Regarded by pundits as one of the greatest players of his generation, Rui Manuel Cesar Costa, is a former Portuguese professional footballer who was born on 29th March 1972 in Amadora, Portugal.
Known for his excellent technique, playmaking ability, and eye for goal from midfield, Costa was considered to be one of the greatest midfielders of his generation who usually played in a creative role as an attacking midfielder behind the strikers, but he was also capable of playing as a deep-lying playmaker, as a second striker, or as a winger.
In the year 1977, Costa joined the infant indoor football team of Damaia Ginasio Clube at the age of mere 5 years.
Up until 1990, Costa played for Benfica's youth squads for 13 long years. Since Benfica were struggling with financial problems, Costa had to leave as Fiorentina was offering 1,200 million escudos for the young midfielder.
Every season, Costa’s departure from Fiorentina was discussed, since many clubs constantly showed interest in signing him and eventually Costa was sold to AC Milan and Inter Milan. In 2006, Costa returned back to Benfica.
Costa made his international Debut for Portugal in the World Youth Cup in summer 1991 and his clinching penalty kick in the final against Brazil helped Portugal win the title on home soil and with his amazing performance, he won hearts of many and was announced as one of the brightest members of the “Golden Generation.”
Rise to Glory
Costa rose to glory after impressing Portugal Under-21 coach Carlos Queiroz and was called up to the national team to represent Portugal in the World Youth Cup.
Throughout his career, Rui was intelligent and hard-working player and was renowned for his fine technique, movement, great vision, dribbling skills, and precise passing, which made him an excellent assist provider, and enabled him to orchestrate his teams attacking moves.
Costa spent most time of his career with Benfica and his role in the Benfica proved to be pivotal as Benfica captured two trophies.
Also with Fiorentina, Costa helped his team to lift the Coppa Italia twice, also winning a Supercoppa Italiana.
Costa became Milan's most expensive transfer of all-time where he played five seasons, and helped Milan to lift multiple titles which include Series A title, Coppa Italia, Supercoppa Italiana, UEFA Champions League and UEFA Super Cup.
Costa was the part of the Portugal national team when they won the FIFA U-20 World Cup in 1991 and Toulon Tournament the next year.
Costa was honored with the Toulon Tournament Best Player and Toulon Tournament Top Scorer in 1992. He was also honored with UEFA European Championship Team of the Tournament twice in 1996 and 2000.
In UEFA Champions League 2002–03, Costa was awarded the top Assists award. In 2007, Costa received the SJPF Player of the Month and Cosme Damiao Award for Footballer of the Year.
The other honours he owned with his performance were A.C. Milan Hall of Fame and
Fiorentina All-time XI.
Prior to start of the 2007-08 Primeira Liga, Costa announced that the 2007-08 season will be his last as a professional.
On 11th May 2008, Costa played his final match against Vitória de Setúbal at the Estadio da Luz where he was substituted in the 86th minute to a standing ovation from the spectators.