Sheffield Wednesday: Eusebio pain for Semedo

Jose Semedo
Jose Semedo
Have your say

Jose Semedo avoided the pain of an early FA Cup exit - but he has been hurting with the death of his countryman Eusebio.

The Wednesday midfielder says that the legendary forward is to Portuguese people what Nelson Mandela was to South Africans.

Former Sheffield United star Tony Currie is another with fond memories of the man whose role as a football ambassador brought him to South Yorkshire.

Eusebio accompanied the Portugal team when they stayed at Hellaby, Rotherham, and had matches at Hillsborough and Forest in Euro 96.

He was a guest of the Blades in 2001 when he unveiled a bust in honour of his former Benfica boss and ex-United great Jimmy Hagan.

Semedo told The Star of his sadness: “Portuguese people feel a big pain in the heart. Eusebio was a special, world-class footballer and a fantastic man, who we will miss a lot.

“For us, it is like how South African people felt about Nelson Mandela. The world of football will miss him. I think they should change the name of Portugal to Eusebio Country!

“Some people go and they are not remembered - he will always be remembered; he was such a special person.”

Currie will never forget Eusebio’s talent: “He was a phenomenal player blessed with a wonderful shot, superb technique and plenty more besides. I remember watching him play during the 1966 World Cup, I was only a teenager at the time, but even then he was one of the players you always looked up to.

“Eusebio, together with Pele, was a true great of his time. When he retired, he became a true great of all-time.”

News of the 71-year-old’s death from a heart attack came on the same weekend when the Owls drew 1-1 against Macclesfield.

Added Semedo: “There is no drama about that; we should have won, but we are still in the FA Cup and hope to win next time.

“There are always Cup shocks, for example Sheffield United’s win at Aston Villa. We should beat Macclesfield, but they are human beings like we are. In football anything is possible.”

Semedo wished Roger Johnson well after his move to West Ham, thanked him for his efforts, and insisted: “We have very good players in our squad who can come in and do well.”

Meanwhile, Wednesday lost 4-1 at Scunthorpe in the Central Reserve League Cup; they led 1-0 at half time with a Rhys McCabe goal but Gary McSheffrey led an Iron fightback with a hat-trick.