Over the years many Portuguese football stars have stood out for club and country. Every year Portugal has new stars that stand out and many of them eventually become a Country Icon and brand ambassador for their national squad.
Here is a list of the top 5 Portuguese footballers of all time. All these players have contributed to football in a big way.
- Paulo Futre
This highly creative left-footed winger is a legend that played for a host of clubs but the most notable years of his career were spent at Atletico Madrid. By the end of his career spanning between 1983 and 1998, he had made 320 appearances and scored 79 goals at club level and played 41 times in Portugal colours. His explosive pace and trickery drew comparisons with Diego Maradona and was thus a delight to watch.
- Rui Costa
Rui Costa’s was a gracious midfielder known for his vision, technique and passing. He is one of the best Portuguese midfielders ever. His intelligence and elegance pours cold water on the abilities of similar present day players like Andre Pirlo. Pele regards him as one of the top 125 football greatest living footballers. No endorsement is bigger. In a career that ran from 1990 to 2008, he played 498 times and scored 66 times. He played 94 times in the national colours.
- Luís Figo
He is without doubts one of the most decorated footballers in the world at large and one that still brings smiles to the faces of Portuguese football fans till date. The winger, known for his dribbling, feints and pace, played for Sporting CP, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Inter Milan. He also holds the record number of appearances for the Portuguese national team after making 127 appearances. His career began in 1989 and ended 577 appearances and 93 goals later, in 2009.
The Black Panther would have remained top of every list focusing on the greatest Portuguese players if Cristiano Ronaldo didn’t burst onto the scene. His speed, ferocious right-footed shots, technique and athleticism helped him score 423 goals in 431 total senior appearances. He scored a further 41 goals for Portugal in 64 appearances. Many football scholars believe he would be rated higher than Pele if he was able to help Portugal bring back the World Cup. He passed away in 2014 and at the time, Alfredo Di Stéfano said “For me Eusébio will always be the best player of all time”
- Cristiano Ronaldo
The only reason why Cristiano Ronaldo isn’t by far and away the best footballer in the world in the last decade is the fact that a certain Lionel Messi burst onto the scene around the same time. Even the most ardent Lionel Messi fans admire the Forward’s tenacity, athleticism, incredible goal sense and incomparable dedication to football.Ronaldo has scored over 340 career goals in 450 appearances as at the time of writing. He has scored 55 goals for Portugal in 124 appearances. At just 31, with at least 4 years of top level football to go, there is every chance he will continue to break all records set by some others on this list. Figo’s all-time Portuguese national team appearance record will definitely be broken this year for starters.
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