He won the national Primeira Divisão championship title twice with F.C. Porto, in the 1955/56 and 1958/59 seasons. For the national team, Virgílio debuted in a friendly 1-4 loss to Italy on 27 February 1949, in a game that earned him the nickname of "O Leão de Génova" (The Lion of Genoa), for whom he would be known for the rest of his career. He was a constant figure in the national team for the next 11 years, and he played in the 1950, 1954 and 1958 World Cup qualification. The last one is remembered for the historical 3-0 win over Italy, which ultimately resulted in the Italians missing the 1958 FIFA World Cup to Northern Ireland, the only time the Italians have missed a World Cup tournament. Virgílio's last game came at age 33, in the Euro 1960 1-5 quarter-final loss to Yugoslavia, on 22 May 1960. That would be his 39th cap for the national team, which made Virgílio the most capped Portuguese football player of his time.