FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter has paid tribute to legendary Brazilian defender Orlando Pecanha, who passed away, aged 74, after a heart attack last Wednesday, in a letter to CBF President Ricardo Teixeira.
The Niteroi native helped A Seleção win the 1958 FIFA World Cup Sweden™, and is, alongside the likes of Domingos da Guia, Bellini, Luis Pereira, Edinho and Aldair, considered one of his country’s finest all-time centre-backs.
Blatter wrote: “It’s with a great sadness that I’ve learnt about the death of my friend Orlando Pecanha. On behalf of the football family and myself, I would like to my most sincere condolences to you and the CBF.
He was a world champion with the Seleção in 1958 and is considered one of the best defenders in the history of Brazilian football. He gave us many great footballing moments.
“He was a world champion with the Seleção in Sweden in 1958 and is considered one of the best defenders in the history of Brazilian football. He gave us many great footballing moments. I would be grateful if you could pass my deepest sympathy and support on to his family and friends during this difficult time.”
Orlando began his career at Vasco in 1955, swiftly forming a formidable defensive partnership with Bellini, whom he played alongside at Sweden 1958, which helped the club win the Campeonato Carioca in 1956 and again two years later. He joined Boca Juniors in 1960, seizing two national titles before a return to his homeland with Santos.
A robust defender who was very difficult to take on, Orlando formed part of an outstanding Peixe side that won the Taca Brasil – the most prestigious competition in the country at the time – alongside fellow internationals Gilmar, Carlos Alberto, Mauro, Pepe, Coutinho and Pele. He hung up his boots at the age of 35 in 1970.
Orlando was only on the losing side once in his 34 appearances for Brazil: a 3-1 defeat by a Eusebio-inspired Portugal at England 1966.