Rui Costa is regarded as one of the best midfielders in world football and one of Portugal’s best players in recent history, Costa usually played as an attacking midfielder and was particular known for his excellent technique, playmaking ability, and eye for goal from midfield. In 2004, he was named by Pelé in the FIFA 100 as one of the 125 greatest living football players.
Nicknamed “The Maestro” and “Il Musagete”, Costa spent the majority of his career with Benfica in Portugal and Fiorentina and A.C. Milan in Italy. In a top-flight career spanning 17 years, he won several trophies, including one Primeira Liga title, one Taça de Portugal, one Serie A title, three Coppa Italia, one UEFA Champions Leagueand one UEFA Super Cup. A Portuguese international, he amassed 94 caps and scored 26 goals for Portugal and represented the country in three UEFA European Championships and one FIFA World Cup.
In the summer of 1991, Costa’s 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. The Portuguese under-20 national team won a World Youth Championship in 1991. His clinching penalty kick against Brazil in the final 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 was a member of Portugal’s most consistent years at senior level as the team reached the quarter-finals of UEFA Euro 1996, the semi-finals of Euro 2000 and the final of UEFA Euro 2004.
Costa was especially instrumental in helping Portugal reach the 2004 final on home soil, scoring a screamer of a goal at the Estádio da Luz against England in the quarter-final match.