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I looked up to God in heaven and screamed at the top of my lungs: "What have we done to deserve this?" There was no reply. I knew the answer. We were poor and small. England was rich and powerful and they were the host nation. And then I cried. I cried for a long time. Had we played in Liverpool, like we were supposed to, we would have won that game and reached the final. There is no question about it.
Eusebio, who was born in Mozambique, notes that his movements as a footballer, in contrast to today's post-Bosman world, were limited. The game was segregated, and Salazar barred moves abroad from Benfica.
Juventus came for me when I was 19. After the World Cup, Inter made a big offer, one which would have made me the highest-paid player in the world. And yet I was not allowed to move. Why? Salazar was not my father and he certainly was not my mother. What gave him the right? The truth was that he was my slavemaster, just as he was the slavemaster of the entire country.
[T]here is, surely, cause for someone in overall authority to offer more than the condolences that came rapidly enough from FIFA. . . . With the interminable inquiry into supplements used by Italian clubs such as Juventus [see gleanings entry for 19 December 2003], with the highly suspect coincidence of unexplained deaths of several soccer professionals in Romania, there must be urgency among the medical committees and the administrators who increase the number of tournaments and the profits of the global game.
I wanted the arch on the roof to be much higher but they were worried about planes. I set up a meeting to fight my case and they came over. Unfortunately, the date was September 11, 2001.
Now the only problem is paying for it. A £60 million debt needs to be retired, an issue for presidential elections at Benfica on 7 November. | back to top