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Portuguese celebrities | Past and Present

Updated on August 19, 2011

Amália Rodrigues and Eusébio - Portugal`s ambassadors

Portugal has been known for decades as the country of the Fado singer Amália Rodrigues and the football player Eusébio.

Everywhere in the world they were the best Portugal ambassadors and they manage to become known by people all around the world.

Amália Rodrigues

Known as the "Rainha do Fado" ("Queen of Fado") she was most influential in generalizing the fado world-wide. She was definitely the most important figure in the genre's development, by merit of an innate interpretive talent carefully nurtured throughout a 40-year recording and stage career.

Amália performances and choice of repertoire pushed Fado's boundaries and helped redefine it and reconfigure it for her and subsequent generations. In effect, Amália Rodrigues wrote the rulebook on what fado could be and on how a female singer (or Fadista) should perform it, to the extent that she remains an unsurpassable model and an unending source of repertoire for all those who came afterwards.

Amália also remains the only international star to have ever come out of Portugal, with an extensive international career between the 1950 and the 1970, while in an epoch where such efforts were not as easily quantified as today.

Amália Rodrigues - Povo que lavas no rio (1961)


Amalia Rodrigues performing live in the portuguese TV at 1961. "Povo que lavas no rio" (translation: "People who wash in the river") is a song that nobody else could perform the same way.



Eusébio da Silva Ferreira

Nicknamed "The Black Panther", or "The Black Pearl", Eusébio was notable for his speed and his powerful, accurate right-footed strike. He is considered Benfica's and Portugal's most renowned player.

He was elected the 9th best footballer of the 20th century in a poll by the IFFHS.

Pelé named Eusébio as one of the 125 best living footballers in his 2004 FIFA 100 list.

In November 2003, to celebrate UEFA's Jubilee, he was selected as the Golden Player of Portugal by the Portuguese Football Federation as their most outstanding player of the past 50 years.

EUSEBIO, The Black Panther


Time has passed...



Right now Portugal has two new outstanding ambassadors, curiously in the same two areas, music and football!

They are Mariza and Cristiano Ronaldo.


While growing up she sang in a wide diversity of styles, comprehending gospel, soul and jazz, before deciding for fado.

Published in 2001, Mariza's first album, Fado em Mim ("Fado in me") was an instantaneous success in Portugal selling more than 30,000 copies which led to her recording company launching the disc internationally to take advantage of the good reception that Portuguese music was experiencing at the time in Europe and in other countries, such as Japan and Mexico.

When Mariza's second album, Fado Curvo (Rounded Fado) was released in 2003 she was already considered as a member of the New Fado movement. Her voice harking back to the divas of the musical form like Amália Rodrigues. Her interpretations of fado standards brought her great international recognition in a small period leading to her being honored in 2003 with the award for Best European Artist in World Music by BBC.

For the Olympic Games of Athens 2004 she sang A Thousand Years as a duet with Sting. It was released on the official pop album of the Athens Olympics, Unity, on which fado is sung in English and Portuguese.

Her third album, Transparente (Transparent) was recorded in Brazil and released in 2005. Mariza performed at Live 8 singing at the Eden Project in Cornwall and ever since she has been invited to a great number of concerts to promote Portuguese culture around the world. That album finally reached top ten in countries like Holland, Spain and Finland.

She had performed in many places like New York's Carnegie Hall, Central Park, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Barbican, Hollywood Bowl, London's Royal Albert Hall, Union Chapel, Royal Festival Hall, Lisbon's Centro Cultural de Belém, Frankfurt's Alte Oper, Paris' Théâtre de La Ville, Madrid's Teatro Albeniz, Barcelona's Teatro Grec, X Cairo International Song Festival 2004, Centro Cultural de Macau, Moscow International House of Music, Toronto's Massey Hall and Sydney Opera House.

Mariza has received many awards from countries such as Denmark, Australia, Canada, Germany, UK, USA and many others.

Her album Concerto em Lisboa received in 2007 a Latin Grammy nomination for Best Folk Album.

Fabulous and Chilling !!! Gente da minha terra - Mariza


The new album - CD & DVD - by aguably one of the most important artists of our times who has crossed borders into the mainstream.


Lyrics translation:


É meu e vosso este fado

(This Fado is both yours and mine)

destino que nos amarra

(The destiny that unites us)

por mais que seja negado

(No matter how much it is denied)

às cordas de uma guitarra

(By the strings of a guitar)

Sempre que se ouve um gemido

(Whenever one hears a lament)

duma guitarra a cantar

(Of a guitar's song)

fica-se logo perdido

(One is instantly lost)

com vontade de chorar

(With a longing to weep)

Ó genta da minha terra

(Oh people of my land)

agora é que eu percebi

(It is now that I have perceived)

esta tristeza que trago

(This sadness which I carry)

foi de vós que a recebi

(Was from you that I received)

E pareceria ternura

(It would seem a kindness)

se eu me deixasse embalar

(If I left myself be soothed)

era maior a amargura

(The greater the anguish)

menos triste o meu cantar (The less sorrowful my song)

Ó genta da minha terra (Oh people of my land)

Ó genta da minha terra (Oh people of my land)

agora é que eu percebi (It is now that I have perceived)

esta tristeza que trago (This sadness which I carry)

foi de vós que a recebi (Was from you that I received)

Translation by: Liliana Almeida -


Cristiano Ronaldo

Ronaldo was born in Madeira, Portugal. He began kicking a ball when he was three and when he started primary school at age six his passion for the sport was obvious. His favourite boyhood team was SL Benfica even though he would later join their rival, Sporting.

Right now he´s playing for Manchester United and after being said that he would go play for Real Madrid during 08/09 he remained a "Red" so we may believe he is going to stay in Manchester for a little longer.

Ronaldo is a two-footed player, thus allowing him to play anywhere up front: right, left or through the middle.

He has superb technical ability. Besides his multiple step-over moves he also developed a wide array of skills, making him a tricky and unpredictable winger to come up against. Ronaldo's pace and blistering runs either down the wings or cutting into the middle has further established him as an important player to Manchester United.

He is extremely good in the air and has scored a fair amount of headers as well. His unique playing style is a far cry from traditional wingers of the past and he can best be described as a winger and a striker rolled into one.

Individual honors and awards:

* Portuguese League Champion (2002-2003)

* UEFA Team of the Year: 2004

* UEFA European Championship 2004 Team of the Tournament

* FIFA World Cup All-Star Team: 2006

* English League Cup winner (2005-2006)

* FIFPro Special Young Player of the Year: 2005, 2006

* Barclays Player of the Month: November 2006, December 2006

* Portuguese Sports Personality: 2006

* Barclays Player of the Season: 2006-2007

* English Premier League Champions (2006-2007)

* PFA Player of the Year (2006-2007)

* PFA Young Player of the Year (2006-2007)

* PFA Fans' Player of the Month: October 2006, February 2007

* Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year: 2006-2007

* Manchester United Players' Player of the Year: 2006-2007

* FIFPro World XI: 2006-2007

* PFA Premiership Team of the Year: 2005-2006, 2006-2007

* PFA Players' Player of the Year: 2007-2008

* PFA Young Player of the Year: 2007-2008

* PFA Fans' Player of the Year: 2007-2008

* Football Writers' Association Award (2007-2008)

* Portuguese Footballer of the Year: 2007-2008

* European Footballer of the Year - Ballon d'Or (2nd place: 2007)

* Barclays Player Of The Season 2007-2008

Cristiano Ronaldo


To learn more about FADO visit this other hub

Young Fado singers from Portugal

Do you liked Cristiano`s photo? Want more?

Cristiano Ronaldo´s photos hub




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    • gpinheiro profile image


      8 years ago from Portugal

      Eusebio is still the best!

      5 years ago when I was in England attending professional training,another trainee, a Scotish gentleman told me that he liked very much Eusebio (he said something like Youssibio. He never mentioned the new football stars, but kept on speaking about what he had read about our Black Panther.

    • profile image

      Matt Martins 

      10 years ago

      Cristiano Ronaldo is simply the best and deserves the Ballon this year. Great hub.

    • funride profile imageAUTHOR

      Ricardo Nunes 

      10 years ago from Portugal

      Thank you Jenny, for your kind comment and for your great suggestion.

      Done ;)

    • Inspirepub profile image


      10 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Hey, funride,

      It's fascinating, learning about the Portugese stars of today.

      The links from your "young singers" page to here in the comments still don't work. Maybe you could put a link on the page itself?


    • funride profile imageAUTHOR

      Ricardo Nunes 

      11 years ago from Portugal

      Pricessa - You´re welcome ;-)

      Chabrenas - Hi, I´m glad you´ve liked. I´m sorry but I don´t know :-(

      You can read more about fado in my other hub

    • chabrenas profile image


      11 years ago from middle of France

      Must learn more about fado. What was the venue for the Mariza video?

    • Princessa profile image

      Wendy Iturrizaga 

      11 years ago from France

      hey! thanks for the extra photos... I enjoyed it ;-)

    • funride profile imageAUTHOR

      Ricardo Nunes 

      11 years ago from Portugal

      Eheheh, I´m glad you like it!

      I change my picture because I was tired of the other one and every now and then I´ll change it again ;-)

    • djtphn1 profile image


      11 years ago from Riverside County, California

      Hunka hunka burnin love! Thanks and hey, you changed your picture, I did not even recognize you!

    • funride profile imageAUTHOR

      Ricardo Nunes 

      11 years ago from Portugal

      Princessa, your wish is now reality! ;-)

      Hope you like it!

    • Princessa profile image

      Wendy Iturrizaga 

      11 years ago from France

      More photos of the footballer please ;-)

    • Mark Knowles profile image

      Mark Knowles 

      11 years ago

      Nice Hub. That footballer is one good looking boy.

    • profile image

      Andrea White 

      11 years ago

      I´m a big fan of Mariza and Ronaldo!

      She´s a great singer and he´s a hunk!


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