Rui Costa is renowned for his fine technique and his excellent passing, he’s now considered as one of the greatest midfielders of his generation. In 2004, he was named by Pelé in the FIFA 100, as one of the 125 greatest living football players.
Costa was named the best number 10 player in the Serie A a few times. His departure from Fiorentina was discussed every season, since many clubs constantly showed interest in signing him. However, he only left when Fiorentina went bankrupt after the 2001–02 season.
Fatih Terim was the coach of Fiorentina in the 2000–01 season. When he was leaving Fiorentina for Milan, he took Costa with him, paying a reported £30 million for the player. In doing so, Costa became Milan’s most expensive transfer of all-time. Costa played five seasons in Milan, where he won one Serie A title, one Italian Cup, one Italian Super Cup, one UEFA Champions League, and one European Super Cup.
In 2006 Rui Costa had been released from Milan after both the player and the club reached an agreement to end his contract. Costa also gave up his €4.6 million per year contract to play in the club that, year after year, had dreamt of his return. Costa’s affection for Benfica is publicly known and so is his desire to end his career at the Portuguese club.
Rui Costa was a member of Portugal’s most consistent years at senior level as the team reached the quarter-finals of Euro 1996, the semi-finals of Euro 2000, and the final of Euro 2004. Costa was especially instrumental in helping Portugal reach the 2004 final.
Costa also took part in the World Cup 2002 in Japan and South Korea scoring Portugal’s winning goal in their 4–0 win over Poland. The only time in his career that Costa was sent off was in an international game against Germany.
Despite being principally a provider, Costa chipped in with a highly impressive 26 goals in 94 games.