Mario Zagallo: Brazilian football legend dies aged 92 | World News

Mario Zagallo: Brazilian football legend dies aged 92 | World News

Mario Zagallo: Brazilian football legend dies aged 92 | World News

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Brazilian football legend Mario Zagallo has died aged 92.

He won four World Cups as either a player or coach – including the 1970 side that is regarded by many to be the best ever.

The left-winger starred on the team that won Brazil’s first World Cup in 1958, and was in the squad that retained the title four years later.

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Pele embraces Mario Zagallo in 1970. Pic: AP

Zagallo went on to coach all-time greats including Pele, Jairzinho, Rivellino and Tostao – bringing them to victory once again in 1970.

He was also assistant coach when Brazil won their fourth title in 1994, and was the first person in the sport to win a World Cup as both a player and a manager.

In a statement on Instagram, his family described him as an “eternal world champion”.

They added: “A devoted father, loving grandfather, caring father-in-law, faithful friend, victorious professional and a great human being. Giant idol. A patriot who leaves us a legacy of great achievements.

“We thank God for the time we were able to spend with you and we ask the Father that we find comfort in the good memories and the great example you leave us.”

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Zagallo enjoyed success as a player and coach

Born in 1931, Zagallo’s first dream was to become a pilot, but he had to abandon this because of poor eyesight.

He went on to study accountancy and became an accidental footballer after playing with a local team in his spare time.

In an interview, he once said: “My father didn’t want me to be a football player, he wouldn’t let me.

“Back then it wasn’t a profession that was respected, society didn’t look kindly on it … That’s why I say football came into my life by accident.”

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A statue in Zagallo’s honour was unveiled in 2022

Zagallo was celebrated for his quirky personality, and wasn’t afraid of challenging those who criticised his management style.

One famous outburst came after Brazil won the Copa America in Bolivia back in 1997, despite not being the favourite team to lift the trophy.

After the final whistle went, he screamed into the television cameras “You’re going to have to put up with me!” – a phrase that’s still frequently repeated in Brazil.

Highly superstitious, he believed the number 13 brought him luck. Zagallo got married on the 13th of the month, and once even joked he would retire from the game at 13:00 on 13 July 2013.

Last August, Zagallo had spent two weeks in a Rio de Janeiro hospital with a urinary infection – and after he was discharged, a video showed him returning to his house in a wheelchair.

In a nod to his famous catchphrase, he quipped: “You’re going to have to keep putting up with me!”

Zagallo married Alcina de Castro and remained with her until her death in 2012. They had four children together.

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Mario Zagallo: Brazilian football legend dies aged 92 | World News

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