15 Best Portuguese Football Players of All Time

Who is the greatest Portuguese footballer of all time?

Portugal is a European country that has a strong football team. The country has hundreds of talented players who play in different European leagues. Some names such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Luis Figo and Eusebio are even regarded as the best in the history of football. The question is, who is the greatest among them?

In the article, I wrote a list of 15 best footballers in the history of football in Portugal. Those players have achieved a lot of awards and achievements, both team awards as well as individual achievements. Among these fifteen footballers, who is your favorite?

15. Nuno Gomes

One of the most memorable performances of Nuno Gomes was in the Euro 2000 tournament, where he appeared as one of the best players of the tournament and helped Portugal defeated big teams such as England and Germany. He also briefly played for several clubs outside Portugal such as Fiorentina and Blackburn Rovers. In Fiorentina, Gomes won the Coppa Italia in the 2000-2001 season. He also twice won the Portuguese League when he played for Benfica in the period 2002-2011.

14. Simao

Simao Sabrosa is a winger who had successful career in the Spanish league. Throughout his career, Simao played for three La Liga clubs: Barcelona, ​​Atletico Madrid and Espanyol. His best career as a footballer was achieved when he played for Atletico Madrid. With this club Simao won a UEFA Cup trophy and was named the best player of La Liga in the 2006-2007 season. Simao also successfully helped Portugal national football team become the runner-up of Euro 2004.

13. Fernando Couto

Fernando Couto is a very experienced defender who played for many big clubs in various countries throughout his career. He is known as a central defender who is very calm, yet formidable in stopping the opponent's attack. Throughout his career, Couto won three league competitions in three different countries. He won Portuguese League championship with Porto, Spanish La Liga with Barcelona, ​​and Italian Serie A with Lazio.

12. Paulo Sousa

Until now, there has not been a Portugal defensive midfielder who is able to play as great as Paulo Sousa. This player golden period occurred in 1994-1997 in which he won two Champions League trophies with two different teams, Juventus and Borussia Dortmund. He also helped Portugal win the U-20 World Cup in 1989. Throughout his career, Sousa played in 51 matches for the national football team of Portugal.

11. Vitor Baia

Vitor Baia was a formidable and charismatic goalkeeper. He spent 16 years of his career with FC Porto, led the club win eleven Portuguese league titles, one Champions League trophy and one UEFA Cup trophy. Baia also played for two seasons for Barcelona, ​​where he won a La Liga title and the Copa Del Rey trophy. Baia's best individual achievement is winning the UEFA's best goalkeeper award in the 2003-2004 season.

10. João Pinto

The attacker may not very well known compared to other Portugal strikeres because he spent his entire career playing in the Portuguese league. However, the quality of Pinto as a striker is no longer in doubt. He was three times elected as the best player of Portugal, and even managed to help Boavista win the Portuguese Liga in the 1993-1994 season, breaking the dominance of FC Porto, Sporting Lisbon and Benfica. With Portugal national team, Pinto won the U-20 World Cup twice in 1989 and 1991.

9. Manuel Rui Costa

Rui Costa is one of the best Fiorentina players of all time. In addition to Luis Figo, Rui Costa can be named as the most successful Portuguese players ever to play in the Italian League. After a seven-year career with Fiorentina, Rui Costa moved to AC Milan in 2001. Over the five years to play at this club, Rui Costa won a Champions League trophy and a Serie A title. In his best period, Rui Costa is known as a formidable central midfielder. He has good passing ability, creative, and an also famous as a good set-piece taker.

8. Pauleta

Pauleta is a very prolific striker who actually had a better career abroad rather than in Portugal domestic league. He achieved great success with Deportivo La Coruna in the Spanish League and Bordeaux and Paris Saint-Germain in the French league. Together with Deportivo, he became the champion of La Liga in the 1999-2000 season. Throughout his career in the French league, he became three times Ligue 1 top scorer and twice won the League Cup with PSG.

7. Fernando Chalana

Before the emergence of Luis Figo and Cristiano Ronaldo, Fernando Chalana was regarded as the best winger ever to play for the national team of Portugal. He has great dribbling skills and speed, making him a mainstay of the Portuguese squad in Euro 1984. In the tournament, he managed to help Portugal reach semi-finals rounds. In addition to winning six league titles with Benfica, Chalana also had successful overseas career with Bordeaux, where he won two French League titles.

6. Ricardo Carvalho

Considering the statistics and the number of trophies that have been won, Carvalho is a player who deserves to be called as the greatest Portugal defender of all time. This player is a tough central defender who became a favorite player of Jose Mourinho. He worked with Mourinho in three different clubs: Porto, Chelsea and Real Madrid. Carvalho's best individual achievement was winning the UFA's Best Defender award in the 2003-2004 season.

5. Deco

Creative and talented. Deco is an attacking midfielder who had successful career with Porto, Barcelona, ​​and Chelsea. This player was actually born in Brazil, but decided to change his citizenship to Portugese in order to get the chance playing for Portugal national team. Throughout his career, he won two Champions League trophies when he was playing at Porto and Barcelona. He was also awarded as the UEFA Club Footballer of the Year in the 2003-04 season.

4. Luis Figo

Luis Figo became the center of the football world's attention when he was named the world's most expensive player in the 1999-2000 season. At that time, Figo was signed by Real Madrid from Barcelona. Indeed, the transfer value is proportional with Figo's remarkable capabilities as a footballer. He is known as a midfielder with great dribbling skill, technique, and creativity. Some of the greatest achievements won by Figo throughout his career are four La Liga titles, four Serie A titles (with Inter Milan), and one Champions League trophy. Figo also six times in a row was named as the best footballer of Portugal, from 1995 to 2000.

3. Nené

Nene is a retired Portuguese striker who became a mainstay of this team in the Euro 1984 tournament. Nene is a very agile, fast, and effective striker. In his 18-year career as a professional footballer, he only played for one club, Benfica. With Benfica, Nene won 11 Portuguese league titles and eight Portuguese Cup. He also became a two-time league top scorer in 1981 and 1984. In total, he scored 361 goals in 577 games in Portuguese League.

2. Eusebio

Eusebio is a former striker who became the top scorer of the 1966 World Cup tournament. The Mozambique-born player is known as a striker who is very fast, agile, and powerful; even considered to have better physical abilities than Pele. Most of his career he spent with Benfica, where Eusebio led the club win the Portuguese League titles eleven times. Not only that, Eusebio is also the all-time top scorer in the Portuguese league, with a record of 638 goals in 614 matches.

1. Cristiano Ronaldo

Considering the fact that Ronaldo is still actively playing and has won many individuals and teams awards; it seems that he is the most appropriate player to be awarded the title of the best Portugal footballer in the history. During his career at Manchester United and Real Madrid, Ronaldo won three Premier League titles, one La Liga title and one Champions League trophy. He also broke the record as the world's most expensive player and became the only player to win the Golden Shoe (top scorer award in Europe) in two different leagues. If only Ronaldo is able to present the World Cup title for Portugal, it is not impossible if many people would regard him as the best footballer ever.

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