Coluna in 1969
|Full name||Mário Esteves Coluna|
|Date of birth||6 August 1935|
|Place of birth||Inhaca, Mozambique|
|Date of death||25 February 2014(aged 78)|
|Place of death||Maputo, Mozambique|
|Height||1.72 m (5 ft 7 1⁄2 in)|
|1951–1954||Desportivo Lourenço Marques|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
He spent most of his career with Benfica, appearing in 525 official games and scoring 127 goals during 16 professional seasons. Dubbed Monstro Sagrado (Sacred Monster), he won 19 major titles with his main club, including ten national leagues and two European Cups.
Coluna represented Portugal at the 1966 World Cup, and earned a total of 57 caps. He was considered one of the best midfielders of his generation, also being viewed as one of the most talented Portuguese players of all time.
Born in Inhaca, Portuguese Mozambique, to a Portuguese father and a Mozambican mother, Coluna was spotted by S.L. Benfica while playing for Desportivo de Lourenço Marques, where he excelled at basketball and track and field. Signed by the Lisbon club in 1954, he started playing as an inside forward, scoring a career-best 14 goals in 26 games in his first season in Portugal and winning the first of his national championships; subsequently, he was successfully reconverted as a central or attacking midfielder by manager Otto Glória, where he put to good use his stamina and strength, adding to this an accurate and powerful long-distance shot and technical skills.
Coluna captained Benfica from 1963 to 1970, in 328 matches. Already at the service of Olympique Lyonnais he was awarded a testimonial match by his main club on 8 December 1970, playing against a UEFA selection that featured the likes of Johan Cruyff, Dragan Džajić, Geoff Hurst, Bobby Moore, Luis Suárez or Uwe Seeler. He retired professionally at the age of 35, after one sole campaign with the French side – he still spent one year with amateurs Sport Clube Estrela from Portalegre, acting as player-coach.
Coluna scored in both European Cup finals won by Benfica: in 1961, he beat FC Barcelona's Antoni Ramallets from long range in a 3–2 win in Bern. The following year, against fellow Spaniards Real Madrid, he netted the 3–3 equaliser and, subsequently, was supposed to take the penalty that resulted in the 4–3 lead (eventual 5–3 triumph), when youngster Eusébio politely asked if he could shoot it instead.
Coluna played 57 times for the Portuguese national team, scoring eight goals. His first appearance was in a friendly match with Scotland on 4 May 1955 (0–3 loss), and his last on 11 December 1968 in a 2–4 defeat in Greece for the 1970 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
Post-retirement / Death
- European Cup: 1960–61, 1961–62; Runner-up 1962–63, 1964–65, 1967–68
- Primeira Liga (10): 1954–55, 1956–57, 1959–60, 1960–61, 1962–63, 1963–64, 1964–65, 1966–67, 1967–68, 1968–69
- Taça de Portugal (5): 1954–55, 1956–57, 1958–59, 1961–62, 1963–64, 1968–69, 1969–70; Runner-up 1957–58, 1964–65
- World Soccer World XI: 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966
- FIFA World Cup: All-Star Team 1966
- FIFA XI: 1967
- "Coluna" (in Portuguese). Vedeta ou Marreta?. 24 November 2010. Retrieved 17 October 2013.
- "Coluna, Benfica's midfield colossus". FIFA.com. 9 March 2012. Retrieved 17 October 2013.
- "Eusebio-inspired Benfica rock Real". FIFA.com. 2 May 2012. Retrieved 18 October 2013.
- "Morreu Mário Coluna" [Mário Coluna died] (in Portuguese). Record. 25 February 2014. Retrieved 25 February 2014.
- "Bicampeões para a história" [Back-to-back champions for the ages]. Visão (in Portuguese). Portugal: Impresa Publishing. May 2015. p. 45. ISSN 0872-3540.
- "Eric Batty's World XI – The Sixties". Beyond the Last Man. 29 April 2013. Retrieved 26 November 2015.
- "FIFA XI´s Matches – Full Info". RSSSF. Retrieved 25 October 2015.
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