Eusebio's health improving, set to exit intensive care

LISBON (Reuters) -- Portugal great Eusebio is recovering well from pneumonia and could be moved out of the intensive care unit by Saturday, an hospital official said.

"He is doing well now, after two days in intensive care unit he is doing better. He is very stable... and is better than yesterday," Luz hospital clinical director Jose Roquette told Reuters. "We think he might go to intermediate care unit tomorrow."

The former Benfica and Portugal striker, who turns 70 in January, was admitted to Lisbon's Luz hospital this week diagnosed with bilateral pneumonia.

The Mozambique-born forward, also known as the 'black panther' for the fear he inspired on his opponents, 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.

"I think that in two or three days we will be getting better news. Anyway, he will spend Christmas with us... tomorrow we will make a new appraisal of the situation. He is feeling very well, very calm, speaking with the family and some friends," said Roquette, before adding that Eusebio asked to have codfish for Christmas eve, the traditional Portuguese meal.

Eusebio retired in 1975 after earning 64 Portugal caps and 41 international goals, including an emotional Wembley appearance against England in the semi-finals of the 1966 World Cup, where he was top scorer.

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