The Portuguese national football team has represented Portugal in international play for over 100 years and is governed by the Portuguese Football Federation. When people think of Portuguese soccer players, they typically think of Cristiano Ronaldo. Ronaldo is one of the most famous soccer players of all time, but he’s not the only star to come from Portugal. On this list are the top six players of all time from Portugal.
Who are the Best Portuguese Soccer Players Ever?
- Cristiano Ronaldo
- Luís Figo
- Rui Costa
- Bernardo Silva
1. Cristiano Ronaldo
- Four European Golden Shoes
- Five Ballon d’Or awards
- Most appearances, goals, and assists in the Champions League
- 117 goals in international play, the most of anyone
Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the best soccer players in the world, let alone Portugal. Ronaldo has five Ballon d’Or awards, which are given to the soccer player who performed the best in a given year. Only Lionel Messi has more Ballon d’Or awards, with seven. No player other than Ronaldo and Messi has more than three Ballon d’Or awards.
Ronaldo has dominated everywhere that he has played. As a 16 year old, Ronaldo was signed to a large deal by Manchester United of the English Premier League. Ronaldo has also played with Real Madrid of the Spanish league La Liga and Juventus of the Italian Serie A league. After a few years playing for Juventus, Ronaldo returned to Manchester United and the English Premier League.
- 1966 FIFA World Cup Leading Goal Scorer
- 1965 Ballon d’Or winner
- Runner up for the Ballon d’Or in 1962 and 1966
Eusébio da Silva Ferreira was a Portuguese soccer player who lived from 1942 to 2014. Ferreira was born in Maputo, which is the capital of Mozambique. Ferreira, who is sometimes referred to as just “Eusebio,” also went by the nicknames “Black Panther,” “Black Pearl,” and “o Rei.”,
Eusebio was a striker who used his speed and his deadly shot to score countless goals. He scored nine goals in the 1966 FIFA World Cup, making him the top goal scorer of the tournament. His country, Portugal, managed third place in that tournament.
Eusebio has appeared on many people’s lists of the top footballers of all time, including Pelé’s 2004 FIFA 100.
3. Luís Figo
- First player to win 127 caps for Portugal
- Second most assists in La Liga history (106),
- 2000 Ballon d’Or winner
- 2001 FIFA World Player of the Year
Luís Figo is another brilliant soccer player from Portugal who played in the late 1900s and early 2000s. He is best remembered as a creative winger who could elude almost any defender.
Figo is highly decorated; he won the Portuguese Cup, four La Liga titles, three Spanish super cups, an Intercontinental Cup, three Italian Super Cups, four Serie A titles, one UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup, and two UEFA Super Cups. He scored 32 goals while playing for Portugal and reached the finals of the Euro 2004 tournament.
Figo made headlines in 2000 when he transferred from Barcelona to Real Madrid, as the two teams are serious rivals.
- Won Euro 2016 and reached Euro semi-finals in 2012
- Three UEFA Champions League Titles
- Four Primeira Liga titles
Kepler Laveran de Lima Ferreira, known as “Pepe,” is a professional footballer who plays for Futebol Clube do Porto, a team in the top Portuguese soccer league. Pepe has also played for Marítimo, Real Madrid, and Beşiktaş.,
Pepe was actually born and raised in Brazil but opted to play for the Portuguese national team. He has 128 caps playing for Portugal, and has appeared in three FIFA World Cups and four UEFA Euro Championships.
Pepe is a center back and is known as a strong and hard-working defender. At times, he has also played as a defensive midfielder. He has aggressive tendencies, often resulting in picking up cards.
5. Rui Costa
- Named one of the top 125 footballers in Pelé’s “FIFA 100”
- Led the UEFA champions league in assists in 2002-03
- Recognized as the 1992 Toulon tournament’s best player and leading goal scorer
Rui Manuel César Costa is a former professional soccer player from Portugal. Currently, he is the 34th president of the S.L. Benfica sports club.
Born in March of 1972, Costa played professionally from 1990-2008. He played for the Portuguese National team a number of times, most notably from 1993-2004. Before that, he played for Portuguese’s junior national teams from 1990-1994.
Costa played at the attacking midfielder position and was known for his playmaking and careful decision-making. He was nicknamed “The Maestro” and “Il Musagete.”
Costa represented his country in three UEFA European championships, as well as one FIFA World Cup.
6. Bernardo Silva
- Named UEFA Finals Player of the Tournament in 2019
- Named Manchester City’s Player of the Year in 2019
- Made Portugal’s FIFA World Cup roster as a 24 year old
Bernardo Mota Veiga de Carvalho e Silva, known more commonly as “Bernardo Silva” or just “Bernardo,” is the sixth-best soccer player from Portugal. Silva is one of the best midfielders in the world, most recently playing for Manchester City in the Premier League.
Silva’s best attributes include his stamina and his willingness to work. While he typically plays as an attacking midfielder, he is also often deployed at the forward or winger position. His athleticism allows him to be effective from many different areas of the field.
Bernardo was born in Lisbon, Portugal, in August of 1994. Silva does not have as much international experience as the other players on this list, as he is the youngest of the six. Still, he made Portugal’s 2018 FIFA World Cup team.
- Rui Patrício
- João Cancelo
- Ruben Dias
- João Félix
- Diogo Jota
- Ricardo Carvalho
- João Moutinho
- Paulo Futre