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Best Portuguese Players of All Time

Thu 25 March 2021 | 14:30

We are about to see who are the best players in the history of Portuguese Football.

We have seen plenty of Portugal's great football stars. But do you know who tops the list of the greatest of all time? Well, there are many to be considered the best Portuguese football players of all time.

But, here we've got eleven names. Portugal has generated some extremely talented football players worldwide over the last few years.

One of them is Cristiano Ronaldo, with whom we have seen Ricardo Quaresma form his career very well. On many occasions, Portuguese players have played to a great level, whether for their nation or the club.

The truth is, nobody has ever come close to what Cristiano Ronaldo has accomplished over the years. He's not only the current best, but he's also the greatest soccer player of all time.

But let's find out who makes it into our top 11 greatest Portuguese football players of all time.

Best Portuguese Players of All Time

This is the ultimate list Sportmob has come up with for the best and most famous Portuguese soccer players of all time

Vitor Baia

Vitor Manuel Martins Baia, OIH (born October 15, 1969) is a retired Portuguese soccer player who was a goalkeeper and one of the best Portuguese footballers of all time.

His career was closely linked to

FC Porto

, one of the most decorated goalkeepers of all time, which he began representing professionally still in his youth, helping it to 27 titles and ultimately remaining with the club in an ambassadorial role.

Baia has played for Barcelona and participated in two European Championships and the 2002 World Cup for Portugal's national team.

Although in his first season he missed just one La Liga match, as Barcelona placed second to Real Madrid, adding the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup campaign, during his two-and-a-half-year period Baia also suffered from knee problems.

In addition, when Louis van Gaal took over for Bobby Robson in

Barcelona

, he was taken out of the team in favor of compatriot manager Ruud Hesp, then loaned back to Porto in the mid-season, filling the role some said he had "haunted" since his departure, as many goalkeepers had struggled to perform in that position.

On 19 December 1990, Baia made his Portuguese senior debut in a 1-0 friendly win over the United States, at the age of 21.

He continued to make 80 national team appearances until 2002, featuring in all the UEFA Euro 1996 and 2000 matches (except for one in the latter, as they were already qualified) and in the FIFA World Cup in 2002.

He stopped Arif Erdem's penalty in Euro 2000 in the 2-0 defeat of Turkey in the quarter-finals.

He is one of the Best Portuguese Players of All Time.

Coach Antonio Oliveira was dismissed after the failure of the 2002 World Cup when he declined to resign.

As his substitute, Luiz Felipe Scolari was hired and Baia, a stalwart with a record of caps in his place for the past ten years, was fired.

Pepe

Kepler Laveran de Lima Ferreira ComM (born 26 February 1983), recognized as Pepe, is a professional Portuguese footballer who plays for Porto and the national team of

Portugal

as a center back.

He is one of the best Portuguese footballers of all time.

With individual and team success with the middle two clubs, Pepe played for Maritimo, Porto,

Real Madrid

, and Besiktas during his professional career.

He won 3 La Liga titles, 3 UEFA Champions League titles, 2 Copa del Rey titles and played in 334 Real Madrid matches.

He also won, with Porto, three Primeira Liga titles and two Taca de Portugal titles.

Pepe, who was born and raised in Brazil, chose to play for the Portuguese national team and has won 113 caps since his 2007 debut.

Being one of the Best Portuguese Players of All Time he participated in three FIFA World Cups and three UEFA European Championships, and was a part of the Euro 2016 winning squad that also reached the Euro 2012 semi-finals.

In any youth category, Pepe never represented his native Brazil.

However, according to the father of the player, he was approached by head coach Dunga in 2006 about a potential call-up that he refused, saying that he would join his national team once he acquired Portuguese citizenship.

Nani

Luis Carlos Almeida da Cunha ComM (born 17 November 1986), usually referred to as Nani, is a professional Portuguese footballer who plays for the Major League Soccer side

Orlando City SC

as a winger and captain.

As one of the

best Portuguese footballers of all time

, he represents Portugal in international football and has appeared for the senior national team over 100 times.

While primarily right-footed, on many occasions he has been used on the left-wing.

Nani was born and is of Cape Verde descent in Amadora, Portugal.

He started his football career playing for Real Massama, a local team.

At the age of nine, he began training with

Sporting CP

and S.L. Benfica on alternate days, eventually joining Sporting's youth squad after they offered him pre-season training.

Nani made his professional debut with the club in 2005 and, during his second season with them, won the Taca de Portugal.

In May 2007, Nani was named the SJPF Young Player of the Month and his achievements with Sporting resulted in a move in July 2007 to the English club Manchester United for a fee of €25 million.

He is one of the famous Portuguese footballers in football history

Ricardo Carvalho

Ricardo Alberto Silveira de Carvalho OIH (born 18 May 1978) is a retired Portuguese footballer who played as a center-back.

He is commonly regarded as one of the modern era's greatest center-backs and one of the

Best Portuguese Players of All Time

.

He is currently the assistant manager of

Marseille

's French club.

In Porto, where he had loan spells at Leca, Vitoria de Setubal, and Alverca, Carvalho started his career before earning domestic and European trophies under Jose Mourinho's management.

For a fee of just under €30 million, Carvalho moved to Chelsea in July 2004.

With the Blues, during his first two seasons, he won two Premier League titles in a row and one League Cup.

He was voted Team's Players' Player of the Year in 2008. Two years later, he helped

Chelsea

win the league FA Cup, the first Double in the club's history.

 He moved to Real Madrid for a fee of £ 6.7 million in August 2010, following six years with Chelsea, winning two domestic honors under Mourinho's management before a free move to Monaco in 2013.

He is indeed one of the famous Portuguese footballers in football history.

Carvalho's national team career in international football began on 11 October 2003 with a friendly match against Albania.

In three UEFA European Championships and two FIFA World Cups, he represented Portugal and was a part of the team that won the 2016 UEFA Euro.

During Euro 2004, when his country progressed all the way to the final before losing to Greece, he was a fixture in Portugal's lineup.

He appeared in six matches in the 2006 World Cup for Portugal, who ended fourth after reaching the semi-finals.

Deco

Anderson Luis de Souza, known as Deco, is a retired professional footballer who played as an attacking midfielder or central midfielder (born 27 August 1977).

Deco is one of the

famous Portuguese footballers in football history.

With two clubs, Deco is one of the few players to win the UEFA Champions League, with Porto in 2004 and Barcelona in 2006.

In Porto's Champions League winning season, he was named UEFA Club Footballer of the Year and UEFA Best Midfielder, and was named Man of the Match in the 2004 UEFA Champions League Final.

With two clubs, Porto and Barcelona, Deco became the first player to receive the UEFA Best Midfielder Award.

While losing to

Internacional

, considered as one of the Best Portuguese Players of All Time, he was awarded the 2006 FIFA Club World Cup Golden Ball and the Man of the Match award in the final.

Born and raised in Brazil, Deco acquired Portuguese citizenship in 2002 after completing five years of Portuguese residency and subsequently decided to play for the Portuguese national team internationally.

For them, he won 75 caps, featuring in two UEFA European Championships and two FIFA World Cups, reaching the Euro 2004 final and placing fourth in the 2006 World Cup.

Rui Costa

Rui Manuel Cesar Costa OIH (born March 29, 1972) is a retired professional footballer from Portugal.

Considered one of the best midfielders in the world and one of the

Best Portuguese Players of All Time

, Costa typically played as an attacking midfielder and was especially known for his outstanding technique, ability to play, and midfield eye for goal.

He was voted one of the 125 greatest living football players in 2004 by Pele in the FIFA 100.

Nicknamed "The Maestro" and “Il Musagete”, Costa spent the majority of his career with Benfica in Portugal and Fiorentina and

A.C. Milan

in Italy.

He won numerous trophies in a top-flight career spanning 17 years, including one trophy in the Primeira Liga, one Taca de Portugal, one Serie A title, three Coppa Italia, one UEFA Champions League, and one UEFA Super Cup.

He accumulated 94 caps and scored 26 goals for A Selecao as a Portuguese international and represented the country in three UEFA European Championships and one FIFA World Cup.

In the summer of 1991,

Portugal Under-21

coach Carlos Queiroz was so inspired by Costa's displays at Fafe that he was called to the squad to represent Portugal in the World Youth Cup.

In 1991, the Portuguese under-20 national team won the Youth World Championship.

In the final, his clinching penalty kick versus Brazil helped win the title on home soil and named Costa one of the most brilliant members of what would become known as the "Golden Generation."

He was without a doubt one of the best Portuguese soccer players ever.

As the team reached the quarterfinals of UEFA Euro 1996, the semi-finals of Euro 2000, and the final of UEFA Euro 2004, Costa was a part of Portugal's most consistent years at senior level.

Mario Coluna

A Portuguese footballer who played mostly as a central midfielder was Mario Esteves Coluna (6 August 1935-25 February 2014) and he is one of the

best Portuguese soccer players ever.

During 16 professional seasons, he spent most of his career with

Benfica

, featuring in 525 official matches and scoring 127 goals.

He won 19 big titles with his main club, including ten national leagues and two European Cups, called O Monstro Sagrado (The Sacred Monster).

At the 1966 World Cup, Coluna represented Portugal and gained a total of 57 caps.

He was considered one of his generation's best midfielders and was often seen as one of the Best Portuguese Players of All Time.

For Portugal's national team, Coluna played 57 times, producing eight goals.

His first appearance was on 4 May 1955 in a friendly match with

Scotland

(0-3 loss), and his last in a 4-2 loss on 11 December 1968 in Greece for the 1970 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

During the third-place campaign at the 1966 World Cup, in England, Coluna captained the Magricos team in all but one of the matches.

Fernando Peyroteo

Fernando Baptista de Seixas Peyroteo de Vasconcelos (10 March 1918 – 28 November 1978) was a Portuguese footballer who played as a striker and was one of the

Best Portuguese Players of All Time.

He spent his entire professional career with Sporting, producing 544 goals in all competitions, winning 11 major titles and six times being crowned his country's top division scorer on six occasions.

Peyroteo, who was born in Humpata, Huila Province, Portuguese Angola, arrived at Sporting CP on June 26, 1937.

He went on to be part of the attacking line of the club that included Albano, Jesus Correia, Jose Travassos and Manuel Vasques and was nicknamed the Cinco Violinos, scoring 57 goals in just 30 games in his first year to win both the Lisbon Championship and the Taca de Portugal, then named the Portuguese Championship.

He was one of the best Portuguese soccer players ever.

Peyroteo collected five

Primeira Liga

trophies, five domestic cups and the first edition of the Supertaca Candido de Oliveira at the new Estadio Nacional, netting twice in the latter tournament for an eventual 3–2 extra time win over S.L. Benfica.

He scored nine times in a single game against Leca F.C. and eight against Boavista FC, and his goals-per-game ratio was the best in Portuguese football, at 1.68 successful strikes per game.

Luis Figo

Luis Filipe Madeira Caeiro Figo OIH (born 4 November 1972) is a former professional footballer from Portugal who, until retiring on 31 May 2009, played as a midfielder for Sporting CP, Barcelona, Real Madrid and

Inter Milan

.

For the Portugal national team, he won 127 caps, a record at the time but later broken by Cristiano Ronaldo.

He is known as one of the

famous Portuguese soccer players of all time

.

Renowned for his innovation and skill as a winger to get past defenders, Figo is known as one of his generation's greatest players.

Behind Lionel Messi, his 106 assists are the second-most in La Liga history.

He won the 2000 Ballon d'Or, the 2001 FIFA World Player of the Year, and was voted one of the world's greatest living players by Pele in 2004 on the FIFA 100 list.

Figo is one of the few football players to have featured for Barcelona and Real Madrid, both competing Spanish clubs.

Being one of the Best Portuguese Players of All Time, A world record fee of €62 million was set by his controversial move from Barcelona to bitter rivals Real Madrid in 2000.

Figo had a decent career highlighted by numerous trophy wins, including the Portuguese Cup, four La Liga titles, two Spanish Cups, three Spanish Super Cups, one UEFA Champions League title, one UEFA Winners' Cup, two UEFA Super Cups, one Intercontinental Cup, four Serie A titles, one Italian Cup and three Italian Super Cups.

He registered 32 goals for Portugal internationally, representing the nation at three European Championships and two World Cups, helping them to reach the final but to finish as Euro 2004 runners-up.

Eusebio

A Portuguese footballer who played as a striker was Eusebio da Silva Ferreira GCIH GCM (25 January 1942 – 5 January 2014).

Eusebio is regarded as one of the

best Portuguese players ever

. He scored 733 goals in 745 matches during his professional career (41 goals in 64 matches for Portugal).

He was renowned for his pace, technique, athleticism and his fearsome right-footed shot, called the Black Panther, the Black Pearl, or o Rei (the King), which made him a prominent goal scorer.

He is known as S.L. Benfica's greatest player ever, Portugal's greatest national team, and one of the first African-born players in the world.

At the 1966 World Cup, Eusebio helped Portugal attain third place, becoming the tournament's top goalscorer with nine goals (including four in one game against North Korea) and winning the Bronze Ball award.

In 1965, he received the Ballon d'Or award for European footballer of the year, and in 1962 and 1966, he was runner-up.

He played as a footballer for Benfica for 15 out of his 22 years, thus being primarily linked to the Portuguese club, and is the all-time top scorer of the team with 473 goals in 440 competitive matches.

He is definitely one of the very best Portuguese football players of all time.

He won eleven Primeira Liga titles there, five Taca de Portugal titles, a European Cup (1961-62) and helped them to reach three more European Cup finals (1963, 1965, 1968).

He is the eighth-highest goal scorer in the history of the European Cup and the second-highest in the pre-Champions League era, behind Alfredo Di Stefano, with 48 goals.

In 1964–65, 1965–66 and 1967–68, he was the top scorer in the European Cup.

He also won a record seven times with the Bola de Prata (Primeira Liga top scorer award). In 1968, a feat he replicated in 1973, he was the first player ever to win the European Golden Boot and one of the best Portuguese players of all time.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro GOIH ComM (born 5 February 1985) is a professional Portuguese footballer who plays for Serie A club

Juventus

as a forward and captains the national team of Portugal.

Ronaldo has won five Ballon d'Or awards and four European Golden Shoes, all of which are records for a European player, and is often considered one of the

best Portuguese football players

of all time

and generally considered one of the greatest players of all time.

In his career, he has won 31 major trophies, including seven titles in the league, five UEFA Champions Leagues, one UEFA European Championship and one UEFA Nations League title.

In the history of the UEFA Champions League, Ronaldo holds the records for the most goals (134) and assists (41).

He is one of the few recorded players to have made over 1,000 professional career appearances and has scored over 780 senior career goals for club and country. 

He is also the second male to score 100 international goals and the first European man to accomplish the feat.

He is one of the best Portuguese players ever.

Born and raised in Madeira, before signing with

Manchester United

in 2003, aged 18, Ronaldo started his senior club career playing for Sporting CP.

He helped United win three consecutive Premier League titles, the UEFA Champions League and the FIFA Club World Cup, after winning the FA Cup in his first season.

at age 23, he won his first Ballon d'Or. In 2009, Ronaldo was the subject of the then-most expensive association football transfer when signed for Real Madrid in a transfer worth €94 million (£80 million).

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source: SportMob
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