Eusebio to spend Christmas in hospital

Former Benfica and Portugal striker Eusebio will spend Christmas in hospital after being diagnosed with pneumonia, the hospital treating him said on Thursday.

"Eusebio spent the night well but there was no significant improvement," said Luz hospital clinical director Jose Roquette. "We hope that all is solved quickly though this might take a while. It is likely that he will stay until after Christmas."

Eusebio, who turns 70 in January and is a national icon in Portugal, was admitted to hospital on Wednesday.

"Eusebio has been with his family and some friends," Roquette told reporters.

The Mozambique-born forward helped Benfica reach four European Cup finals, the last in 1968 when they lost in extra-time to Manchester United. Benfica won the trophy in 1961 and 1962.

He retired in 1975, wrapping up a career that included 64 caps and 41 international goals and an emotional Wembley appearance against England in the semi-finals of the 1966 World Cup, where he was top scorer.

Eusebio was visited by former Portugal national coach Humberto Coelho on Thursday.

"He was a bit sleepy but I managed to talk to him. Let's wait, but I hope he recovers fast. He is strong so I believe that will happen," said Coelho.

"It is hard to see him like this. On top of everything this is happening on Christmas, a more delicate moment. I am hoping he will recover... let's pray for him."