Monday, September 21, 2009

Portugal was similar to England in a way – still possessing colonies by 1972, Portugal traditionally preferred to get players from them. The advantage of this practice was big: African players were extremely cheap, yet they were technically Portuguese citizens, so there were no complications with immigration and working permits. Eusebio, born in Angola, is the biggest example – world famous star, who also playes for the national team of Portugal. Immaculate combination, after which who needs real foreigners. By ‘oriundi’ law, Brazilians were also considered Portuguese nationals and not foreigners. Many went to play in Portugal, but as far as I know, not a single famous player. In any case Portuguese clubs were not rich enough to buy expensive foreigners, and those which were rich, like Benfica (Lisbon) had top squads during the 1960s without the need of foreign talent.
Mario Coluna, the Mozambique-born captain of the ‘Golden era’ Benfica (Lisbon). Who needs ‘real’ foreigners when dipping in the colonies gives the best all-time midfielder to Portugal? Eusebio was not a singular exception at all – and, speaking of class, ‘the Sacred Monster’ captained Eusebio.