Mário Coluna

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Mário Coluna
Mario Coluna (1969).jpg
Coluna in 1969
Personal information
Full name Mário Esteves Coluna
Date of birth (1935-08-06)6 August 1935
Place of birth Inhaca, Mozambique
Date of death 25 February 2014(2014-02-25) (aged 78)
Place of death Maputo, Mozambique
Height 1.72 m (5 ft 8 in)
Playing position Midfielder
Youth career
1951–1954 Desportivo Lourenço Marques
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1954–1970 Benfica 364 (89)
1970–1971 Lyon 19 (2)
1971–1972 Estrela Portalegre
Total 383 (91)
National team
1955–1968 Portugal 57 (8)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Mário Esteves Coluna (Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈmaɾiu kuˈlunɐ]; 6 August 1935 – 25 February 2014) was a Portuguese footballer who played mainly as a central midfielder.

He spent most of his career with Benfica, appearing in 525 official matches and scoring 127 goals during 16 professional seasons. Dubbed O Monstro Sagrado (The 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.[1]

Club career[edit]

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.[1] 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 Primeira Liga 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.[2]

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.[3]

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.[1][4]

International career[edit]

Coluna played 57 times for the Portugal national team, scoring eight goals, his first appearance was in a friendly 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.

Coluna captained the Magriços side in all except one of the matches during the third-place campaign at the 1966 World Cup, in England.[1][5]

Post-retirement / Death[edit]

After Mozambique became independent in 1975, Coluna held the post of President of its Football Federation, he also served as the country's Minister of Sports, from 1994 to 1999.[6]

Coluna died on 25 February 2014 at the age of 78 in Maputo, after not being able to overcome a pulmonary infection.[7]








  1. ^ a b c d "Coluna, Benfica's midfield colossus". FIFA. 9 March 2012. Retrieved 17 October 2013.
  2. ^ Sousa, Nuno (25 February 2014). "Morreu Mário Coluna, o grande capitão do Benfica europeu" [Death of Mário Coluna, the great captain of European Benfica]. Público (in Portuguese). Retrieved 23 October 2018.
  3. ^ "Morreu Mário Coluna, o "Monstro Sagrado" que apadrinhou Eusébio" [Death of Mário Coluna, the "Sacred Monster" who godfathered Eusébio]. Jornal de Notícias (in Portuguese). 25 February 2014. Retrieved 23 October 2018.
  4. ^ "Eusebio-inspired Benfica rock Real". FIFA. 2 May 2012. Retrieved 18 October 2013.
  5. ^ "A lenda dos Magriços começou há 50 anos" [The legend of the Magriços started 50 years ago]. Expresso (in Portuguese). 13 July 2016. Retrieved 25 May 2017.
  6. ^ "Portugal e Benfica de luto por Coluna" [Portugal and Benfica mourn Coluna] (in Portuguese). UEFA. 25 February 2014. Retrieved 23 October 2018.
  7. ^ "Morreu Mário Coluna" [Mário Coluna died]. Record (in Portuguese). 25 February 2014. Archived from the original on 1 March 2014. Retrieved 25 February 2014.
  8. ^ "Especial 'Tetra'" ['Tetra' special edition]. Mística (in Portuguese). No. 33. Portugal: Impresa Publishing. April–June 2017. p. 69. ISSN 3846-0823.
  9. ^ "Luisão faz história e torna-se no jogador com mais títulos no Benfica" [Luisão makes history and becomes the player with most titles at Benfica] (in Portuguese). SAPO Desporto. 5 August 2017. Retrieved 28 August 2017.
  10. ^ "Bicampeões para a história" [Back-to-back champions for the ages]. Visão (in Portuguese). Portugal: Impresa Publishing. May 2015. p. 45. ISSN 0872-3540.
  11. ^ "Eric Batty's World XI – The Sixties". Beyond the Last Man. 29 April 2013. Retrieved 26 November 2015.
  12. ^ "FIFA XI´s Matches – Full Info". RSSSF. Retrieved 25 October 2015.

External links[edit]