Eusebio in intensive care after being admitted to Lisbon hospital with pneumonia
Hospital's medical director says football legend will remain there over festive period
The 69-year-old former Benfica star was one of the most talented players of his generation
His adopted nation's soccer federation hails him as a symbol of Portuguese football
Portuguese football legend Eusebio is in a stable condition after being admitted to hospital with bronchial pneumonia on Wednesday, his former club Benfica reported.
The 69-year-old, known affectionately as the “Black Panther” and one of the most talented players of his generation, is being kept at the Hospital da Luz in Lisbon as the illness has affected both lungs.
“He spent the night as well, and he is stable. From the clinical point of view (his condition) is stationary,” the hospital’s medical director Jose Roquette told reporters in quotes carried by Benfica’s website.
“There was no significant improvement in inflammatory parameters, analytical or radiological findings. So we continue with appropriate therapy and we hope this is resolved quickly.”
Roquette said Eusebio, who was the top scorer at the 1966 World Cup when Portugal finished third, would likely remain in hospital over the festive period after coming out of intensive care.
“This is not a situation that one can guarantee how long will it take to evolution, but admit it will take some time. We will give more information in due course. Most likely it will extend beyond Christmas, “he said.
Roquette said Eusebio’s wife and daughters had come to the hospital, but other visitors had been restricted.
In 2007, he had surgery to unblock arteries which carry blood to the brain.
Eusebio played for three North American Soccer League teams in the twilight of his career, but is best known for his exploits in 15 years at Benfica where he scored 638 goals in 614 appearances up until 1975.
“We wish a speedy recovery to Eusebio and also to express that the whole Portuguese football family is behind him,” the Portuguese Football Federation said in a statement.
“Eusebio is a symbol of Portuguese football. It will take a lot of strength to overcome this difficulty, but he has honored Portugal for many years with his distinguished presence, including as ambassador of the national team.”
Born in Mozambique, which was then a Portuguese territory, he scored 41 goals in 64 appearances for his adopted country.
At the 1966 World Cup he scored two goals as Portugal eliminated defending champions Brazil at the group stage, then netted four times in an incredible quarterfinal comeback against North Korea as his side rallied from 3-0 down to win 5-3 in one of the tournament’s most famous matches.
Eusebio scored again in the semifinal against England, but the hosts won 2-1 before beating Germany in the final.