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Michel Platini pays tribute to 'true legend' Eusébio

UEFA President Michel Platini has paid tribute to "one of the greatest players ever and a true ambassador for Portuguese football" after learning of the death of Eusébio.

Eusébio receiving the prestigious UEFA President's Award from Michel Platini
Eusébio receiving the prestigious UEFA President's Award from Michel Platini ©Getty Images

UEFA President Michel Platini was saddened to learn of the death of Eusébio – ambassador, legend and one of the game's all-time great players.

"Today football has lost one of the greatest players ever," said Mr Platini. "On the field, Eusébio was a true legend, in the colours of both Portugal and Benfica. But also off it, he was a true ambassador for Portuguese football on the international stage. He was more than a footballer. A good and charming man, Eusébio will be sadly missed."

The former SL Benfica and Portugal forward was the third recipient – after Alfredo Di Stéfano and Sir Bobby Charlton, and followed by Raymond Kopa, Gianni Rivera and Franz Beckenbauer – of the UEFA President's Award.

Speaking at the award ceremony in February 2010, the UEFA President said of Eusébio’s early career: "That fine Benfica team was the only team that could measure up to the great Real Madrid in the early 60s. That team had a hero – his name was Eusébio, he came from Mozambique and he became famous as the 'Pantera Negra' [Black Panther].

"Eusébio's worldwide reputation began in May 1962 in the European Champion Clubs' Cup final against Real Madrid. Eusébio scored two goals and gave a superb exhibition, showing all the skills which made him popular – astonishing speed and a powerful shot."