The Black Panther is the only player in football history who managed to become the European Cup’s and the World Cup’s top scorer in the same season.
When we think we know everything about Eusébio’s career, one more data that surprises us appears. That is the case with a record he holds, that lasts for 52 years, and that will last for at least four more years: the King is the only footballer in history that managed to become the top scorer of the European Cup and of the World Cup in the same year.
It was the year of 1966! Portugal was competing in a World Cup for the first time. The competition took place in England, a country that would be forever rendered to the Black Panther’s talent. In group 3, the Portugal national team would have to face two heavy-weights: Brazil, the World Champion, and Puskas’ Hungary. Bulgaria rounded off the batch of opponents.
In the Portuguese side, one of the smallest delegations of the competition and a batch of unknown players, despite Benfica have won two European Cups (1960/61 and 1961/62). On the contrary, Eusébio was one of the most well-known players, but Pelé was in the same group… Alien to all this, Eusébio hit the ground running and scored a brace against Brazil. Final score? 3-1 for Portugal. He scored again in the 3-0 win over Bulgaria and he did not score in the 3-1 win over Hungary.
The haul that immortalized Eusébio in the history of the World Cups
The World Cup takes place since 1930, but few matches of the competition exceed the Portugal-North Korea (5-3) from 1966 World Cup quarter-finals. In Liverpool, Eusébio saw his name go down in the history of the competition after scoring four goals in the match.
Portugal was 0-3 down at 25’, but then Eusébio took the stage. Benfica’s goal poacher score the first at 27’ and only stopped after the fourth strike. José Augusto scored the 5th goal from Portugal. Next came the home team. In Wembley, the Portuguese national team lost by 2-1. Even so, Eusébio scored the solitary goal from Portugal.
EUSÉBIO’S NUMBERS IN 1966
In the 3rd place final, Portugal and the Soviet Union locked horns and Black Panther beat the Black Spider, the nickname of Lev Yashin, the Soviet -goalkeeper. 2-1 was the final score, Portugal won the Bronze medal and Eusébio became the World Cup’s top scorer, with nine goals.
The goal poacher in the European Cup
Before the World Cup, Benfica participated in the European Cup, having reached the quarter-finals. Despite being eliminated by Manchester United, the Reds beat the Luxembourgers of Dudelange and the Bulgarians of Levski Sofia. Even without having played the semi-finals and the final, the King became the top scorer of the UEFA competition, with seven goals.
For this numbers contributed the routs against Dudelange (0-8 and 10-0). Eusébio only played the second leg but scored four goals.
He added the Championship’ top scorer award
In the same season, the forward of the Eagles won the Top scorer of the National Championship award, with 25 goals.
It worth highlighting that in the three competitions, Eusébio ended with an average of more than a goal scored per match. In all, in these three competitions, the Black Panther played 34 matches and scored 41 goals.