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Everton Football Club has joined the footballing world in paying tribute to Eusebio who has passed away, aged 71.

The Portuguese striker, considered one of the greatest players of all time, developed a close affinity with Everton as a result of his goalscoring feats at Goodison Park during the 1966 World Cup.

That summer he netted six goals at the Grand Old Lady – scoring twice in a 3-1 win over Brazil in the group stages before visiting Merseyside again in the quarter-finals where he helped himself to four goals in a thrilling 5-3 victory against North Korea.

Portugal were eliminated by England in the semi-finals but his total of nine goals in the tournament saw him win the Golden Boot award.

Eusebio returned to Goodison Park in November 2009 when Everton hosted Benfica – the club he represented for 15 years between 1960 and 1975 – in a Europa League clash.

He was a guest of honour at the game and that evening spoke to evertontv about his abiding memories of playing at Goodison Park – a venue he described as a ‘special place’.

The 1965 European Player of the Year said: “I have got very fond memories of this particular stadium because I scored four goals against Korea and two against Brazil.
"When I was having lunch with the Everton board I was remembering the occasion because it was at that point that I felt I became a world-class player. That was my signature, really, as a top quality player.

“It was a great pleasure to have received the warm welcome that I did. This is a special stadium for me and I feel very privileged to be back.
"I received a trophy from the Everton chairman and I feel honoured about that because this is a very special place for me. I will put that trophy at home along with the other trophies that I have."

Since Eusebio’s passing was announced on Sunday morning, various players and ex-professionals have been paying tribute to his lasting legacy.

Former Blues striker Gary Lineker tweeted: “Sad news that Eusebio has died. One of the greats of his generation. Could play and strike a ball like very few others.”

Ex-Toffees skipper Phil Neville, who presented Eusebio with a plaque on his visit to Goodison four years ago, also took to the social network site, simply adding: “RIP Eusebio.”

Chairman of the Football Association, Greg Dyke, said: “Every generation has great footballers. He was clearly a world-class footballer who scored an awful lot of goals. He was the Ronaldo or Messi of our time.”

Everton Football Club wish to express their condolences to Eusebio's family and friends.

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