One of a kind: the greatest world football champion of all time has died
Mario Zagallo, a famous former football player and coach of the Brazilian national team, has died at the age of 92. In his obituary, the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) called him "the greatest world champion of all time."
Zagallo was the only one to win the World Cup four times. He was also the first person on the planet to become a world champion both as a player and as a coach.
Playing as a left-wing midfielder, Zagallo won the 1958 and 1962 World Cups. The Brazilian also won tro Cups as a national team coach (1970) and as a Brazilian national team coordinator and assistant head coach (1994).
"The CBF announces seven days of mourning in honor of the memory of its eternal champion and his legacy," CBF President Ednaldo Rodrigues said.
In his career, Zagallo played for such clubs as America, Botafogo, Flamengo, and the Brazilian national team. In his career, he won the Rio São Paulo tournament twice and the Rio de Janeiro state championship with Botafogo.
After his career as a player, Zagallo continued to work in football, coaching the national teams of Brazil, Kuwait, the UAE and Saudi Arabia, as well as a number of Brazilian clubs. In 1970, at just 38 years old, he won the World Cup as a coach of the Brazilian national team, and in 1994, he successfully acted as a coordinator and assistant head coach.
In 1998, under his leadership, the Brazilian national team took second place at the World Cup. He was also able to win the Confederations Cup and the Copa America with the team. In 1968, as the coach of Botafogo, Zagallo led the team to victory in the Brazilian championship.
Zagallo decided not to continue playing football professionally in 2011 at the age of 79. In 2012, the four-time champion suffered the biggest blow of his life, the death of his wife Alcina, to whom he had been married for 57 years. They had five children.
Respect and affection for his longtime friends were characteristics of Zagallo's personality. In 2021, when he turned 90, he received a special message from Pele,
"We were once teammates. We were once opponents. I was once your player and you were once my coach. But above all, we have always been big brothers. You are a leader, a mentor, an idol and a friend with a huge heart that Brazilian football will never forget," the King of Football said at the time.