Fans bid the legend Eusebio a tearful adieu at Lisbon
Portugal paid final homage yesterday to footballing legend Eusebio, who grew up in grinding African poverty to become one of the world’s greatest players.
To the applause of thousands of supporters, Eusebio’s coffin was carried around Lisbon’s Luz Stadium inside a black limousine as Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli’s “Con te partiro” was played from loudspeakers.
Fans, some in tears, sang the national anthem and waved flags bearing Eusebio’s image as the coffin draped in the red and white flag of Eusebio’s club Benfica drove by.
Before being driven around the stadium an endless stream of mourners, including politicians and football players, braved the rain and came to bow to the coffin which was displayed in a chapel inside the stadium.
Flags flew at half mast across Lisbon with the Portuguese government decreeing three days of mourning for Eusebio da Silva Ferreira, who died of a heart attack early on Sunday aged 71.
“Portugal has today lost one of its most beloved sons, Eusebio da Silva Ferreira. The country mourns his death,” President Anibal Silva said.
A car with Eusebio’s coffin is paraded in Lisbon’s Luz Stadium. PIC/AFP
Thousands of fans, many wearing Benfica scarves around their necks, applauded and sang the national anthem when Eusebio’s body arrived the at Luz Stadium on Sunday.
Supporters placed flowers, handmade posters and scarves with the club’s red and white colours. A funeral mass was to be held in the Seminary Church yesterday, and the footballer will be laid to rest at the Lumiar cemetery in the city’s northern suburbs.
Eusebio, born into poverty in Africa, scored 733 goals in 745 matches and rivalled all-time greats including Pele, Alfredo Di Stefano and Sir Bobby Charlton.