Mário “Lobo” Zagallo, one of the great legends of Brazilian football, has died at 92 | Soccer | Sports

Brazil says goodbye to the great symbol of its football team. Mario Jorge Wolf Zagallo, the only four-time world champion, died prematurely this Saturday at the age of 92, according to the family on his official Instagram account. The Brazilian made football history because he won four World Cups, more than anyone else. He conquered them with Canarinha, as player, coach and coordinator of the national team. The retired footballer, hospitalized since December 26 in Rio de Janeiro, died from multiple organ failure. Zagallo, nicknamed old wolf, played as a left winger. He was an idol for generations, an eminence in world football and one of the most important coaches and players in the history of Brazilian football.

Zagallo was born on August 9, 1931, in Atalaia, in the poor state of Alagoas. “It is with immense sadness that we announce the death of our eternal four-time champion,” said the notice, “devoted father, loving grandfather (…) victorious professional and a great human being (…) A patriot who leaves us a legacy of great conquests. » Throughout his successful professional career, he won four World Cups: two as a player (Sweden 1958 and Chile 1962), another as a coach (Mexico 1970) and the last as coordinator of la Canarinha (United States 1994).

Brazil is witnessing the gradual disappearance of the generation of footballers who brought it the most joy and triumph. Zagallo’s death comes just a year after the world said goodbye to O Rei Pelé, Edson Arantes do Nascimento, who died at the age of 82 on December 29, 2022 from colon cancer. Both played together on teams that won titles in Sweden and Chile, and Zagallo coached Pelé at the World Cup in Mexico. Santos tweeted: “Our King Pele is waiting for you in the kingdom of heaven. Thanks for everything, Old Wolf.

Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, a big football fan, also praised Zagallo in a farewell tweet: “Courageous, dedicated, passionate and superstitious, Zagallo was an example of a Brazilian who never gives up. It is this lesson and this spirit of affection, love, dedication and improvement that he leaves to our country and to world football. The now deceased player believed the number 13 brought him luck and revered Saint Anthony.

The Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) has declared seven days of mourning. The CBF headquarters in Rio will host the wake this Sunday, which will be open to the public. And he will be buried in the afternoon in a cemetery in Rio. The retired footballer’s health has deteriorated in recent months due to a urinary and respiratory infection. In August, he was hospitalized for several weeks.

Only Zagallo has reached five World Cup finals in seven appearances. They only lost to the hosts in the final of the 1998 World Cup in France, a year in which he coached a team that included the likes of Ronaldo, Bebeto, Rivaldo, Dunga, Roberto Carlos , Cafú and Taffarel, among others.

Zagallo, with Ronaldo at the 1998 World Cup.

No one before him had won the World Cup first as a player and then as a coach. This feat was then achieved by the German Franz Beckenbauer, first champion of Germany 1974 and already coach in Italy 1990, and recently by the Frenchman Didier Deschamps, captain of the victorious France 1998 team and winner as coach of Russia 2018 ., the German and the French were overtaken as players by the Brazilian, double world champion.

But Zagallo’s record is not limited to these titles and to his record is added that of the United States 1994, when he was technical coordinator of the team led by Carlos Alberto Parreira, who, curiously, was one of his fitness coaches at Mexico 1970. The pair were also in charge of the national team at Germany 2006. Old Wolf was also vice-coach at France 1998 and captained the Canarinha at Germany 1974.

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