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Mario Zagallo, Brazilian football legend, has died at the age of 92

Mario Zagallo, Brazilian football legend, has died at the age of 92

Mario Zagallo, the Brazilian football legend who died on Friday at the age of 92, will forever remain the first to win the World Cup as a player, and then as a coach, establishing himself as one of the figures in the history of the planetary tournament.

Zagallo, nicknamed 'The Professor', played a key role in four of the five world titles the Seleção won.

As a player, he won two titles: in 1958 in Sweden and in 1962 in Chile.

On the bench, he led the Seleção to the 1970 title in Mexico and was assistant coach to the 1994 crown in the United States.

He was coach again in 1998 when Ronaldo's Brazil lost 3-0 at the Stade de France to Didier Deschamps' Blues.

Only the legendary German Franz Beckenbauer (1974 as a player and 1990 as a coach) and Deschamps were able to imitate him, after the Blues won in Russia in 2018.

Zagallo, whose statue stands in front of Rio's Nilton Santos Stadium, has shown little of his talent. Only for the lucrative siren of the Gulf, between 1976-78 to coach Kuwait, then in 1989-90 with the United Arab Emirates who qualified for the only World Cup they played without him, and was sacked before the tournament due to bonus stories.

Pele's older brother

Mario Jorge Lopo Zagallo was born on August 9, 1931 in Maceió, in the north-east of the country, to a family of Lebanese and Italian origin. He began his career in 1948 with the humble Club America in Rio de Janeiro, then played eight seasons with Flamengo. and seven with Botafogo.

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A very skilled left-handed player who defends fiercely from any attacker.

He became an international in May 1958, before winning his first Jules Rimet Trophy at the age of 27 with fellow greats Pele, Garrincha, Didi and Vava, in a 5-2 rout against Sweden, the host country.

Zagallo scored the fourth goal before providing the assist for Pele in the fifth.

“Zagalo is like a brother to me,” Pele said in August 2013, on Zagallo’s 82nd birthday: “When we arrived in Sweden for the 1958 World Cup, I was 17 years old and the youngest member of the team, and Zagallo took me under their protection, along with Zito and Gilmar.” “.

French executioners

Zagallo was superstitious and had an unwavering faith in the number 13 that adorned his shirt. He married his wife on June 13, lived on the 13th floor, and drove with license plate 13. He said he regretted that the 1998 final was played on July 12.

Zagallo retired from his professional career in June 1964 with the No. 33 squad before starting to coach two years later, mainly in Brazil (Botafogo, Flamengo, Fluminense, Portuguesa or Vasco da Gama).

Oriverde's coach during the 1970 World Cup in Mexico, he led Brazil to its third world title with Pele, Jairzinho, Tostao, Gerson and Carlos Alberto.

A tactical genius, he was the first to establish a 5-3-2 plan capable of transforming into a 3-5-2 in attack.

He first left the Seleção after finishing fourth in the 1974 World Cup and was called up in 1994 to be assistant to Carlos Alberto Parreira during the Seleção's fourth crown.

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He succeeded Parreira until the 1998 final in France, where Zinedine Zidane's gang deprived him of the title. Zagallo then ended his coaching career, playing no role in Brazil's fifth world title in 2002.

He was called up in 2003 to prepare as technical coordinator for the 2006 World Cup in Germany, and would put an end, this time once and for all, to his career when Brazil was eliminated in the quarter-finals against France (1-0), a new match once again. He was beaten at Zidane's party.