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Zito (footballer, born 1932)

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Zito in 2008
Personal information
Full name José Ely de Miranda
Date of birth 8 August 1932
Place of birth Roseira, São Paulo, Brazil
Date of death 14 June 2015 (aged 82)
Place of death Santos, São Paulo, Brazil
Height 1.79 m (5 ft 10+12 in)
Position(s) Midfielder
Youth career
1948–1950 Roseira
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1950–1952 Taubaté 117 (41)
1952–1967 Santos 727 (57)
Total 844 (98)
National team
1955–1966 Brazil 52 (3)
Men's Football
Representing  Brazil
FIFA World Cup
Winner 1958 Sweden
Winner 1962 Chile
South American Championship
Runner-up 1957 Peru
Runner-up 1959 Argentina
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Zito (18 August 1932 – 14 June 2015) was a former Brazilian football player. He has played for Brazil national team. He was a highly intelligent player, known for his leadership, tackling, passing, dribbling, his ability to win back possesion and his distribution. A strong, commanding and influential midfielder, known for his leadership, Zito usually played in a supporting role as a wing-half or half-back, serving as a defensive foil to his more offensive minded teammates. Considered as one of the greatest midfielders in the world in his prime, he was regarded to be one of the biggest idols of Santos FC, the club he represented for years. His club career was spent mostly in the service of Santos, captaining a side including Pelé to domestic and international successes. He was also part of the Brazilian squads which won the World Cup in 1958 and 1962. After his retirement as a player, Zito remained at Santos as a director and youth coordinator, developing several young future international players.[1]

Early life

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Born in Roseira, São Paulo, Zito initially intended to become a schoolteacher, and attended technical schools in his hometown, before pursuing a career as a footballer.[2]

Club career

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Zito joined Santos in 1952, after finishing his formation at hometown amateur club Roseira FC, and spending two years at Taubaté.[3] He made his debut for Peixe on 29 June 1952 in a 3–1 friendly win against Madureira.[4]

Zito appeared regularly for Santos in the following 15 years, playing 727 games and scoring 57 goals. He was the captain of the Os Santásticos team of the late 1950s and 1960s, playing alongside Pelé, Pepe and other Brazilian stars.[5]

Zito was nicknamed Gerente (manager in Portuguese) by the media during his playing days, due to helping the manager Lula while outfields.[6] Despite missing the two last games of 1963 Intercontinental Cup due to an injury, he acted as Lula's assistant during both matches as his team won the second title in a row.[6]

Zito played his last match on 7 November 1967, a 5–0 win against a mix between Ferroviário and Fortaleza at the Estádio Presidente Vargas.[4]

International career

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Zito (standing, third from left) lining up for the 1958 FIFA World Cup Final
Zito (standing, second from left) lining up for a 1962 FIFA World Cup match.

At international level, he earned 52 caps and scored 3 goals for Brazil. Zito made his for the national team in 1955. He was selected to play for Copa América in 1956, Brazil had an unsuccessful tournament and finished fourth. In 1957 he was selected again for the Copa América where Brazil finished as runners-up where he showed his great style of play, he was renowned as a playmaker and a incredible passer and a good dribbler. He partnered Didi in midfield duo, and was part of the squad which won the 1958 FIFA World Cup Final against hosts Sweden; after starting the tournament as a reserve, he finished it as an undisputed starter. In 1959 edition of Copa América Zito was called up, Brazil ended up as runners-up again and they were undefeated.[7] In the 1962 edition in Chile, he was named in the Team of the Tournament.[5] In the 1962 FIFA World Cup Final, Zito headed Brazil into the lead as they came from behind to win 3–1 against Czechoslovakia with Pelé absent through injury. Zito was called up to play during 1966 FIFA World Cup but he was unable to play and Brazil were eliminated after a 2-0 victory against Bulgaria and 3-1 defeat against Hungary and Portugal, Zito never played for Brazil again after the elimination.[8]

Life after football

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After retiring Zito was a vice-president at Santos between 1978 and 1982. After one year away from the club, he was named director of football by president Milton Teixeira, but left the post in 1987. In 2000, he was named a youth coordinate, helping the club to promote youngsters Robinho and Diego to the first team.[9]

Zito was credited with bringing 11-year-old Neymar to the club in 2003.[5] With Gabriel, he was also the scout who saw the player and brought him to the club's youth system.[9]

Zito suffered from Alzheimer's disease and had memory lapses.[10] Following a stroke the year before, Zito died on 14 June 2015 aged 82 in Santos, São Paulo, leaving Pelé, Pepe and Zagallo as the last three living Brazilian veterans of the 1958 World Cup final.[5][11]

In his honour, Santos decided to use the "Z" letter in the captain's armband (instead of the regular "C" used by most teams) from 2015 onwards.[12]

Zito in 1962



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  1. IANS (15 June 2015). "Brazil football legend Zito dies aged 82".
  2. Brian Glanville (15 June 2015). "Zito obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 February 2017.
  3. "De Roseira para o mundo: veja fotos de Zito antes e depois dos gramados" [From Roseira to the world: see photos of Zito before and after the field] (in Portuguese). A Tribuna. 15 June 2015. Archived from the original on 30 December 2016. Retrieved 15 June 2015.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "A história do maior capitão do Santos FC" [The history of the greatest captain of Santos FC] (in Portuguese). Santos' official website. 15 June 2015. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 15 June 2015.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 "Zito: Two-time Brazilian World Cup-winning midfielder dies at 82". BBC Sport. 15 June 2015. Retrieved 15 June 2015.
  6. 6.0 6.1 "'Gerente', Zito deu broncas em Pelé e ria com apelido de 'chulé'" ['Manager', Zito told off Pelé and laughed with nickname of 'cheesy feet'] (in Portuguese). NE10. 15 June 2015. Retrieved 15 June 2015.
  7. "Após 50 anos, Zito derruba lenda sobre jogadores e Feola" [After 50 years, Zito brings down myth about players and Feola]. Folha de S. Paulo (in Portuguese). 29 June 2008. Retrieved 15 June 2015.
  8. "Brazil flying high with 'Little Bird' Garrincha". FIFA. Archived from the original on 6 April 2015. Retrieved 15 June 2015.
  9. 9.0 9.1 "Além de história e títulos, Zito moldou quatro gerações de ídolos do Santos" [Aside from history and title, Zito made four generations of idols of Santos] (in Portuguese). Terra. 15 June 2015. Retrieved 15 June 2015.
  10. "Morre Zito, um dos maiores da história do futebol brasileiro" [Dies Zito, one of the greatests of Brazilian football] (in Portuguese). ESPN Brasil. 14 June 2015. Retrieved 15 June 2015.
  11. 11.0 11.1 "Zito, leader of Brazil's World Cup-winning teams in 1958 and 1962, dies at 82". The Washington Post. 15 June 2015. Retrieved 21 February 2017.
  12. "Após homenagem a Zito em clássico, Santos oficializa "Z" na faixa de capitão" [After honour to Zito in derby, Santos turn official the "Z" in the captain's armband] (in Brazilian Portuguese). GloboEsporte.com. 22 June 2015.
  13. "ERIC BATTY’S WORLD XI – THE SIXTIES" Retrieved on 26 November 2015