I returned home from church this afternoon to hear the news that Socrates, the Brazilian footballer, has died. When people think of Brazil Pele is the name most often mentioned but for me Socrates epitomised the glory of the South American game. A heavy smoker and drinker throughout his playing career, Socrates never the less stood out as one of the exceptional midfielders of his generation and was capped 60 times for his country. The languid grace with which Socrates stroked the ball around the pitch, married to great vision and physical strength made him an ideal captain for Brazil. Socrates captained Brazil at the 1982 World Cup finals and was the epitome of footballing cool at 6’ 4” and with his trade mark beard.
Following his career in football, Socrates practiced as a medical doctor; he qualified while playing. However, he was troubled by ill health later in life and this is largely attributed to what he acknowledged to be his dependency on alcohol going back to his playing days. A sad end for such a great footballing icon.
Here’s one of Socrates great goals, celebrated with a wonderful exuberance.
RIP Sócrates Brasileiro Sampaio de Souza Vieira de Oliveira
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