BY CRAIG MUNCEY
Throughout football history, many prolific goal scorers have created their own headlines, nay legends; players such as Miroslav Klose, Ferenc Puskas, Alfredo Di Stefano, Romario, Gerd Muller, Pele and in more recent years Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. Players whose goals to games ratios are outstanding. There is one name that you may not be so familiar with, but his goal record is simply startling.
Fernando Baptista de Seixas Peyroteo de Vasconcelos, was born in Angola in 1918. Angola is a small country once governed by Portugal. Its economy struggled, while its population in the 1930's dropped due to the colonisation strategy undertaken by the Portuguese government. From a footballing perspective, when Peyroteo was playing Angola did not have any professional leagues. To say it was a backwater would be a colossal understatement. Indeed, they were not recognised as a FIFA associated member country until 1976.
Fernando Peyroteo, as he was more commonly known, joined Sporting Club in Lisbon in June 1937, and played out his whole 12-year professional career with just that club.
His goal scoring exploits are incredible. In his first full year at Sporting, he scored 57 goals in 30 appearances, a staggering rate. Indeed, in every season he played he scored more goals than the amount of times he took to the field. That first season was his most prolific. But to be able to score that many so consistently – which he did - is a massive achievement.
Peyroteo, won eleven major titles with Sporting and was top goal scorer six times throughout his career and while with the club, formed part of the renowned Cinco Violonos (Five Violins) who terrorised opposition defences. He was also capped 20 times for Portugal, and again had a very commendable strike rate, with 14 goals in those appearances. Peyroteo once scored 9 goals in one match in the Portuguese top division, 8 goals in another game and 6 goals in a match on three separate occasions.
He retired from playing at the age of 31 and moved back to his native Angola. In 1962, he returned to Portugal to manage the national side and gave the iconic striker Eusebio – another African-born Portuguese star - his international debut during his spell in charge.
Tragically, during a veteran’s match, Peyroteo got injured and required surgery. Following complications after this operation, he had to have his leg amputated. Peyroteo died in Lisbon, Portugal in November 1978, he was 60 years of age.
His final goal tally in all professional matches stood at 540 goals in 334 appearances. The numbers, regardless of the era, the country or the league are phenomenal. He was a goal machine and a one club wonder, and undoubtedly an inspiration for his illustrious adopted countryman whose footsteps he followed in.
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