Eusébio da Silva Ferreira passed away on January 5th 2014. With a brilliant and endless professional path, marked by his tremendous ability to play Football, the "Black Panther" crossed frontiers.
Recognized in any part of the planet, the "Benfiquista" glory was honored at Panteão Nacional, on July 3rd 2015, just like happened before with other eleven national personalities.It was the first time that a sportsman deserved such a ceremony, as it shows all of his importance in our country.
Before the final ceremony, there was a parade in the Lisbon's main arteries. It all has begun in Cemitério do Lumiar, followed by a mass in Seminário da Luz, where there was his family, friends and many guests, counting also with the presence of the Benfica's Governing Bodies, led by the president Luís Filipe Vieira.
The journey to his last address has continued and one of the highest moments was the stoppage at Estádio da Luz. With the sound of the Sport Lisboa e Benfica's hymn, thousands of Benfiquistas applauded and lived a moment of great emotion. The parade went to Segunda Circular, passing by Campo Grande, Avenida da República, Saldanha and Marquês de Pombal, circulating around Parque Eduardo VII and then stopping next to the national flag. The coffin was then transferred to a horse-drawn car and escorted by a Royal Guard, constituted by 54 knights.
The parade has passed by Federação Portuguesa de Futebol, where there was written, on huge canvas: "The genius live forever", and by the Parliament, before the arrival at Santa Clara's field. Fulfilled the protocol, the arrival of the mortal remains at Panteão Nacional has occurred at 7:00pm, where there where personalities of all areas.
The National Hymn was interpreted in a unique way by the singer Dulce Pontes, opening the official ceremony.
António Simões, SL Benfica's glory, the ”Eusébio´s white brother”, took the floor, in an exciting moment, full of symbolism. "I play the most exciting match of my life along with Eusébio. A match which says victory, trophy and glory. I'm not playing the final of the European Champions Clubs' Cup or the Semi-final of a World Cup, I'm paying tribute to a unique friend, an unforgettable teammate, an incredible human-being, the biggest and the best Portuguese sportsman ever", he declared.
António Simões also remembered that the "Black Panther" was determinant in the way that the other countries were looking at us. “Eusébio, the biggest popular hero of the Portuguese XX century, has forced the world to look at an ostracized Portugal in the international level, as a consequence of a political stubbornness, turning it into a respectful country. To let him rest next to the great figures of our homeland is an act of elementary justice."
The ceremony has counted even with the touching speeches of Maria Assunção Esteves, President of the Republic Assembly and Aníbal Cavaco Silva, President of the Republic.
The singer Rui Veloso came in white to celebrate the King's life, singing two songs: “Nunca me esqueci de ti” and “Irmã África”.
There was still time for a video projection and for the signing of Termo de Sepultura in Panteão Nacional. After the signings, the national Hymn was interpreted by Banda da Guarda Nacional Republicana (GNR). At the end, the coffin was taken inside Panteão Nacional, a moment of great emotion.
Eusébio da Silva Ferreira was born on January 25th 1942. He was the fourth son of Laurindo António da Silva Ferreira and Elisa Anissabene, born in the popular neighbourhood of Mafalala, in the poor area of Xipamanine, capital of the Mozambican Lourenço Marques, a Portuguese colony.
In a large family, with seven brothers, he started early, playing with a ball made out of rags, on the dirt fields of Mafalala, from morning till night, until the sunset.He came to Lisbon in December 1960 and made his debut in the Reserve Team on May 23rd 1961. He was a National Champion for the first time, in the same year.
The "Black Panter" has also succeeded individually, contributing for the success of the teams which he was integrating (a total of 35 trophies). In 614 matches with the Benfica's jersey he scored 638 goals, the same is to say, averaging more than a goal per match. In the National Championship, in 301 matches he scored 317 times (2nd best scorer ever).
In the Portuguese Cup, he scored 98 goals in 61 matches (best scorer ever). In the European Champions Clubs' Cup, 46 goals in 64 matches.
Eusébio was in SL Benfica for 15 seasons – 1960/61 to 1974/75 – completing 14, and being, three times, the top scorer of the European Champions Clubs' Cup. He also won two Golden Boots and a Golden Ball.