THE Portuguese community in Hereford has been left shocked by the sudden death of national footballing hero Eusebio.

The Mozambique-born legend is renowned as being one of the greatest footballers of all time and was the Cristiano Ronaldo of his day.

During his glittering career, Eusebio, who died on Sunday, aged 71, scored an amazing 733 goals in 745 games and was top scorer at the 1966 World Cup with nine goals.

He also starred for Benfica against Manchester United in the 1968 European Cup final, which the Portguese club lost 4-1 after extra time.

Jorge Franco, who lives in Hereford, took to Facebook to pay tribute to his hero.

"You were and always will be huge, magnificent, magical, the greatest," he said.

"There is no sufficient adjectives to tell you my eternal king.

"Until always. R.I.P Eusebio."

Hereford Times reporter Paul Rogers also met Eusebio during a memorabilia show at the NEC in Birmingham in 2009.

"It was an absolute pleasure to meet such an icon in the game and I was a bit starstruck," said Paul.

"He had a real presence and took the time to sign loads of autographs and pose for photographs.

"The world has lost a special man."