Five years ago, one of the best players of all times passed away. The legend of Benfica, Mário Coluna died on February 25, 2014, one month after Eusébio, due to a cardiac arrest. He was 78 years old.
Born in Mozambique on August 6, 1935, Coluna was part of a generation of great football icons.
He wore Benfica's jersey for the first time on September 12, 1954, in the thrashing of Vitória de Setúbal, for matchday 1 of the National Championship, at Estádio do Jamor. Apart from making his debut, Mário Coluna also scored his first two goals with an eagle on his chest (50’ and 65’). The remaining goals were scored by Arsénio (5’), Salvador Martins (25’) and José Águas (46’).
“Captain”, “Sacred Monster”, or simply “Sir Coluna”, as Eusébio insisted on calling him, were the nicknames that he acquired throughout the 16 seasons playing for Benfica.
In 1970, Coluna left Benfica as one of the best players in Portugal and as one of Europe's greatest, having won two European Cups (he scored in both finals, against Barcelona and Real Madrid).
He also won 10 National Championships, six Portuguese Cups and countless trophies of national and international prestige. He was the captain of the National Team in 1966 World Cup, in England, where the "Magriços" finished in 3rd place.
Text: Márcia Dores
Pics: Archive / SL Benfica