Portugal’s best football players of all-time

March 07, 2023

by xfcedi

Luis Figo and Cristiano Ronaldo

By Eduard Bănulescu

Ah, Portugal: the land of sun, sea, and sardines. But more significantly, it’s home to some of football’s greatest-ever stars (or, soccer, for our American fans). If Portugal has one thing going for it besides grilling fish, it’s producing world-class footballers.

With that being said, let us now take a look at the 10 greatest Portuguese footballers of all time in no particular order (because ranking them would be like picking your favorite type of sardine – impossible and contentious).


Let us begin with the legend himself: Eusebio! He is considered one of the greatest footballers ever in Portugal and around the world for his prolific goal-scoring prowess and role in helping Portugal reach third place at the 1966 World Cup.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Does he even need introduction? CR7 has achieved incredible feats, won numerous awards, and is widely regarded as one of the greatest footballers ever (some might say even THE greatest). At 38-years of age, he is still playing and earning the highest salary of any footballer.

Luis Figo

A true football icon, Figo won the Ballon d’Or in 2000 and helped Portugal reach the semi-finals of Euro 2000. Additionally, he’s the only player to receive both Barcelona’s FIFA World Player of the Year award as well as Real Madrid’s award.

Paulo Futre

Paulo Futre was renowned for his dribbling skills and knack for creating chances. In 1987, he helped Porto win the European Cup while also playing for Atletico Madrid and AC Milan.

Fernando Peyroteo

Peyroteo was an illustrious goal scorer who played for Sporting CP during the 1940s and 50s. His remarkable record of 544 goals in 334 games remains intact today – an amazing feat!

Rui Costa

Rui Costa was renowned for his creativity and technical prowess. He played for Benfica and AC Milan, winning multiple titles along the way. Furthermore, his efforts helped Portugal reach Euro 2004’s final.


Born in Brazil but adopted by Portugal, Deco was a midfielder who played for FC Porto, Barcelona, and Chelsea. He won the Champions League twice and helped Portugal reach the semi-finals of the 2006 World Cup.

Vitor Baia

Considered one of Portugal’s greatest goalkeepers, Baia spent time playing for Porto and Barcelona, winning numerous titles along the way. He also helped Portugal reach the final of Euro 2004.

Jose Torres

Torres was a midfielder who played for both Benfica and the Portuguese national team throughout the 1960s and ’70s. He helped Benfica win both European Cups in 1962 and 1963 and was an integral part of Portugal’s third-place finish at the 1966 World Cup.

Joao Pinto

Last but certainly not least is Joao Pinto, a forward who played for FC Porto and Benfica. Throughout his career, he earned numerous titles while helping Portugal reach the semi-finals of the Euro 2000.

Here it is – the 10 greatest Portuguese footballers of all time. While many deserving candidates could have made the list, we had to draw a line somewhere. Portugal may be small in population, but they sure know how to produce some outstanding talent.

Portuguese soccer players with the highest number of caps

Cristiano Ronaldo is the Portuguese footballer with the most selections to the national team, boasting over 196 appearances since 2003. A key figure in many of Portugal’s successes, including winning the UEFA European Championship in 2016, Ronaldo also holds the record for being their all-time leading scorer with 118 goals scored.

With such an incredible record and longevity in football, Ronaldo has cemented himself as a true legend and global icon within the sport.

Notable runner-ups include the following:

Luis Figo – With 127 caps, Luis Figo is the second-most capped Portuguese footballer of all time. He played for his country from 1991 to 2006 and was an integral member of their squad that reached the Euro 2004 final.

Fernando Couto – Over the course of 11 years, Couto earned 110 caps for Portugal, making him the third-most capped Portuguese footballer. He represented his country at two World Cups and two European Championships, captaining the side that finished third at the 2000 Euros.

Fernando Meira – Meira made 86 appearances for the Portuguese national team between 2000 and 2009, placing him fourth all-time in terms of caps earned. The defender represented Portugal at two World Cups and one European Championship.

Nani – With 112 caps, Nani is the fifth most-capped Portuguese footballer of all time. He represented his country from 2006-2018 and was part of their winning Euro 2016 squad. The winger was renowned for his speed and creativity on the field.

Best fantasy football players in Liga Portugal

Liga Portugal is, in 2023, is one of the greatest football leagues in the world. In fact, according to the UEFA official ranking, it is the seventh-best-ranked league.

FootballCoin hosts all of the games in Liga Portugal among its fantasy football contests.

The league includes plenty of stars and players that fantasy managers will want to tabs on. Some of the most impressive performers during the 2022/2023 season include:

Joao Mario (Benfica) – Benfica’s manager Roger Schmidt has turned the Portuguese side into one of the most exciting in Europe. Joao Mario, one of the most technically proficient players in Liga Portugal, is at the heart of his strategy. Currently, he has the highest point tally in the entire league. Rated 4*, he will require an investment from a fantasy football manager.

Jhonatan (Rio Ave) – Rio Ave’s goalie has kept the team in an unexpected 11th place in the league. With a defense unit that is often and heavily tested, Jhonatan has had his work cut out for him.

Pedro Goncalves (Sporting CP) – Pedro Goncalves is one of the most highly promising young Portuguese players. This season he has shown himself to be a true leader for Sporting Lisbon, one of the countries’ most important teams.

Luis Junior (FC Famalicao) – The Brazilian goalkpeer has been highly responsible for Famalicao’s good form. This has kep the team outside of the relegation spots and Luis Junior has made the team one with which even the best attacking teams often struggle.

Odysseas Vlachodimos (Benfica) – The Greek goalkeeper is the best-rated in Liga Portugal in his position. A safe pair of hands and a defensive leader,  Vlachodimos is an excellent addition to your Liga Portugal or UCL fantasy football teams.


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