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Eusebio a ´special talent´, says Banks

5 January 2014 14:08

Former England goalkeeper Gordon Banks has hailed Eusebio as a "special talent" following the Portugal legend's death at the age of 71.

The Mozambique-born forward is ranked among football's all-time greats following a glittering career, which saw him excel at club level with Benfica and score 41 goals in 64 appearances for Portugal.

After news of Eusebio's passing broke on Sunday, Banks paid tribute to a player he came up against during the 1966 FIFA World Cup campaign.

"He was a great, great player and I was extremely saddened to hear that he had died," the 76-year-old said in quotes reported by The Sentinel.

"When you think that he played in the Portuguese team that was 3-0 down to (North) Korea in the (1966) World Cup and they came back and won 5–3.

"I'm not sure how many goals he scored in that game (four), but Eusebio was a special talent.

"Alf Ramsey (the England manager at the time) certainly made sure we all knew what he was about when we faced them in (the World Cup semi-final in) 1966.

“He was one of those players who could do things with that heavy ball that very few in this country could do.

"He could hit it with the inside of his foot, the outside. It made me quite pessimistic when he was taking free-kicks.

"For a man of about six foot, boy could he climb in the air.

"I wouldn't say he was quite as good as Pele but he was certainly up there and would be in the best 11 I've ever faced."

Banks also saluted the character of Eusebio, who travelled to England to play in the former's testimonial at Stoke City in 1973.

"He was a gentleman, a real nice guy, and he shook my hand after the World Cup semi-final and wished us all the best," Banks added.

"I was honoured that he came to play in my testimonial game at Stoke in 1973. He was a great guy, it is very sad."

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