Sunday, 4 December 2011

Sócrates Brasileiro Sampaio de Souza Vieira de Oliveira

Sad news today as the world learned of the passing of Brazilian great Sócrates. Medical doctor, 60-a-day man, drinker, thinker, icon, he was all these things and more. Outspokenly left-wing in his politics at a time when Brazil was under military rule, he was so much more than a footballer. But what a footballer. At 6'4", his gangly frame shouldn't have been able to glide across the turf, but he was a picture of languid grace.
This writer was just a bit too young for the 1978 World Cup - 1982 was the first proper glimpse of the world game and that Brazil side from that tournament still evokes great memories. Falcão, Zico et al were terrific of course, but it was the lanky, bearded captain who pulled all the strings and swanned about the midfield like he owned the sport. He was cool. He was the one everyone wanted to be in the 38-a-side game in the schoolyard the next day.
His was a life very well lived indeed and the world is a sadder place for his passing.

Here he is in the 1986 World Cup in Mexico against France, swaggering his way around the Jalisco in Guadalajara:

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