The great players of Brazilian soccer establish themselves by winning a World Cup. It is an essential requirement to become a legend. Despite not having won a World Cup with the canarinha, this player is considered one of the greatest talents in the history of his country. This summary of Zico’s biography (March 3, 1953, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) will give you more information about him.

An overview of Zico’s life

The index

  • Flamengo’s early years

  • In the Libertadores, Zico reigned supreme

  • The last years of his football career

The early years at Flamengo

In his neighborhood, he was known as Zico, although his parents baptized him Arthur Coimbra. After scoring 10 goals in a futsal match, Flamengo scouts asked his father to include the promising youngster in Flamengo’s lower categories after seeing him play on a futsal field for the first time.

In 1971, at the age of 18, Zico made his Flamengo debut and assisted his team’s winning goal. He was considered a phenomenon by the Flamengo coaches. During the 1972 season, he alternated between the youth team and the first team, giving good performances that helped the team win the domestic championship. For two more seasons, Zico remained with the amateur team.

It is a very representative number among all Brazilian football clubs that he received in 1974. In that season, he stands out for his scandalous performances against teams like Santos, Corinthians, and São Paulo. It is difficult to imagine a better midfielder in the history of sport than Zico, a player with countless goals and a command of tactical concepts second to none.

During his four seasons with Flamengo, he won three domestic titles, which marked the beginning of the club’s golden era. His performances earned him a call-up to Brazil’s 1978 World Cup squad. Zico left a good impression that would help him become a benchmark for the team despite the loss.

In the Libertadores, Zico reigned supreme

Flamengo had a golden era during the 1980s. With Zico’s stellar performance, the 1981 Copa Libertadores would be won by his team. In 1980, he won another Brasileirao and qualified for the Copa Libertadores. Additionally, his team won the Intercontinental Cup against Liverpool 3-0. Consequently, he was summoned to the 1982 World Cup with a Brazilian team in which he was the top star.

During the 1982 World Cup, Zico’s team performed well, elevating the player to the heights of the football Olympus. With authentic exhibitions in the middle of the tournament, the way they played the ball was unique, considered “the last true expression of the beautiful game”. As a result, they would be eliminated by Italy, which with a more defensive game would completely nullify Brazil’s magic, with Zico as a negative protagonist when he missed a penalty.

That year, he won the World Soccer Award for Best Player of the Year, becoming the first South American to do so. Additionally, he was included in the World Cup Ideal XI and the entire football community regarded him as an outstanding player.

The last years of his football career

Despite two good seasons with Udinese in Serie A, he failed to win any important titles with Udinese, so he returned to Flamengo in 1985.

A knee tackle he received in a league match after returning to Flamengo kept him off the pitch for almost a year, and he even underwent three surgeries. In spite of his recovery, he performs poorly at the 1986 World Cup.

In 1991, he was awarded another Brasileirao at Flamengo before leaving for Japan to end his career as an elite player. In later years, he joined the Brazilian Beach Soccer Team and even tried his luck as a coach, leading the Japan National Team in the 2002 World Cup and winning the 2004 Asian Cup.

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