Portuguese, Benfica legend Eusebio dies of heart failure


With 11 Primeira Liga titles, a European Cup, a Ballon d’Or, and a Bronze Ball to his name, Portuguese soccer superstar Eusebio has passed away at the age of 71.

Most known for his time at Portuguese Primeira Liga giants Benfica, Eusebio scored an astonishing 317 league goals in just 304 appearances for the club.

He helped Benfica secure the 1962 European Cup, scoring the final two goals as they trumped a hat-trick from Real Madrid’s Ferenc Puskas to win 5-3

Eusebio also guided the Portuguese national team to third place at the 1966 World Cup, earning himself the Bronze Ball for being the competition’s top-scorer with nine goals. He got four in one match, one for the ages as Portugal found themselves 3-0 down only for Eusebio to singlehandedly rescue his country’s quarterfinal fortunes.

He bagged 41 international goals altogether in 64 appearances.

The East African-born striker, who began his life in severe poverty, was known as a pioneer for Africans in European soccer, with The Guardian’s Paul Hayward tabbing him as “Africa’s first great footballer.”

Eusebio’s biographer Jose Malheiro as well as Benfica confirmed his death, which was confirmed at 3:30am local time in Lisbon, Portugal.  Malheiro noted the superstar’s health was “very poor” as he struggled with heart and respiratory problems.

The legend finished his career in the United States with a number of teams, including the New Jersey Americans, Boston Minutemen, Las Vegas Quicksilver, and Buffalo Stallions.

Stay tuned for more here on ProSoccerTalk as we cover his legacy as well as the reaction around the soccer world to his loss.

Klopp to the Kop: Multiple reports say deal agreed at Liverpool

TURIN, ITALY - FEBRUARY 24:  Borussia Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp shouts to his players during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 match between Juventus and Borussia Dortmund at Juventus Arena on February 24, 2015 in Turin, Italy.  (Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)
Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

Jurgen Klopp is on his way to Liverpool to sign a contract naming him the next coach of the Reds.

The celebrated manager, 48, has been on “hiatus” from football since leaving Borussia Dortmund last season.

[ MORE: Messi to stand trial in Spain ]

Reports starting emerging earlier today that an agreement was imminent, and now the BBC is among those reporting that Klopp will be rolled out Friday morning.

From the BBC:

No contract has yet been signed but that is viewed as a formality when Klopp arrives in Liverpool later on Thursday. He will be officially unveiled by Liverpool on Friday morning at 10:00 BST.

There’s not much to say besides this: Klopp’s addition to the Premier League will give more color and brilliance to the country’s footballing scene. Only a certain class of manager can be instantly expected to find a better system for an inherited group of players.

This could and should be a game changer on Merseyside.

Appeal rejected! Lionel Messi will face court trial in Spain

VIGO, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 23:  Lionel Messi looks dejected after the La Liga match between Celta Vigo and FC Barcelona at Estadio Balaidos on September 23, 2015 in Vigo, Spain.  (Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images)
Alex Caparros/Getty Images
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It was a mere 48 hours ago that Lionel Messi looked close to in the clear when it came to tax evasion charges.

Now the question is whether a Spanish court will lock away the greatest active footballer, as a judge rejected the prosecutors’ (!!!) request to drop the charges.

[ WATCH: Hilarious spoof pegs Messi, Ronaldo as “Friends” ]

Messi and his father have already made a $5.5 million corrective payment, but there’s principle in play here. And the judge wants to know how Messi can claim he had no idea what was being done with his money.

From the BBC:

Lawyers acting on behalf of the tax authorities demanded 22-month jail sentences for both defendants.

“There are rational signs that the criminality was committed by both accused parties,” wrote the judge in a court filing, according to the AFP news agency.

Can you imagine one of the world’s richer men ending up in a Spanish prison? It’s very difficult to consider. In some ways it’s more plausible that he would buy his own island and start the “Messi Isle Premiership”.

Still, we won’t laugh off the idea, especially with FIFA apparently going down. Messi in prison. That’s something. Sepp in Switzerland. Lionel in Spain.