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Player Profile: Rui Costa  

Rui CostaFull name: Rui Manuel Cesar Costa
Position: Midfielder
Date of Birth: 29 March 1972
Birthplace: Lisbon, Portugal

What can one say that has not already been said of Rui Manuel Cesar Costa, often referred to simply as The Maestro. The midfielder will always be remembered as one of Portugal’s greatest players of all time, and a true world-class performer.

Rui Costa’s ability to provide lethal and accurate passes at any given moment, and envision the game like so few can, have made him a player that fans around the world have marvelled at. It came as no surprise when the player was handpicked by the greatest of them all, Pele, as one of FIFA’s 100 greatest living footballers in 2004.

Rui Costa joined Benfica’s youth ranks at the tender age of 10. Perhaps, it was an omen, but Benfica legend Eusebio was helping to supervise the youth squad at the time and made special note of the young Costa’s outstanding skill level at such an early age. In 1990 he was loaned to Fafe where Costa played in 38 matches, scoring 6 goals.

“Golden Generation” star

In the summer of 1991 his displays at Fafe had impressed Portugal Under-21 coach Carlos Queiroz so much that he was called up to the team to represent Portugal in the World Youth Cup. His clinching penalty kick helped win the title on home soil and announced Costa as one of the brightest members of what would become known as the “Golden Generation.”

Costa returned to Benfica that year and remained with the club until 1994, winning the Portuguese Cup and Portuguese Championship, and scoring 18 goals in 107 appearances. A mixture of financial hardship and power struggles forced the Lisbon club to sell the Maestro to Italian side, Fiorentina.

Lethal partnership

It would be in Serie A that Rui Costa truly captured the world’s attention. During his seven-year tenure the player formed a devastating partnership with Argentinean striker, Gabriel Batistuta, propelling the club to two Italian Cups and an Italian Supercup. Costa scored 40 goals in 204 appearances for the club.

Again Costa saw a club he had given so much to hit with chronic financial problems. Fiorentina filed for bankruptcy and was forced to sell the dazzling midfielder to Serie A rivals AC Milan for a record Italian transfer fee of 38 million euros in 2001. In 2003 the player had the most successful year in his career, winning the much sought after Champions League title, the European Supercup and the Italian Cup for a third time.

At the end of his fifth season with the Italian giants, Rui Costa finally made the move that tens of thousands of Benfica fans had been waiting for as he announced on 25 May 2006 that he was coming back home to wear the Benfica colours one last time. 

For two seasons Costa showed that class has no age barrier. He was man of the match with unerring frequency in the final 24 months of his playing career, with the mastery of his passing, his intelligence and his swift execution invariably getting the better of younger and physically stronger opponents. Yet continued instability at the club – his final season was played under three coaches – dashed his hopes of winning one last piece of silverware for his beloved Benfica.


International career

Rui Costa was a member of Portugal’s most consistent years at senior level as the team reached the quarter-finals of Euro 1996, the semi-finals of Euro 2000, and the final of Euro 2004.

Costa was especially instrumental in helping Portugal reach the 2004 final on home soil, scoring a screamer of a goal at his beloved Estadio da Luz against England in the quarter-final match, and the sight of a distraught Rui Costa at the end of the heartbreaking 1-0 defeat to Greece is one of the enduring images of the tournament.

Costa also took part in the World Cup 2002 in Japan and South Korea. Despite being principally a provider, Costa chipped in with a highly impressive 26 goals in 94 games.

by Marco Pereira (15/01/2007)

AC Milan1697

* League appearances only

Comments (6)
Best Player ever
6 Thursday, 23 May 2013 16:22
Abdullah - Kuwait
Wow, I love Rui Costa so much.
Even in Kuwait he is well known, one of the most beautiful midfielders to play football.
And my favourite player of all time.

Well done Portugal, you should be proud!
5 Wednesday, 06 February 2013 06:28
i like to rui costa fiorentina forever>bravo
RUI COSTA Forever......
4 Monday, 04 February 2013 09:53
I proud of Rui Costa.., you always my BEST PLAYER IN THE WORLD
3 Friday, 17 February 2012 14:04
Andei com ele na escola na damaia. Hoje em dia tentei entrar em contacto com ele pa lhe pedir uns dinheiros emprestados (devido ta claro a situacao do pais) e ele diz que nao me conhece...
to Admire this guy.
2 Saturday, 17 December 2011 06:53
he was the best Midfielder
1 Sunday, 11 April 2010 15:23
Sr. Ruii tu es um inesquecivel para nos que Ama Fotubol ainda mais para os Benfiquistas

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