One of the greatest in football history, Flamengo idol Zico celebrates his 71st birthday

Star is one of the great names in world football
Josué Seixas
2024-03-03 23:57:04

One of the greatest football players of all time, possessing a rare talent, scorer of beautiful goals, and collector of titles, Zico celebrates his 71st birthday this Sunday (3). Known as the “Galinho de Quintino,” a nickname referring to the suburb of Rio de Janeiro where he spent his childhood, Zico, the eternal idol of Flamengo, scored 854 goals in his career, 525 of which are recognized by FIFA, officially placing him among the 14 greatest goal scorers in the world.

The player became renowned as the great leader of a golden era for Rio de Janeiro’s Rubro-Negro in the 1970s and 1980s, helping Flamengo win numerous titles, including the Libertadores and the Club World Cup.


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For the Brazilian National Team, he played in the 1978, 1982, and 1986 World Cups – thus featuring (in 1982, in Spain) in one of the most talented teams in World Cup history, forming the midfield with other stars: Falcão, Cerezo, and Sócrates.

Among his feats is the record for the highest scorer at Maracanã, with 334 goals in 435 matches. Zico scored 84 goals from free kicks, according to his own data. Because of this, in 2001, Placar Magazine awarded him a prize as the greatest free-kick taker in Brazilian football in the 20th century.

Recognition for his refined technical quality and decisive goals, notably when playing for Flamengo, were decisive in him being named the best footballer of the year in 1981 by Revista Guerrin Esportivo. He would repeat this achievement in 1983, in an election promoted by World Soccer.

From a family of stars, where his brother Eduzinho also stood out – considered by João Saldanha as an ideal substitute for Pelé on the eve of the 1970 World Cup – Zico played for Udinese in Italy and Kashima Antlers in Japan before changing roles – becoming a coach and also working as a coordinator and technical director.

Still for the Brazilian National Team, he worked as a technical coordinator in the commission led by Zagallo at the 1998 World Cup in France. His relationship with Flamengo and the National Team is well-known, but it is also worth noting that Zico is idolized by millions of Japanese people, who consider him a major promoter of football popularization in their country, where he won numerous titles as a player and technical director.