New England Soccer Today

Eusebio Statue Finds New Home in Ludlow

Photo credit: Chris Aduama/aduamaphotography.com

Photo credit: Chris Aduama/aduamaphotography.com

The Eusebio statute that once toiled in the shadows of Gillette Stadium is about to get a brand new home.

After spending the past year in storage, the statue of the legendary Portuguese footballer will be displayed at the Western Mass Pioneers’ home park at Lusitano Stadium in Ludlow. The statue will be officially unveiled at the club’s home opener on May 22.

The statue was originally erected at Gillette Stadium in 2002 at the behest of local construction mogul Tony Frias. Eusebio’s larger-than-life likeness was originally commissioned during the early 1990s by Boston businessman Vitor Batista, who donated it to the footballer’s longtime club, Benfica, for display outside Estadio da Luz in Lisbon.

A copy was cast shortly thereafter, and was donated to the New England Sports Museum before it ended up in the hands of the Kraft Family prior to the opening of Gillette Stadium. A proper dedication ceremony was held prior to a Revolution game four years later, with the footballer himself on hand for the festivities.

Eusebio was on the field for the first soccer game played at the now-demolished Foxboro Stadium, a club friendly that pitted Benfica against Sporting CP in 1972. He also played seven games for the Boston Minutemen of the original NASL.

Eusebio died in 2014, and was inducted into the New England Soccer Hall of Fame the following year. Not long after his death, the statue at Gillette Stadium was quietly removed to make way for new construction at Patriot Place.

Now the statue will find a more fitting residence in Ludlow, which boasts a dense Portuguese population.

One Comment

  1. Dave

    August 16, 2016 at 2:01 pm

    What a shame! The Kraft’s honor a legend, one of the greatest players of all time and then remove the statue and place it in storage where it then is sent off to a minor league stadium. With all the space in and around Gillette they couldn’t have found another location? This is both embarrassing and disrespectful. I can’t comprehend the fact that anyone thought this was a good move.

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