Sad To See You Leaving 2011: Socrates

by Ray_North on December 24, 2011

Perhaps, one of the greatest football matches ever played took place on the 5th July 1982, when Brazil met Italy at the Estadio Sarria, Barcelona for a place in the semi-final. Brazil had been outstanding throughout the competition, they’d hammered Scotland and New Zealand and comfortably overcame a very good team from the Soviet Union. In the second round they outplayed Argentina with a wonderful display of attacking football. Their midfield quartet of Cerezo, Zico, Falcao and Socrates was amazing – each of them were technically superb and only knew one way to play – attack, attack, attack. But, if Brazil had the best attack, then Italy had the best defence – Cabrini, Gentile, Colovatti and Scirea. What a match – both teams went at it hammer and tongs in what was the most wonderful battle – with a Paulo Rossi hat-trick eventually putting the Italians into the semi-final.

The first Brazil goal was scored by their captain, Socrates. I remember being enthralled by Socrates throughout that World Cup – he was the epitomy of cool – his name was cool, his languid, long limbed graceful style was cool, even his little beard and big hair was super-cool – Socrates was a true star.

I probably didn’t appreciate however, just how unique Socrates was – he had qualified as a doctor whilst simultaneously starting is career and played football and lived his life in a manner that would be inconceivable in today’s world where footballers are cosseted from an early age and end up as rather dull, self-obsessed automatons. Socrates was anything but, an intellectual chain smoking, hard-drinking socialist – a man who would indulge in a cheeky fag at half time and wrote poetry and prose, recorded music and would speak enthusiastically about Che Gavara and John Lennon.

Quite properly he made his name playing for Corinthians in Brazil and came to Europe for a season at Fiorentina, but it didn’t work out and he returned to Brazil, incredibly however, in 2004, he came out of retirement to play for Garforth Town in Northern Counties East Coast League – and he did that, because he wanted to help out a mate.

Sadly, the fags and booze eventually did for him and he died tragically young at 57.


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

George_East December 25, 2011 at 8:31 pm

A great team in a world cup full of great teams.


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