Brazil loses its first tricampeão

Brazil's Mexico 1970-winning left-back Everaldo
© Getty Images

A gold star decorates the striking sea-blue, black and white flag of Gremio. Many assume it honours the club’s solitary Intercontinental Cup conquest, a Renato Gaucho-inspired 2-1 victory over Hamburg in Tokyo in 1983. And though it does owe to a world title, they are wrong.

Step forward Everaldo. The Gremio left-back helped Brazil win Group 3 at the 1970 FIFA World Cup™, nullifying the dangerous Alan Ball in a 1-0 win over defending champions England. He then played in the 3-1 win over Uruguay in the semi-finals and 4-1 reverse of Italy in the Final, thus becoming the first Gremio player to get his hands on sport’s most coveted trophy.

O Tricolor Gaúcho swiftly added a gold star to its flag in honour of a man who was fundamental in their capture of three consecutive state titles in the mid-late 1960s. And upon his return from Mexico, Everaldo was paraded through the streets of Porto Alegre, suited stylishly on top of a flashy truck, applauded by masses of Gremistas and even fans arch-rivals Internacional.

Another gift Everaldo received for winning the World Cup was a fetching Dodge Dart. Four years later, 40 years ago to this Monday, he was driving it back to Porto Alegre from Cachoeira do Sul when he was killed in an accident.

Gremio are known as O Imortal (The Immortal). That gold star ensures the legend of Everaldo Marques da Silva will live on infinitely.

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