Francisco Ferreira (Portuguese footballer)

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Francisco Ferreira
Personal information
Full name Francisco Ferreira
Date of birth (1919-08-23)23 August 1919
Place of birth Guimarães, Portugal
Date of death 14 February 1986(1986-02-14) (aged 66)
Place of death Lisbon, Portugal
Playing position Central midfielder
Youth career
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1937–1938 Porto 11 (?)
1938–1952 Benfica 522 (60)
National team
1940–1951 Portugal 25 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Francisco Ferreira (23 August 1919 – 14 February 1986), also known as Xico Ferreira, was a Portuguese footballer who played as a central midfielder, notable for his career at Benfica.[1]

Club career[edit]

In spite of spending his youth career at rival club Porto, Xico would become a Benfica legend. He started his professional career in 1936 at the age of 17, at Porto spending two professional seasons until 1938/39 when he moved to Benfica. He moved to Benfica due to a wage dispute with Porto's board. Xico received a new contract from Porto when they realized that they were on the verge of losing him, but Xico didn't back down on his word to the Benfica board.

He was known for his strong character and fair play, not allowing his teammates to do any kind of hard challenges on opponents. In one episode, Benfica player Jacinto[who?] tackled a Porto player, leading to Xico putting his arms on Jacinto's shoulders and waged him in sign of reproval. In 1943, he was nominated Captain of the Benfica squad.

He won five Portuguese Liga championships (four with Benfica, and one with Porto), and six Portuguese Cups. He failed to play the final of Taça Latina 1949/50 due to illness.

Xico received two transfer offers, one from Torino FC in 1949. The President was in awe with Xico's abilities and one from Real Madrid 1945. He turned down the first due to his love for the Lisbon Club and the Torino transfer was cancelled due to the Superga air disaster.

International career[edit]

He received 25 caps for the Portugal national football team.[2] He debuted against France ( 28-1-1940 ), Portugal lost that game by 3-2. His final game was against Belgium (17-6-1951) a draw.

Torino honorary guest[edit]

Ferruccio Novo, Grande Torino president, was an admirer of Xico's abilities, and after the Italy-Portugal game played in Genoa in 1949, the two became friends. In Xico Ferreira's tribute game, the five-time Italian champions were invited as honorary guests (May 3, 1949). Benfica won by 4-3, but this victory had a bitter ending for Xico, Benfica, and the football world as no one could have predicted the tragic events that would result after the match. On the return home, the plane that transported all the players and staff of the Grande Torino squad crashed. Due to fog, the pilot crashed against one of the towers of the Basilica of Superga resulting in the death of all the passengers.[3]

This incident would crush Xico, since he was invited to go to Italy to discuss his future. In order to alleviate his conscience he sent 50 contos (250 Euros) to the families of those who died, and on his personal trophy room he put a picture with a black frame of the Grande Torino team.

Honours and awards[edit]

1x Portuguese Liga - 1938/1939

4x Portuguese Liga - 1941/42, 1942/43, 1944/45 and 1949/50
6x Portuguese Cup - 1939/40, 1942/43, 1943/44, 1948/49, 1950/51 and 1951/52
1x Taça Marechal Craveiro Lopes - 1952


  1. ^ "Francisco Ferreira (Francisco Ferreira)" (in Portuguese). Fora de Jogo. Retrieved 2009-09-02. 
  2. ^ Pierrend, José Luis (2009-05-28). "Portugal - Record International Players". RSSSF. Retrieved 2009-09-02. 
  3. ^ Dunne, Frank (2009-05-02). "Troubled Turin recall tragic end of 'Il Grande Torino'". The Independent. Retrieved 2009-09-02. 

External links[edit]