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|Full name||Thomaz Soares da Silva|
|Date of birth||14 September 1921|
|Place of birth||São Gonçalo, Brazil|
|Date of death||8 February 2002(aged 80)|
|Position(s)||Striker, Attacking midfielder (retired)|
|1961–1962||Audax Italiano La Florida||16||(3)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
Zizinho (14 September 1921 – 8 February 2002) was a former Brazilian football player. He has played for Brazil national team. He caused a furore in the 1940s and reached the final of the FIFA World Cup with Brazil in 1950. In the final, however, Uruguay proved too strong with 2-1. Zizinho's performance at the tournament did ensure that he was voted the best player of the World Cup afterwards. Yet he never received the recognition that, for example, Pelé or Zico did. He is widely regarded by many as one of the best football players of all time. He was lauded as a complete player, with an array of offensive skills such as his dribbling, passing, and shooting ability with both feet, as well as his accuracy from dead ball situations and extraordinary vision.
Pele called him the best player he had ever seen: "Zizinho was a complete player. He was strong in the build-up and, most importantly, he had no fear of the brutal defenders". In 1999, Zizinho finished in fourth place in the IFFHS - organized election of the Brazilian Footballer of the 20th Century.
Club career[change | change source]
From an early age, Zizinho's dream was to become a football player at America FC. However, this dream was shattered when Zizinho was told after a trial training that he had not been hired by his childhood sweetheart. The coaching staff was not convinced because he was of small build. Zizinho then took his chances at Flamengo, where he was allowed to play a test match against the main squad. Ten minutes before the end, he replaced the injured Leônidas da Silva and then scored two goals. Trainer Flávio Costa would have said afterwards: "Get your hair cut and come back tomorrow". At Flamengo, Zizinho went on to become one of the best players in the history of Brazilian football. Under the leadership of the star player, Flamengo seized the Campeonato Carioca in 1942, 1943 and 1944. After ten seasons, during which Zizinho had become Brazil's best player, he left Flamengo after being sold to Bangu without his knowledge. Bangu had left a small fortune for Zizinho. The story goes that the brand new purchase signed his new contract without reading it. He is said to have said to club president: if you are willing to pay that much for me, then you must appreciate my game." In the first game against his former employer, Zizinho got his sporting revenge by scoring two goals in the 6-0 win over Flamengo Zizinho also left his mark on the game in his seven years under contract with Bangu. At the age of 35, Zizinho moved to São Paulo, where he helped the club move to the Campeonato Paulista during his final season. With this he endeared himself to football fans from the two largest cities in Brazil. In 1962, Zizinho ended his career with Chilean Audax Italiano at the age of 40.
International career[change | change source]
He played his first international match on January 17, 1942 in a 2-1 loss against Argentina at the 1942 South American Championship. On February 3, 1946, he led the Brazilian team onto the field for the first time as captain, scoring 4 goals in a 5-1 win over Chile. Overall, he acted 18 times as captain. He also scored 2 goals in Brazil's highest international victory, the 10-1 win over Bolivia on April 10, 1949. After taking the first international prize with the Brazilian national team in 1949 in the form of the Copa America, Zizinho made his appearance at the 1950 FIFA World Cup. Brazil hosted the tournament in its own country and built the Maracanã, at the time the largest stadium in the world, especially for this purpose. The host country played a good tournament with Zizinho as the star. The Italian sports newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport described Zizinho as the footballing Leonardo da Vinci: "he created works of art with his feet on the immense field of the Maracanã". Sports journalist Hugo Meisl wrote after the match between Brazil and Spain: "We are not talking about simply a good footballer who you meet in various parts of the world. This is a genius. A man who has all the qualities that a footballer wishes to approach perfection." The divine Canaries reached the final, but the nearly 175,000 in attendance at the Maracanã saw Brazil lose 2-1 to Uruguay, which had been previously favorited. Although Zizinho was named the best player of the World Cup afterwards, the tournament was the biggest disappointment of his career and he was not blamed for the defeat. Years later, Zizinho indicated that he had never been able to handle the disappointment about the lost final. After the World Cup, Zizinho toyed with the idea of giving up football altogether. However, he came back to this. After three years of absence, he also returned to the Brazilian selection in 1953. During that period, however, he came into conflict with columnist Jose Lins do Rego, who criticized the Brazilian players after they lost the final of the Campeonato Sul-Americano. Zizinho parried the criticism, but it is said that his outspokenness cost him his participation in the 1954 World Cup as he was not invited by national team coach Zezé Moreira. This sparked a national debate in Brazil, but the exact reasons Zizinho was not called up have never been revealed. In 1958, when Zizinho was 37 years old, he was selected to participate four days before Brazil was to travel to Sweden for the 1958 World Cup. However, he declined and said afterwards: "I couldn't accept it. I wasn't the youngest anymore. It wouldn't have been right because there were already players in training. I just regret that I was never able to realize my wish to play with Pele". Zizinho had won in total 53 caps, scoring 30 goals.
Coaching career[change | change source]
In addition to the aforementioned stay at the Chilean Audax Italiano, where Zizinho served as player-coach, the Brazilian also coached America from São Paulo, Bangu, Vasco da Gama and the Brazil Olympic team, with which he won the 1967 Pan American Games. However, in general, his coaching career was not as successful as his playing one.
Death[change | change source]
Zizinho died at the age of 80 at his daughter's house in Niterói. He had been suffering from a heart condition for years.
International career statistics[change | change source]
|Brazil national team|
Honours[change | change source]
Club[change | change source]
International[change | change source]
- FIFA World Cup runner-up: 1950
- South American Championship: 1949
- South American Championship runner-up: 1945, 1946, 1953, 1957
- South American Championship third place: 1942
- Taça do Atlântico: 1956
- Roca Cup: 1945
- Copa Rio Branco: 1947, 1950
- Taça Oswaldo Cruz: 1950, 1955, 1956
- Copa Rio Branco Runner-up: 1946, 1948
Individual[change | change source]
- FIFA World Cup Golden Ball: 1950
- FIFA World Cup All-Star Team: 1950
- IFFHS Brazilian Player of the 20th Century (4th place)
- IFFHS South American Player of the 20th Century (10th place)
- IFFHS World Player of the 20th Century (47th place)
- Brazilian Football Museum Hall of Fame
Records[change | change source]
- South American Championship / Copa América all-time top goalscorer: 17 goals (shared with Norberto Méndez)
References[change | change source]
- "Thomaz Soares da Silva "Zizinho" - Goals in International Matches". www.rsssf.com.
- "World Cup 2014: Fifa announces Golden Ball shortlist". BBC Sport. 12 July 2014. Retrieved 23 September 2020.
- IFFHS' Century Elections Archived 7 October 2013 at the Wayback Machine
- FIFA.com (30 June 2011). "The Copa America in numbers". FIFA.com. Archived from the original on 2 July 2017. Retrieved 25 May 2017.