“If there is a God of football, then there is no question he likes to make fun of people. And Garrincha was one of his emissaries, charged with the task of ridiculing everyone and everything at football grounds. Yet, he is also a cruel God, and he took Garrincha to show his divine power. He was just a poor, little mortal who helped an entire country to forget about their sorrows. The worst thing is that when those sorrows inevitably come back there won’t be another Garrincha around. We need a new one to fuel our dreams.”
It was on 20 January 1983, in the city of Pau Grande in Rio de Janeiro state – the very place he was born 49 years earlier – that Manoel Francisco do Santos, better known to the football world as Garrincha, passed away.
The aforementioned quote, taken from an article published in the newspaper Jornal do Brasil the day after his death, belongs to the Brazilian poet Carlos Drummond de Andrade. It sums up exactly what Garrincha meant to Brazilian fans. Not for nothing was he known as A Alegria do Povo, the Joy of the People.
Thirty years on from his untimely death, FIFA.com pays homage to a player whom, to most expert observers, was not so much the archetypal outside right as the inventor of the position.
There were two obvious high points in his career: the FIFA World Cup™ titles he won with Brazil at Sweden 1958 and Chile 1962, where he also earned a share of the adidas Golden Boot and was regarded as one of the players of the tournament.
Yet he was also a larger-than-life character. The subject of not one but two films, he also inspired countless tributes, such as the memorable send-off he received at his funeral at the Estadio Maracana.
In this latest tribute to the inimitable Garrincha, we invite you today to remember the reasons why he made such an impact on so many people by reading his Classic Players profile once more and watching a video on his career.