Former Brazil captain Socrates died today aged 57 from an intestinal infection, a spokesperson for the Albert Einstein Hospital announced. Socrates - who in 1982 captained what is widely regarded as the best Brazil side never to have won the FIFA World Cup™ - was taken to the hospital late Friday after suffering food poisoning.
The hospital said he had gone into septic shock and placed him on a ventilator and a dialysis machine but he was officially announced dead at 0630GMT. He had already been hospitalised twice in August and September this year with bleeding in his digestive tract, and recognised after these incidents that he had problems with alcohol.
A report in the newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo claimed that Socrates would be buried later on today in a private ceremony in the town of Ribeirao Preto, 300 kilometres outside Sao Paulo, where he began his playing career in 1974 for Botafogo. The Brazilian Football Federation (CBF) also announced that there would be a minute's silence before all today's matches in honour of 'one of the most brilliant players in the history of the Brazilian national side.'
Socrates also played in the 1986 FIFA World Cup but was not fully fit and is mainly remembered for missing a penalty in the quarter-final defeat by France. At club level he played for Brazilian giants Corinthians (1978-84) and had an unhappy sojourn in Italy with Fiorentina (1984/85).
While at Corinthians he was one of the founders of a movement known as Corinthian Democracy, which formed in the 1980s. Under its principles, all decisions made by football clubs, including the contracting of new players and training schedules, had to be approved by a vote of all members.