Best SL Benfica Players of All Time: A Definitive Ranking

Soccer Coach Theory Team

SL Benfica is one of the most successful football clubs in Portugal, with a rich history of talented players that have graced the field. From legendary figures such as Eusebio to recent icons like Rui Costa and Nuno Gomes, Benfica has produced some of the best players in the world. Over the years, the club has won numerous domestic and international titles, with each victory and trophy being celebrated by the fans with great enthusiasm.

The goalkeeping greats of Benfica include names like Manuel Bento, who appeared 465 times for the club and is considered one of the best goalkeepers in the history of Portuguese football. In defense, players such as Luisao and António Veloso have made their mark, with the former being the second-highest appearance maker for the club. In midfield, Benfica boasts of players like Rui Costa, who is widely regarded as one of the best playmakers in the history of football.

Key Takeaways

  • SL Benfica has produced some of the greatest football players in the world, including legendary figures like Eusebio and recent icons like Rui Costa and Nuno Gomes.
  • The club has won numerous domestic and international titles over the years, with each victory and trophy being celebrated by the fans with great enthusiasm.
  • Benfica has a rich history of talented players in all positions, including goalkeeping greats like Manuel Bento, defensive stalwarts like Luisao and António Veloso, and midfield maestros like Rui Costa.

Legendary Figures

SL Benfica has produced some of the greatest football players in the world, and many of them have become legends in the sport. Among the legendary figures, three players stand out: Eusebio, Mario Coluna, and Cosme Damiao.

Eusebio

Eusebio, also known as the Black Panther, is considered one of the greatest football players of all time. He played for SL Benfica from 1960 to 1975 and scored an incredible 638 goals in 614 appearances. Eusebio helped Benfica win the European Cup in 1961 and was the top scorer of the tournament with nine goals. He was also the top scorer in the Portuguese League seven times and won the Ballon d’Or in 1965.

Mario Coluna

Mario Coluna was a midfielder who played for SL Benfica from 1954 to 1970. He was the captain of the team that won the European Cup in 1961 and 1962. Coluna was known for his leadership and his ability to control the midfield. He won 10 Portuguese League titles and was also part of the Portugal national team that finished third in the 1966 World Cup.

Cosme Damiao

Cosme Damiao was a player, coach, and founder of SL Benfica. He played for the club in the early 1900s and was instrumental in the team’s early success. Damiao was also the coach of the team that won the first Portuguese League title in 1935. He is considered one of the most important figures in the history of Portuguese football.

These three players are just a few of the many legendary figures who have played for SL Benfica. Their contributions to the sport and the club will never be forgotten, and they continue to inspire new generations of football players.

Goalkeeping Greats

SL Benfica has had some of the greatest goalkeepers in football history. Here are two of the most notable ones:

Michel Preud’homme

Michel Preud’homme joined SL Benfica in 1994 and played for the club until 1999. During his time with the club, he won two Primeira Liga titles and helped Benfica reach the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League in the 1994-95 season. Preud’homme was known for his acrobatic saves and quick reflexes, which made him a fan favorite at the Estádio da Luz.

Manuel Bento

Manuel Bento is widely regarded as one of the greatest goalkeepers in the history of SL Benfica. He played for the club from 1972 to 1988, making 465 appearances and winning 7 Primeira Liga titles, 3 Taça de Portugal titles, and 1 European Cup. Bento was known for his commanding presence in the box and his ability to make crucial saves in important matches. In 2015, UEFA named him the best goalkeeper in the history of Portuguese football.

Both Michel Preud’homme and Manuel Bento were instrumental in helping SL Benfica achieve success on both the domestic and international stages. Their performances in goal will always be remembered by Benfica fans as some of the greatest in the club’s history.

Defensive Stalwarts

SL Benfica has a long history of producing some of the best defenders in the world. Here are three of the most outstanding defensive stalwarts in the history of the club.

Germano

Germano was an integral part of the SL Benfica team that won the European Cup in 1961 and 1962. He was known for his solid defending and his ability to read the game. Germano played for the club from 1955 to 1967, making 423 appearances and scoring 26 goals. He won 12 league titles and 2 European Cups during his time at the club. Germano was also a regular in the Brazilian national team, winning the World Cup in 1958 and 1962.

Humberto Coelho

Humberto Coelho was a tough-tackling central defender who played for SL Benfica from 1971 to 1976 and then again from 1981 to 1984. He was a key player in the team that won the league title in 1972 and reached the European Cup final in 1983. Coelho was also a regular in the Portuguese national team, earning 64 caps and scoring 4 goals. He later went on to become the coach of the national team.

Luisao

Luisao is one of the most successful defenders in the history of SL Benfica. He joined the club in 2003 and played for 15 seasons, making 538 appearances and scoring 48 goals. Luisao won 20 major trophies with the club, including 6 league titles and 2 European trophies. He was known for his physicality, aerial ability, and leadership skills. Luisao was also a regular in the Brazilian national team, earning 44 caps and scoring 3 goals.

In conclusion, these three players were some of the best defensive stalwarts in the history of SL Benfica. They were known for their solid defending, leadership skills, and ability to read the game. They played key roles in some of the club’s most successful periods and will always be remembered as legends of the club.

Midfield Maestros

SL Benfica has had many great midfielders over the years, but two stand out as true maestros of the game: Mario Esteves Coluna and Pablo Aimar.

Mario Esteves Coluna

Coluna was a key player for Benfica during their golden era in the 1960s. He was a versatile midfielder who could play in a number of positions, but he was best known for his ability to control the game from the center of the park. Coluna was a natural leader on the pitch and was known for his tireless work rate and his ability to inspire his teammates.

Coluna won numerous titles with Benfica, including 10 Primeira Liga titles and two European Cups. He was also a key player for the Portuguese national team, helping them to reach the semifinals of the 1966 World Cup.

Pablo Aimar

Aimar joined Benfica in 2008 and quickly established himself as one of the best midfielders in the Primeira Liga. He was a creative force in the center of the park, with excellent vision and passing ability. Aimar was also a skilled dribbler and was known for his ability to take on defenders and create scoring opportunities for himself and his teammates.

During his time at Benfica, Aimar helped the team win two Primeira Liga titles and reach the quarterfinals of the UEFA Champions League. He was also a key player for the Argentine national team, helping them win the Copa America in 2001 and 2004.

Both Coluna and Aimar were instrumental in their respective eras and helped Benfica achieve great success. They are true midfield maestros and will always be remembered as two of the greatest players in the history of the club.

Striking Sensations

SL Benfica has had some of the most talented strikers in the history of football. These players have contributed significantly to the success of the club over the years. In this section, we will take a closer look at two of the best strikers to have ever played for Benfica.

Nuno Gomes

Nuno Gomes is undoubtedly one of the greatest strikers in the history of SL Benfica. He joined the club in 1997 and quickly established himself as a key player. Over the next decade, he scored 166 goals in 398 appearances, making him the club’s second-highest scorer of all time.

Gomes was known for his clinical finishing, quick feet, and excellent movement in the box. He was also a great team player, often dropping deep to link up with midfielders and create chances for his teammates. Gomes won the Primeira Liga twice with Benfica and was also part of the team that reached the UEFA Champions League final in 2004.

Oscar Cardozo

Oscar Cardozo is another striker who left a lasting impression on SL Benfica fans. The Paraguayan joined the club in 2007 and quickly became a fan favorite. Over the next six seasons, he scored 172 goals in 293 appearances, making him the club’s third-highest scorer of all time.

Cardozo was known for his powerful right foot and his ability to score from long range. He was also a great header of the ball, scoring many goals from crosses and set-pieces. Cardozo won the Primeira Liga three times with Benfica and was also part of the team that reached the UEFA Europa League final in 2013.

In conclusion, Nuno Gomes and Oscar Cardozo are two of the best strikers to have ever played for SL Benfica. Their contributions to the club will always be remembered by fans, and their names will forever be etched in the history books of Portuguese football.

Recent Icons

Over the past few years, SL Benfica has seen some exceptional players who have left their mark on the club. .

Jonas

Jonas arrived at Benfica in 2014 and quickly became a fan favorite. He scored an impressive 137 goals in 183 appearances for the club, cementing his place as one of the greatest strikers in Benfica’s history. His performances helped Benfica win two Primeira Liga titles, one Taca de Portugal, and two Taca da Liga titles. Jonas was also awarded the Primeira Liga Player of the Year award twice during his time at the club. Unfortunately, his career was cut short due to injury, and he retired in 2019.

European Successes

SL Benfica has a long history of success in European competitions. The club has won two European Cups, in 1961 and 1962, and reached the final of the competition seven times in total. In addition, they have won the UEFA Cup twice, in 1983 and 2013, and have been runners-up in the competition on two occasions.

The 1960s were a particularly successful period for Benfica in Europe. In addition to their two European Cup triumphs, they also reached the final of the competition in 1963 and 1965, only to lose to AC Milan and Inter Milan respectively. The team was led by the legendary Eusébio, who scored a total of 18 goals in the 1961 and 1962 campaigns.

In recent years, Benfica has continued to be a force to be reckoned with in European competition. They reached the Europa League final in 2013, losing to Chelsea in the final, and have also reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League on multiple occasions. The team has been built around a solid defense, with players like Ruben Dias and Victor Lindelof providing a strong foundation for the team.

Overall, SL Benfica’s success in European competition is a testament to the club’s rich history and tradition of excellence. With a passionate fan base and a talented squad of players, the team is sure to continue to compete at the highest level for years to come.

Domestic Dominance

SL Benfica has a storied history of domestic dominance that is reflected in their impressive trophy collection. The club has won the Primeira Liga, Portugal’s top-flight football league, a record 37 times, including four consecutive titles from 2014 to 2017.

In addition to their league success, Benfica has also won the Taça de Portugal, Portugal’s premier domestic cup competition, on a record 29 occasions. They have also won the Taça da Liga, a secondary domestic cup competition, a record 9 times.

One of the keys to Benfica’s domestic success over the years has been their ability to consistently produce top-quality players. The club has a rich history of developing talented players, many of whom have gone on to become stars at the international level.

Some of the greatest players in Benfica’s history have been instrumental in the club’s domestic success. Players like Eusébio, Nené, and Luisão have all played key roles in helping the club win numerous titles over the years.

Despite facing stiff competition from other top Portuguese clubs like Porto and Sporting CP, Benfica has remained a dominant force in Portuguese football for decades. Their commitment to developing young talent and playing an attacking, entertaining style of football has endeared them to fans all around the world.

Overall, Benfica’s domestic dominance is a testament to the club’s rich history and commitment to excellence. With a talented squad of players and a passionate fan base behind them, they are sure to continue adding to their impressive trophy collection in the years to come.

Cult Heroes

SL Benfica has had a number of players who have become cult heroes among the fans due to their contributions to the club’s success. Two of the most notable cult heroes are Joao Pinto and Rui Costa.

Joao Pinto

Joao Pinto was a forward who played for Benfica from 1991 to 1993 and then again from 1996 to 2000. He was known for his speed and agility on the pitch, as well as his ability to score goals. Pinto was part of the Benfica team that won the Portuguese league title in 1994 and 1998, as well as the Portuguese Cup in 1996 and 2000.

Rui Costa

Rui Costa is widely considered one of the greatest players in Benfica’s history. He played for the club from 1991 to 1994 and then again from 2006 to 2008. Costa was known for his exceptional technical ability and vision on the pitch, as well as his leadership skills. He was part of the Benfica team that won the Portuguese league title in 1994 and 2005, as well as the Portuguese Cup in 1993, 1996, and 2004.

Both Joao Pinto and Rui Costa have left a lasting legacy at Benfica and are remembered fondly by the fans. Their contributions to the club’s success have cemented their status as cult heroes among Benfica supporters.

The Rise of Youth Talents

SL Benfica has a rich history of producing talented young players who have gone on to become some of the best players in the world. The club’s youth academy has been the backbone of the team’s success, producing world-class players who have helped the team win numerous titles.

One of the most notable players to come out of the SL Benfica youth academy is Rúben Dias. Dias joined the academy at the age of 11 and quickly rose through the ranks to become a key player for the first team. In 2020, he was sold to Manchester City for a record fee of €68 million, making him the most expensive Portuguese defender in history.

But Dias is not the only young talent to have made a name for himself at SL Benfica. The club has a long list of successful academy graduates, including Bernardo Silva, João Cancelo, and Renato Sanches, who have all gone on to achieve great success in their careers.

The success of SL Benfica’s youth academy can be attributed to the club’s commitment to developing young players. The club invests heavily in its youth system, providing top-class facilities and coaching to its young players. The academy also has a strong focus on education, ensuring that its players are not only skilled on the field but also well-rounded individuals off the field.

SL Benfica’s commitment to developing young players has paid off in spades, with the club consistently producing some of the best young talents in Portugal and beyond. As the club continues to invest in its youth system, it is likely that we will see many more talented young players emerge from the academy in the years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is considered the greatest Benfica player in history?

Eusébio is widely regarded as the greatest Benfica player in history. He was a prolific striker who scored 473 goals in 440 appearances for the club. He helped lead Benfica to three European Cup finals, winning one in 1961, and also won the Ballon d’Or in 1965. Eusébio’s skill, speed, and ability to score from anywhere on the pitch made him a fan favorite and a legend of the game.

Which Benfica player has scored the most goals in the club’s history?

Eusébio is the all-time leading scorer for Benfica with 473 goals in 440 appearances. He is followed by Nené, who scored 360 goals in 575 appearances, and José Águas, who scored 291 goals in 328 appearances.

Who are the most iconic Benfica players who have won the Ballon d’Or?

Eusébio is the only Benfica player to have won the Ballon d’Or, which he won in 1965. However, other iconic players who have played for Benfica, such as Michel Platini and Cristiano Ronaldo, have won the award during their careers.

What notable players have played for both Benfica and the Italian national team?

Paolo Sousa, Rui Costa, and Angelo Di Livio are some of the notable players who have played for both Benfica and the Italian national team. Sousa and Costa were instrumental in Benfica’s success during the 1990s, while Di Livio played for the club during the 2003-2004 season.

Which high-profile players were sold by Benfica and went on to have successful careers?

Benfica has a long history of developing talented players and selling them for large transfer fees. Some of the high-profile players who were sold by Benfica and went on to have successful careers include David Luiz, Angel Di Maria, Jan Oblak, Bernardo Silva, and Renato Sanches.

Can you list some of the legendary players who have been part of Benfica’s all-time team?

In addition to Eusébio, some of the legendary players who have been part of Benfica’s all-time team include José Águas, Coluna, Nené, António Simões, Humberto Coelho, Rui Costa, and Simão Sabrosa. These players have all made significant contributions to Benfica’s success over the years and are remembered as some of the greatest players in the club’s history.