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São Paulo to honour Brazil legend Leonidas da Silva

São Paulo face Criciúma on Thursday at the Morumbi, and will use the game to honour what would have been the 100th birthday of Leonidas da Silva.

Leonidas is an idol at the club for whom he made 211 appearances scoring 144 goals, winning a total of five Paulista titles.

The São Paulo players will wear special shirts to mark the occasion, as the legendary striker would have turned 100 years old on Friday.

Leonidas passed away in January 2004, aged 90, and will be remembered as one of the greatest players in the world for his performances during the 1920s and 30s.

He was nicknamed The Black Diamond because of his skin tone and prowess on the pitch, and was also referred to as The Rubber Man due to the suppleness he demonstrated whilst playing.

Many stories also credit Leonidas with the invention of the bicycle kick, and his agility allowed him to score many goals using this technique.

São Paulo's head of communications, Julio Casares, summed up the mood ahead of Thursday’s game:

"To recognize Leonidas da Silva is to recall the image of one of the biggest idols of São Paulo.

"I'm pretty sure that if he played today, with all the exposure that football has in the media, he would have been named the best in the world on several occasions. It is apt to honour him in his centenary."


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