Thank You, Zagallo

Thank You, Zagallo

By Sara Cordeiro.

The legend Mário Jorge Lobo Zagallo died last Friday, January 5, in Rio de Janeiro, aged 92.

With his life completely intertwined in the history of the Brazilian national football team, Zagallo was the last living player on the team that brought Brazil its first world title in 1958.

As a player, he also won the 1962 World Cup, was coach of the three-time champion team in 1970, and technical assistant in the fourth championship in 1994.

Within the four lines, no one was more victorious than o Velho Lobo—one of the few to be World champion as a player and coach.

He has a long history of superstition of luck with the number 13, due to his wife’s devotion to Saint Anthony, celebrated on June 13th.

Zagallo started playing football at América from Rio de Janeiro. Two years later he moved to Flamengo where he became a professional in 1951, playing for three seasons and then signing with rivals Botafogo.

Due to his achievements in the Rio squads, he joined the Brazilian team in 1958, innovating his 4-3-3 style of play, given his versatility, becoming world champion that year and two-time champion in 1962.

He hung up his boots in 1966 and that same year coached the Botafogo youth team. He was the coach of the 1970 three-time champion team, considered by many to be one of the best in history.

Zagallo reinvented the full-backs’ playing style by altering their block movement. As Parreira’s technical assistant, he was a four-time champion in 1994 and was in charge of the runner-up squad in 1998.

There is no way to talk about Brazilian football without talking about Mário Jorge Lobo Zagallo, as the story of one does not exist without the other.

The sport suffered a loss on a physical level, but history will forever remember the greatest champion in history.