Ronaldo, Nani and more: Top 10 Portuguese footballers of all-time
Cristiano Ronaldo is the best Portugual player of all-time, but here are nine more talents the country has produced
There’s no denying it: Ronaldo is the ultimate Portuguese footballer. Playing for Manchester United and Real Madrid, Ronaldo has won three Premier Leagues, two Champions League titles and an FA Cup, along with a slew of other achievements. Gaining worldwide celebrity status for his exceptional skill and ability, as well as his charismatic charm that has landed him numerous lucrative endorsement deals, the football star is also vocal about his humble beginnings, where he grew up in poverty in Santo António. He has frequently said that this upbringing turned him into the champion he is today.
Dubbed by many as the golden boy of Portuguese football before Ronaldo came along, Luis Figo had an impressive and surprisingly-long career that spanned three decades. Starting at a Sporting CP youth team in 1984, he moved to the adult team in 1990, subsequently joining Barcelona, Real Madrid and Inter Milan before his retirement in 2009. In fact, Figo is widely remembered for switching from Barcelona to Real Madrid, which was set at a record-breaking £37m.
A staple of the 1990s Portugese football scene, Rui Costa mainly played for Benifica and Fiorentina, as well as Milan in the later stages of his career. A popular player among the general public, Costa was most famous for his last-minute passes to players, a tactic they frequently irked both the defenders and the referees.
Throughout the 1950s and 60s Mário Coluna was a solid performer for his teams, Benifica and Lyon. The midfielder performed so well for these teams (Benefica in the 1950s and Lyon in the 60s up until his retirement) that he was selected to represent Portugal in the 1966 world cup, and earned an impressive total of 57 caps.
Notable for being one of the first world-class African-born strikers, Eusebio was a force to be reckoned with throughout the matches of the 1960s. In addition to high achievements such as scoring 749 goals over the course of his career and helping Portugal reach third place at the 1966 world cup, Eusebio also remained prolific after his retirement, becoming a football and FIFA ambassador up until his death in 2014.
Commonly referred to as Pepe, the Brazilian-born Portuguese player has represented the country at the world cup twice, in 2010 and 2014. Pepe first joined the Portuguese team in 2007, and has since played for Real Madrid. He has been in the media for a number of on-pitch incidents, and is known for his short temper.
Currently playing as a winger for the Turkish club Beşiktaş, Ricardo Quaresma has played for Barcelona, Porto, Portugal and even Chelsea (on loan). He is best known for perfecting the ‘Trivela’ shooting technique; this is when you kick the ball in a curved motion with the outside of your boot, using just three toes. This is an incredibly difficult manoeuvre, one that Ricardo has posted tutorials of on YouTube so that his fans can get it just right.
Deco is known by his fans as ‘El Magico’ for a reason; the midfielder propelled Portugal to the knockout stages of 2006 and 2010 World Cups with his highly calculated and skilled passes. Deco had an unusual journey to representing Portugal, earning citizenship there by spending five years in the country, where he helped the team win three league titles and the Champions League. This lead him to eventually play for Barcelona for five years!
Paolo is notable for holding the title of youngest ever Portuguese football player, being just 17 years old when he was signed to Sporting CP in 1983. When playing with Atletico Madrid he won the Spanish Cup two years in a row, and was even named the Portuguese Footballer of the Year for the second time in 1987 – not bad for a 21 year old!
Born in Cape Verde and emigrating with his family to Europe at a young age, the winger is best known for playing alongside Manchester United for an astonishing eight years! Over this time Nani has built a considerably large fanbase over the years due to his dribbling skills. Nani has his own connections to Ronaldo; the two played together as part of the Sporting CP Youth program.
RONALDO is in cinemas for one night only November 9th, and also available on DVD, BD and Digital download the same day