when he was in Goa some years ago. It’s one of those rare moments, which I’ll never forget. Apart from being a world-class footballer, he was also a great human being. It’s a big loss.
Arun Ghosh: In the 60s, Pele, Garrincha and Bobby Charlton were known as the finest forwards till Eusebio burst into the scene in the 1966 World Cup.
Like Maradona was in the 1986 World Cup, Eusebio, too, was a single-man army for Portugal. The Portugal-North Korea match in the 1966 World Cup was perhaps the most dramatic tie during our playing days. I wish Portugal had a few better passer of the ball in the team. Eusebio would have surely won the World Cup for them.
Chuni Goswami: Eusebio was a terrific player… A tremendous scorer. I don’t think many players can put up such a performance especially when the team they represent is down three goals. Oh! What an incredible show it was! Not many players have had such a wonderful conversion rate as that of Eusebio.
Syed Nayeemuddin: Eusebio was the one who used to be compared with Pele. I feel modern day footballers all around the world should follow his work ethics.
Inder Singh: In the early 60s, we only heard about Pele and Garrincha. We came to know about the greatness of Eusebio in the mid-sixties.
Since I was a prolific scorer, I always used to be fascinated by Eusebio’s scoring ability. While everyone knows about his exploits with the Portugal national team, his 16-year stint with Benfica was equally important. Without him, it would have been difficult for Benfica to win the European Cup.