Portugal honour legendary footballer Eusebio by naming avenue after him
Lisbon, Jan 6 (IANS) An avenue named after football legend Eusebio da Silva Ferreira has been unveiled to mark his first death anniversary. The ceremony took place outside the Luz Stadium of Benfica Monday in the presence of Lisbon mayor Antonio Costa and football club Benfica's president Luis Filipe Vieira, reports Xinhua.
Filipe Vieira said that Eusebio "marked generations" and had died "physically" last year but still remained present in Portuguese people's lives.
"The avenue is a just tribute. Eusebio will be happy wherever he is. He is eternal," Filipe Vieira said.
Lisbon mayor and leader of the Socialist party Antonio Costa said the inauguration of the avenue was an expression of Portugal' s heartfelt condolence for one of the "greatest Portuguese figures of the 20th century."
Eusebio is remembered with great affection in Portugal. When he died last year, the authorities declared three days of mourning and President Anibal Cavaco Silva made a televised address praising him for his "affability and humility."
Portugal's Benfica star, nicknamed "Black Panther", was the top scorer at the 1966 World Cup and died aged 71 from a heart attack Jan 5, last year.
He was born in Mozambique in 1942 and played for three North American football teams but is remembered in Portugal mainly for his 15 years at Benfica, with whom he scored 473 goals in 440 matches and won the European cup in 1962. Eusebio scored 41 goals in 64 appearances for the national team, helping Portugal to third place in the 1966 World Cup in Britain. He scored four goals in the World Cup match against North Korea, helping Portugal to win 5-3.
"The choice of the outer circular highway for Eusebio is due to it being the main arteries of the city, for entry and exit. Eusebio took the name of Lisbon with him around the world," Antonio Costa added.
A group of fans waved a large white flag which read "Eusebio" in bold black letters and fans took a closer look at a glass cabinet in front of the Luz Stadium where his medals and trophies are displayed.
"I grew up with Eusebio, he is a Portuguese symbol, and all the goals I scored when I was young were Eusebio's goals, they were not mine," said Fernando Lopez, 50, an associate of Benfica and consultant.
Before the inauguration of the Avenue, a mass was held at the Seminario da Luz church. A funeral procession took place up to the Lumiar Cemitary, where Eusebio was buried, and the museum Cosme Damiao organised guided tours for the life and career of the beloved player.