Bento, the Best of All Times


Three years ago, the journalists of UEFA considered the former Benfica goalkeeper as the best of all times in his position.

On January 30th, 2015, the correspondents of UEFA decided to name the best goalkeepers ever of each federation that integrate the governing body of European football. In Portugal, the choice was Manuel Galrinho Bento, the historical goalkeeper of Benfica and the National Team, who passed away in 2007.

By the time of the election, it could be read on the UEFA website: “The late Manuel Bento was no typical goalkeeper. At only 1,73 m tall, Bento balanced out that with superb reflexes, a cool head and a fearless attitude. Nicknamed ‘the rubber man’ for his agility, he represented Portugal 63 times. He played for Sport Lisboa e Benfica until he well into his 40s and he officially hung up his gloves in 1992, after winning nine championships with the reds.”

Born on June 25th, 1948, Bento began his senior career at Barreirense. He stood out and in 1972/73 he moved to Luz where he remained until 1991/92. His debut with an eagle on his chest happened on April 22nd, 1973, at Estádio São Luís, against Farense (a win by 0-5). He came in at 60′ to replace José Henrique, the goal stopper with whom he shared the Reds’ goal until the 1976/77 season.


In the following season– 1977/78 – he claimed the number 1 spot, with  Fidalgo as his substitute. For Benfica, Manuel Bento played 636 matches and scored one goal; he won 22 titles: 9 National Championships, 5 Portuguese Cups, 2 Cândido de Oliveira Super Cup, 1 Iberian Cup and e 6 Lisbon Honor Cups.

The goalkeeper was also a legend of the National team. He represented Portugal in 63 occasions and was present in the 1984 European Championships, in France, where he helped Portugal reach the semi-finals, and the 1986 World Cup, in Mexico.


Country Goalkeeper
Albania Perlat Musta
Andorra Koldo Álvarez de Eulate
Armenia Alyosha Abrahamyan
Austria Walter Zeman
Azerbaijan Kamran Agayev
Belarus Mikhail Vergeenko
Belgium Jean-Marie Pfaff
Bosnia-Herzegovina Enver Maric
Bulgaria Borislav Mihaylov
Croatia Vladimir Beara
Cyprus Nicos Panayiotou
Czech Republic Petr Cech
Denmark Peter Schmeichel
England Gordon Banks
Estonia Mart Poom
Faroe Islands Jákup Mikkelsen
Finland Antti Niemi
France Fabien Barthez
Macedonia Blagoje Vidinic
Georgia Otar Gabelia
Germany Sepp Maier
Gibraltar Tony Macedo
Greece Antonis Nikopolidis
Hungary Gyula Grosics
Iceland Bjarni Sigurdsson
Israel Yacov Hodorov
Italy Dino Zoff
Kazakhstan Kuralbek Ordabayev
Latvia Aleksandrs Kolinko
Liechtenstein Peter Jehle
Lithuania Vladas Tuckus
Luxemburg Jonathan Joubert
Malta Mario Muscat
Moldavia Denis Romanenco
Montenegro Dragoje Lekovic
Holland Edwin van der Sar
Northern Ireland Pat Jennings
Norway Erik Thorstvedt
Poland Jozef Mlynarczyk
Ireland Shay Given
Romania Ion Voinescu
Russia Lev Yashin
San Marino Claudio Maiani
Scotland Jim Leighton
Serbia Milutin Soskic
Slovakia Viliam Schrojf
Slovenia Samir Handanovic
Spain Ricardo Zamora
Sweden Karl Svensson
Switzerland Marco Pascolo
Turkey Rustu Reçber
Ukraine Olexandr Shovkovskiy
Wales Neville Southall