Best Portuguese Soccer Players of All Time

Vince Massara

When it comes to the best Portuguese soccer players of all time, there are a few names that immediately come to mind:

  • Cristiano Ronaldo
  • Eusebio
  • Luis Figo
  • Rui Costa
  • Nani

These players have made a lasting impact on the sport with their incredible skills and unwavering dedication. But who among them stands out as the greatest? Whose legacy has had the most profound impact on Portuguese football?

Let's take a journey through the history of soccer and explore the remarkable careers of these legendary athletes.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo, a highly skilled Portuguese forward, has established himself as one of the greatest and most respected soccer players in history. Throughout his career, Ronaldo has consistently showcased his exceptional abilities on the football field, earning him a place among the top players of his generation. With an impressive tally of over 800 goals scored for various clubs and the Portuguese national team, Ronaldo has proven to be a formidable presence in the world of football.

Ronaldo's success extends beyond his performances at the club level. He's also excelled in international competitions, representing Portugal with pride and leading them to victory in the UEFA European Championship in 2016. Additionally, Ronaldo has achieved remarkable success in the UEFA Champions League, winning the prestigious tournament five times and becoming its all-time leading scorer.

His remarkable achievements haven't gone unnoticed, as Ronaldo has been awarded the Ballon d'Or five times, cementing his status as the best player in the world. He's also been honored with the European Golden Shoe four times for being the top goalscorer in European leagues, further solidifying his position as a football legend.


Now it's time to shift our focus to another Portuguese football legend, Eusébio.

Born on January 25, 1942, Eusébio, whose full name is Eusébio da Silva Ferreira, had an incredible career as a striker for Benfica. He achieved great success, winning the European Cup in 1962 and the Golden Boot in 1968.

Eusébio's impact on the sport is unmatched, making him one of the greatest footballers of all time. He scored an impressive 733 goals in 745 matches, proving himself to be a prolific goalscorer.

Eusébio also represented the Portuguese national team and showcased his talent on the international stage. In the FIFA World Cup, he scored nine goals, helping Portugal finish in third place.

Unfortunately, Eusébio passed away in 2014 due to heart failure, leaving behind a legacy that will always be remembered. As a retired professional, Eusébio's contributions to Portuguese soccer can't be underestimated, solidifying his place among the best players of all time.

Luís Figo

Luís Figo, considered one of the greatest Portuguese footballers ever, had an impressive career as a midfielder for Sporting CP, Barcelona, Real Madrid, and Inter Milan. Figo, born on November 4, 1972, made significant contributions to both his clubs and the national team, leaving a lasting impact on the sport.

Figo started his career at Sporting CP, where he showcased his exceptional skills and caught the attention of top clubs. In 1995, he made a high-profile move to Barcelona, where he continued to shine. Figo's ability to dribble, pass, and score goals made him a formidable force on the field.

In 2000, Figo made a controversial transfer to Real Madrid, becoming the most expensive player at the time. His time at Real Madrid was marked by success, winning two La Liga titles and the prestigious UEFA Champions League in 2002. Figo's performances earned him the FIFA World Player of the Year award in 2001.

After leaving Real Madrid, Figo joined Inter Milan, where he played until his retirement in 2009. Although his time at Inter Milan wasn't as decorated as his previous clubs, Figo's impact on the team was undeniable.

Figo also represented the Portuguese national team, earning 127 caps and scoring 32 goals. He played in several major tournaments, including the European Championships and the World Cup. His contributions to the national team further solidified his status as one of the best Portuguese soccer players of all time.

Rui Costa

Rui Costa, a retired Portuguese professional soccer player, was known for his exceptional technique, vision, and passing abilities as a midfielder. He'd a successful career playing for prominent clubs such as Benfica, Fiorentina, and AC Milan. Throughout his career, Rui Costa showcased his immense talent and played a crucial role in his teams' success.

Rui Costa also made a significant impact on the international stage. He represented the Portugal national team in several major tournaments, including the UEFA Euro 2000, where Portugal finished as runners-up. His performances demonstrated his ability to compete at the highest level.

One of Rui Costa's most notable achievements was winning the UEFA Champions League with AC Milan in 2003. This victory solidified his status as one of the best Portuguese footballers of all time and showcased his ability to perform on the European stage.

Rui Costa's skill set as a midfielder was highly regarded, and he possessed the ability to control the game and create scoring opportunities for his teammates. His exceptional vision and passing abilities set him apart from his peers.


Continuing our discussion of Portuguese soccer players, let's now focus on Deco, an influential midfielder known for his exceptional talent and impact on the game.

Deco, whose full name is Anderson Luís de Souza, was born on August 27, 1977. He played for top clubs such as Porto, Barcelona, Chelsea, and Fluminense during his career as a professional footballer.

Deco's achievements speak for themselves. He won the UEFA Champions League twice, in 2004 and 2006, and was named UEFA Midfielder of the Year in 2004. His contributions to Porto were crucial in their Champions League victory, highlighting his impact and skill on the field.

Deco's exceptional talent and influence in football have earned him a place among the best Portuguese soccer players of all time. In fact, he's recognized as one of the top 10 players in the history of Portuguese football. Alongside other greats like Figo, Deco has left a lasting impression on the sport.

With his impressive resume, including European Golden Boot and Portuguese League titles, Deco's legacy as a retired professional remains unmatched.

Bruno Fernandes

Bruno Fernandes, a talented Portuguese soccer player known for his attacking midfield skills and goal-scoring ability, has made a significant impact on the field for clubs like Sporting CP and Manchester United.

Here are some important facts about Bruno Fernandes:

  • While playing as a midfielder for Sporting CP, Bruno Fernandes displayed exceptional playmaking abilities and a knack for scoring goals. His impressive performances helped Sporting CP win the Primeira Liga title in the 2017-2018 season.
  • In 2020, Bruno Fernandes joined Manchester United in the Premier League. Since then, he's become one of the team's most influential players, contributing with numerous goals and assists. His exceptional performances played a vital role in helping Manchester United secure a second-place finish in the 2020-2021 Premier League season.
  • Bruno Fernandes has also had a significant impact on the international stage, representing the Portugal national football team. He's contributed to their success in tournaments like the UEFA Nations League, where Portugal emerged as champions.

With his impressive performances, Bruno Fernandes has established himself as one of the top midfielders in football today. His attacking prowess, playmaking abilities, and goal-scoring record make him one of the best Portuguese players of his generation.

João Moutinho

João Moutinho, a highly accomplished Portuguese midfielder, has had a remarkable career, making significant contributions to various clubs and the national team. Born on September 8, 1986, Moutinho has played for Sporting CP, Porto, Monaco, and Wolverhampton Wanderers. He's been an integral player in the Portuguese national team, showcasing his skills in international competitions. Known for his versatility, passing ability, and work rate on the field, Moutinho has consistently performed at a high level throughout his career.

Moutinho's leadership qualities have been recognized and admired by his teammates and coaches alike. He's been a valuable asset to the teams he's played for, bringing a wealth of experience and expertise to the midfield. His ability to control the game and distribute the ball effectively has been instrumental in his team's success.

While Moutinho may not be the highest goalscorer, he's played a crucial role in creating scoring opportunities for his teammates. His exceptional vision and precision in passing have been key in setting up goals. Moutinho's contributions have earned him a significant number of caps for the national team, solidifying his place as one of Portugal's finest midfielders.


Pepe, a highly skilled Portuguese center-back, has had an impressive career playing for renowned clubs such as Porto, Real Madrid, and Besiktas. He's known for his strong defensive skills and leadership qualities, making significant contributions to his teams.

Let's take a closer look at Pepe and his impact on Portuguese football:

Pepe, whose birth name is Kepler Laveran de Lima Ferreira, was born on February 26, 1983. Throughout his professional journey, he's consistently showcased his defensive prowess while representing top European clubs like Porto, Real Madrid, and Besiktas.

Not only has Pepe achieved success at the club level, but he's also been a key figure in the Portuguese national team. His contributions were particularly evident during Portugal's victory in the UEFA European Championship in 2016. This achievement demonstrated his ability to perform at the highest level on the international stage.

Pepe's tenacity and leadership have played crucial roles in the success of the teams he's been a part of. He's won the prestigious UEFA Champions League twice, once in 2004 with Porto and again in 2014 with Real Madrid.

Pepe's performances on the field have earned him praise and respect from fans and experts alike. His partnership with fellow Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo has been instrumental in Portugal's success. With his defensive skills and ability to read the game, Pepe has established himself as one of the greatest Portuguese players of all time.

Ricardo Carvalho

Ricardo Carvalho, a former Portuguese football player renowned for his exceptional skills as a centre-back, had a remarkable career playing for esteemed teams such as Porto, Chelsea, Real Madrid, Monaco, and Shanghai PSG. Carvalho, born on May 18, 1978, represented Portugal in various international competitions, including the UEFA European Championships and the UEFA EURO 2004, where Portugal reached the final. His outstanding anticipation skills and effectiveness on the ball earned him recognition as one of the world's best defenders.

Throughout his career, Carvalho achieved significant success with the teams he played for. He was part of the UEFA Champions League-winning Porto team in 2004 and won the Premier League title with Chelsea in 2005 and 2006. Additionally, he was named the Portuguese Footballer of the Year in 2005.

Carvalho consistently delivered impressive performances on the field and received numerous accolades for his contributions. He was awarded the Man of the Match title in several matches and was nominated for the UEFA Best European Footballer award in 2005.

After retiring from professional football, Carvalho obtained Portuguese citizenship and transitioned into coaching, continuing to contribute to the sport. His skill, dedication, and success make him one of Portugal's most esteemed players in history.


Let's now turn our attention to Pauleta, a highly successful Portuguese soccer player known for his exceptional goal-scoring abilities. Born on April 28, 1973, Pauleta, whose full name is Pedro Miguel Carreiro Resendes, made a significant impact on the field throughout his career, earning a reputation as one of Portugal's greatest goalscorers.

Pauleta played for two prominent teams, Deportivo La Coruña and Paris Saint-Germain, where he achieved remarkable success. It was during his time in France that Pauleta truly shined, winning the top scorer title in Ligue 1 in both 2005 and 2006. His ability to consistently find the back of the net made him a valuable asset to his teams.

Not only did Pauleta excel domestically, but he also had an impressive international career. Representing the Portugal national team, he scored an impressive 47 goals in 88 appearances. His contributions on the international stage further solidified his status as one of Portugal's finest players.

Pauleta's impact on Portuguese soccer is widely recognized, and he's often mentioned alongside other legendary Portuguese goalscorers like Eusébio. His goal-scoring prowess, combined with his consistency and dedication, made him a beloved figure among fans and soccer enthusiasts.

Although Pauleta has retired from professional soccer, his legacy lives on. His achievements and contributions to the sport will always be remembered, ensuring his place among the esteemed players in Portuguese soccer history.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who Is the Best Portugal Soccer Player of All Time?

Cristiano Ronaldo is widely regarded as the greatest Portuguese soccer player in history. His exceptional skills, numerous achievements, and significant impact on the game set him apart from Eusébio. Ronaldo's accomplishments make him unrivaled in the annals of Portuguese soccer.

Who Is the Legendary Football Player in Portugal?

Cristiano Ronaldo is considered the greatest football player in Portugal. His incredible talent and success have made him a legend in the sport. Ronaldo's rise to prominence marked a golden era for Portuguese football, where he not only influenced tactics but also inspired young talents like Bruno Fernandes.

However, Ronaldo is not the only legendary player in Portugal's football history. Eusébio's legacy also looms large, as he was a true icon of the game. His skill and goal-scoring ability made him one of the best players of his time. Another influential player for the Portuguese national team was Luís Figo. Figo played a pivotal role in leading the team to success and is still regarded as one of Portugal's greatest players.

In addition to Ronaldo, Eusébio, and Figo, there have been other notable players who have made significant contributions to Portuguese football. Deco and Rui Costa, for example, were highly skilled and played important roles in shaping the country's football history.

Is Ronaldo the Best Portuguese Player Ever?

Ronaldo is widely regarded as the best Portuguese player of all time. His impressive statistics, significant impact on the national team, and influence on younger players set him apart. Additionally, his numerous individual awards further solidify his status as the top Portuguese player. Ronaldo's talent and achievements speak for themselves, making him a true icon in the world of football.

Who Is Portugal's Number One Player?

Cristiano Ronaldo is currently Portugal's top football player and serves as the captain of the national team. His exceptional skills and numerous accomplishments have solidified his position as the number one player in the country. Ronaldo's talent and impact in international leagues make him a standout player, and he is widely recognized as one of the greatest footballers of all time. His contributions to the Portuguese national team have been instrumental in their success, and he continues to inspire and lead his teammates on and off the field. Ronaldo's dedication and passion for the sport make him a true icon in Portuguese football.


The greatest Portuguese soccer players of all time have undoubtedly left a significant mark on the sport. Their talent, skill, and dedication not only brought glory to their clubs and the national team, but also served as inspiration for future generations of players.

From Cristiano Ronaldo's incredible goal-scoring ability to Eusébio's legendary status, these players have created a lasting legacy in Portuguese football. Their accomplishments will continue to be celebrated and admired by fans all over the world.

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