Mário Esteves Coluna
Mário Esteves Coluna (Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈmaɾiu kuˈlunɐ]; 6 August 1935 – 25 February 2014) was a Portuguese footballer who played mainly as a central midfielder.
He spent most of his career with Benfica, appearing in 525 official games and scoring 127 goals during 16 professional seasons. Dubbed Monstro Sagrado(Sacred Monster) he won 19 major titles with his main club, including ten national leagues and two European Cups.
Coluna represented Portugal at the 1966 World Cup, playing nearly 60 times.
Born in Inhaca, Portuguese Mozambique to a Portuguese father and a Mozambican mother, Coluna was spotted by S.L. Benfica while playing forDesportivo de Lourenço Marques, where he excelled at basketball and track and field. Signed by the Lisbon and national giants in 1954 he started playing as aninside forward, scoring a career-best 14 goals in 26 games in his first season in Portugal and winning the first of his national championships; subsequently he was successfully reconverted as a central or attacking midfielder by managerOtto Glória, where he put to good use his stamina and strength, adding to this an accurate and powerful long-distance and technical skills.
From 1963 to 1970, Coluna was the Reds' captain. Already at the service ofOlympique Lyonnais he was awarded a testimonial match by his main club on 8 December 1970, playing against a UEFA selection that featured the likes ofJohan Cruyff, Dragan Džajić, Geoff Hurst, Bobby Moore, Luis Suárez and Uwe Seeler. He retired professionally at the age of 35, after one sole campaign with the French side – he still spent one year with amateurs Sport Clube Estrela fromPortalegre, acting as player-coach.
Coluna scored in both European Cup finals won by Benfica: in 1961 he beat FC Barcelona's Antoni Ramallets from long range, in a 3–2 win in Bern. The following year, against Real Madrid, he netted the 3–3 equalizer and, subsequently, was supposed to take the penalty that resulted in the 4–3 lead (eventual 5–3 triumph), when youngster Eusébio politely asked if he could shoot it instead.
Coluna gained 57 caps for the Portuguese national team, scoring eight goals. His first appearance was in a friendly match with Scotland on 4 May 1955 (0–3 loss), and his last on 11 December 1968, in a 2–4 defeat in Greece for the 1970 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
Coluna captained the Magriços side in all except one of the games during the third-place campaign at the 1966 World Cup, in England.
- European Cup: 1960–61, 1961–62; Runner-up 1962–63, 1964–65, 1967–68
- Primeira Liga: 1954–55, 1956–57, 1959–60, 1960–61, 1962–63, 1963–64, 1964–65, 1966–67, 1967–68, 1968–69
- Taça de Portugal: 1954–55, 1956–57, 1958–59, 1961–62, 1963–64, 1968–69, 1969–70; Runner-up 1957–58, 1964–65
- FIFA World Cup: Third-place 1966
- FIFA World Cup: All-Star Team 1966
Post-retirement / Death
After Mozambique became independent in 1975, Coluna held the post of President of its Football Federation. He also served as the country's Minister of Sports, from 1994 to 1999.
Coluna died on 25 February 2014 at the age of 78 in Maputo, after not being able to overcome a pulmonary infection.
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