Francisco Ferreira (Portuguese footballer)
|Full name||Francisco Ferreira|
|Date of birth||23 August 1919|
|Place of birth||Guimarães, Portugal|
|Date of death||14 February 1986(aged 66)|
|Place of death||Lisbon, Portugal|
|Playing position||Central midfielder|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (June 2014)|
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.
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.
Torino honorary guest
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.
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
1x Portuguese Liga - 1938/1939
- "Francisco Ferreira (Francisco Ferreira)" (in Portuguese). Fora de Jogo. Retrieved 2009-09-02.
- Pierrend, José Luis (2009-05-28). "Portugal - Record International Players". RSSSF. Retrieved 2009-09-02.
- Dunne, Frank (2009-05-02). "Troubled Turin recall tragic end of 'Il Grande Torino'". The Independent. Retrieved 2009-09-02.
- Vedeta ou Marreta? (Portuguese)