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Updated on May 22nd 2022, 11:19:51 am

Top 10 Greatest Portuguese football legends of all time

Top 10 Greatest Portuguese football legends of all time

Despite boasting some of the finest players to have ever graced the game, Portugal has rarely found itself among the world's elite. Here we take a look at the top 10 greatest Portuguese football legends of all time.

Despite boasting some of the finest players to have ever graced the game, Portugal has rarely found itself among the world's elite when it comes to major international tournaments. Indeed, the closest that they have come to picking up silverware was at Euro 2004, when they were beaten by surprise winners Greece in the final on home soil. You have to go back to 1966 for their best showing at a World Cup as they finished third in England.


Here are the top 10 Portuguese football legends of all time:


1. Cristiano Ronaldo


Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro was born on 5th February 1985. He is a professional Portuguese footballer who plays as a forward for Serie A club Juventus and captains the Portugal national team. Over the past 20 years, CR7 has proved that he is among the best in football. When people think of number 7's, eventually they will think of CR7 and his feats. How did a skinny poor boy become one of the best? How did he become the top goalscorer of all time? How did he win 5 ballon doors and 5 golden boots and 5 champions? He is hardworking. He is determined. He is one of the best. He's passionate about what he does and he does it the best. His skills are incomparable to those of modern football players. He's magnificent and a complete football player and most of all he's a true footballing icon and the one that can never be forgotten. A true legend.


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2. Eusébio


Eusébio da Silva Ferreira was a Portuguese footballer who played as a striker. Eusébio is considered by many ones of the greatest footballers of all time. During his professional career, he scored 733 goals in 745 matches.


3. Luís Figo


Luís Filipe Madeira Caeiro Figo was born on the 4th of November 1972 and is a Portuguese retired professional footballer who played as a midfielder for Sporting CP, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Inter Milan. He won 127 caps for the Portugal national team, a record at the time but later broken by Cristiano Ronaldo. He is considered one of the best Portuguese footballers of all time. Renowned for his creativity and ability to get past defenders as a winger, Figo is regarded as one of the greatest players of his generation. His 106 assists are the second-most in La Liga history, behind Lionel Messi. He won the 2000 Ballon d'Or, 2001 FIFA World Player of the Year, and in 2004 Pelé named him on the FIFA 100 list of the world's greatest living players. Figo is one of the few football players to have played for both Spanish rival clubs Barcelona and Real Madrid.


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4. Rui Costa


While Luis Figo was regarded as the golden boy of Portuguese football during the 1990s and early 2000s, Rui Costa was not far behind him in terms of both talent and affection. He was an attacking midfielder and was renowned for playing eye of the needle passes that even split the notorious Italian defenses of that era. His move to Fiorentina from Benfica brought with it widespread acclaim for his ability as he helped the team to two Coppa Italia titles in the space of five years. He later moved on to AC Milan, where he won another Coppa Italia, the Serie A title and the Champions League. He played 94 international matches and out of that, he played in a world cup and three European championships with Portugal reaching the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final.


5. Mario coluna


A lynchpin of the golden eras for both Benfica and Portugal, Mario Coluna was second only to Eusebio in importance for both sides. The midfielder quickly established himself as a leader and was consequently given the armband at both the club and international levels. It was under his guidance that Portugal recorded their best-ever performance at a World Cup, helping the team to third place in 1966.


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6. Paulo Futre


Futre is the youngest player in Portugal's history. He made his debut in 1983 when he was just 17 years old. He made 40 appearances for the Portugal national team. Arguably his best football was played with Atletico Madrid, however, where he won the Spanish Cup two years in a row. He was also named Portuguese Footballer of the Year in consecutive years, picking up the award in 1986 and 1987.


7. Fernando Peyroteo


The greatest goalscorer the game has ever seen. He found the back of the net 331 times in just 197 matches for Sporting, giving him a goals-to-game ratio of 1.68 - the highest in the history of football. There is no doubt that Peyroteo was a giant of his era. As part of the legendary Sporting attacking lineup nicknamed the 'Five Violins', he won five league titles and five domestic cups.


8. Fernando Chalana


Had his career not been blighted by so many injuries, Fernando Chalana could have found himself even further up this list. A tricky left-winger who drifted past defenders with consummate ease, Chalana's relatively low tally of 27 international caps does not do his talent justice. Most of his club career was spent with Benfica, where he won six league titles and three cups before adding another two league titles and two cups in France with Bordeaux. Individually, he was named Portuguese Footballer of the Year in both 1976 and 1984.


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9. Nene


An idol of the most successful club in Portuguese football. Nene spent his entire 18-year career with Benfica and was a key player for the vast majority of that spell. The striker was clinical in front of goal and helped fire The Eagles to a trophy-laden period of their history. The 1972-73 league season was particularly memorable as Benfica went through the entire campaign unbeaten, winning 28 of their 30 matches, including a run of 23 victories in a row, twice finishing as the league's top scorer and was named the Portuguese Footballer of the Year in 1971.


10. Deco


A Brazilian by birth. He didn't get the opportunity to play for Brazil and that proved to be Portugal's gain as the diminutive midfielder quickly established himself as one of the national team's most important players following his debut in 2003. He gained Portuguese citizenship by spending five years in the country, with the most notable spell in his adopted homeland coming with Porto. There, he helped the team to three league titles, three cups, a UEFA Cup and the Champions League, being voted man of the match in the final of the latter. He added another Champions League crown with Barcelona two years later and also won La Liga twice during his time in Spain before moving to Chelsea and picking up another league title and two FA Cups. He featured in two World Cups for Portugal, while individually he came second in the Ballon d'Or voting in 2004.


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