Strikers are born to score goals. Give them a half chance and they’ll put their lives on the line to convert it into a goal. Such was the passion of Cristiano Sebastião de Lima Júnior who arrived in India in 2003 to Join East Bengal in what was at that time called the National Football League.
in 2004 Due to lack of understanding English he preferred a move to GOA because of the Portuguese influence where he joined Dempo Sports Club after taking East Bengal to the NFL title where he finished as Top Scorer with 15 goals in 18 games in the 2003 season.
He and Ranti Martins together steered Dempo to the Federation Cup finals against Mohun Bangan in his debut season. It was the 5th of December of 2004 at the Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru when tragedy struck. Already 1-0 up and cruising, in the 78th minute Cristiano latched on to a through ball when Mohun Bagan’s Keeper Subrata Paul lunged at him with a fist to his neck after Cristiano put the ball past him to put Dempo 2-0 up. He fell to the ground and never got up again.
The 25 year old was rushed to hospital but was pronounced dead on arrival. The cause of death was given as cardiac arrest.
As a tribute to him, Dempo Sports Club retired the no. 10 Jersey. Only solace from this tragic incident was Junior died doing what he loved the most and that is Playing the Beautiful game of Football.
Forever in the Hearts of Indian Football Fans.