BBC BLOGS - Tim Vickery
« Previous | Main | Next »

Socrates so much more than a footballer

Post categories:

Tim Vickery | 19:18 UK time, Sunday, 4 December 2011

Just over five years ago, when Brazil’s 1982 World Cup coach Tele Santana died, team captain Socrates recalled the scene in the dressing room after their elimination by Paolo Rossi’s Italy at the second group stage.

As the media were searching for explanations, there were tears and tantrums, dejection and disappointment. Amid the chaos, Santana stood peacefully, proud of his team and the glorious football they had played – still remembered with extraordinary affection all over the world. They had given it their best shot.

True, the campaign could have gone on for longer but what memories they left behind. That same philosophy could serve as the epitaph of the captain.

In order to see this content you need to have both Javascript enabled and Flash installed. Visit BBC Webwise for full instructions. If you're reading via RSS, you'll need to visit the blog to access this content.


Losing Socrates at the age of 57 seems ludicrously premature. His death hits hard because this is much more than the passing away of a great player. Socrates was an extraordinary talent.

His synthesis of intelligence and technical brilliance are nowhere better illustrated than in his mastery of the backheel – a resource which gave him an advantage over more physically gifted opponents.

But he was by no means the greatest. Zico, Falcao and Cerezo, his team-mates in Brazil’s wonderful 1982 midfield, all have claims to be considered better players – an indication of just how exceptional that side really was.

Socrates may have been best known internationally for his World Cup exploits, especially those of 1982 but, at home, his name is intrinsically linked with his early 1980s spell with Corinthians of Sao Paulo. And his importance went well beyond the football field.

At the time Brazil was ruled by a military dictatorship. The regime had a cynical slogan aimed at silencing dissent: “Brazil – love it or leave it”.

Socrates had an alternative – change it. He was the leading light in a movement at the club which became known as “Corinthians Democracy”. Players, coaching staff and club employees would vote on all kinds of issues of interest to the collective – from which players to sign, to whether the team bus should stop to allow people to get off and relieve themselves.

This was successful in football terms, transforming a struggling team into a cohesive, victorious unit. Corinthians won the Sao Paulo State Championship in 1982 and 83, a time when the title still meant something.

More than that though, the movement served an educational purpose for millions – imparting the value and virtues of democracy at a time when they were seen as dangerously subversive.

It was an embryo of a future, better Brazil. This is why Brazil’s president Dilma Rousseff, herself a victim of the military government, referred to Socrates as “a champion of citizenship” on Sunday.
He was a voice taken from us when he still had so many things to think and to say.

He was, for example, concerned about Brazil’s preparations to stage the 2014 World Cup.

Just over a month ago, he said: “[It has been] very badly organised. There is an inversion of values. The way it’s being done, it would be better for Brazil not to have the World Cup. It is a private product that is using public resources.”

One can agree or disagree. But his was a contribution to the debate that needed to be heard. Certainly it is to be hoped that Ronaldo took note.

The former striker, now 35, last week joined the board of the 2014 Local Organising Committee, where he clearly runs the risk of being used as a shield by the bungling power structure of the Brazilian game.

The signs are not promising. In his debut press conference Ronaldo let slip that “you don’t make a World Cup with hospitals” - a comment guaranteed to irritate a trained doctor such as Socrates.

In 2003, Fifa announced South America would host the 2014 World Cup as part of their policy to rotate the tournament around continents. A year later, the South American Football Confederation voted to hand the tournament to Brazil.

But the absence of a competitive bidding stage removed discipline from the process.  and, as a result of all the delays, an emergency has been artificially created.

The only solution is to throw money at the problems which have been allowed to accumulate.

The power structure will attempt to silence its critics by playing the nationalist card. Anyone not happy with the 2014 World Cup will be guilty of a lack of patriotism.

But there is no way they would have been able to slip that one past Socrates – whose very name included the word in Portuguese for “Brazilian”.

A few hours after Socrates Brasileiro Sampaio de Souza Vieira de Oliveira died, Corinthians became champions of Brazil, winning the 2011 championship by a two-point margin from Vasco da Gama.

Did it happen as a homage to Socrates? Maybe. But Sunday’s title-clincher was a 0-0 draw with local rivals Palmeiras, an ugly game in which four were sent off. Socrates would surely have wanted something more aesthetically pleasing.

His 57 years with us paid witness to the view that football and life are not just about what you do – the way you do it is at least as important.

Socrates did it in a way that can make football fans proud that he was one of us.

Comments on the piece in the space provided. Questions on South American football to vickerycolumn@hotmail.com, and I’ll pick out a couple for next week.

From last week’s postbag:

Q) I was just wondering how Lucas Moura's development was going and whether he could be as good as Neymar? I was watching Lucas a lot at the Copa America and he was only a substitute then is he becoming a starter for Brazil now?
Will Lloyd

A) He is a very promising talent who has come through reasonably well in his second season with Sao Paulo. He’s quick and direct, retains his speed over distance and scores goals – but I think he was promoted too quickly this year.

I disagreed with his selection for the Copa America and I think time proved me right. He should have gone to the World Youth Cup where, as the leader of Brazil’s attack, he would have been forced to develop the collective side of his game. At club level, I think there were times when Sao Paulo gave him too much responsibility – especially when, before the recovery of Luis Fabiano, they played him at centre-forward. It’s not his position.

For Brazil he scored a cracker against a weak Argentina side in September but did not play well in October’s friendlies against Costa Rica and Mexico.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    RIP. Farewell Socrates. It's too early to say good-bye. Thanks for all the brilliant and skillful midfield artistry. Wishing strength and courage to his family members and loved ones.

    Dr. Cajetan Coelho

  • Comment number 2.

    Not for the first time, I wish I were older so that I could have seen these truly remarkable proponents of the beautiful game at a time when a footballer could be so much more than a commercial figure. All the memories I have of Socrates come from reading about that Brazil team when I was a kid, and that hardly seems to do him justice. A tragic loss for the game and the world.

  • Comment number 3.

    My deepest sympathies to the Brazilian football world, they have truly lost a remarkable individual.

  • Comment number 4.

    What a player he was! Shame his antics off the field did not help his health, but eh, leave hard play hard is oneself moto. Being french, Socrates was always very popular in the country, beating Brazil in the 1986 WC was definitely was of the best moments of french football. Having his younger brother Rai playing for PSG and being so good definitely had the french being very found of the Souza Viera de oliveira family. Long life the genius in our memory. After Speedo, sad week for football!

  • Comment number 5.

    Without doubt the captain of the greatest football team I have ever seen play football. I still to this day curse that Italian game.....Cerezo what were you doing?!

    Socrates was a giant of the game, and played it, as he lived his life, with an almost Bohemian spirit. He transcended the game in so many ways and will be unbearably missed

    My sincerest condolences to his family and friends

    Martin

  • Comment number 6.

    That back heel pass was a trademark, I've never seen it done as consistently as he did it. A cultured footballer are the only words I can use for Socrates. Part of a great team of entertainers who gave us so much joy. They did not need to win a world cup because we all knew, what we were watching was extra special.

    RIP Socrates

  • Comment number 7.

    RIP Socrates!! The unforgettable captain of an unforgettable 1982 Brazilian WC squad!!

  • Comment number 8.

    A remarkable man both on and off the pitch and one of the legends of the game.

  • Comment number 9.

    RIP Socrates...you skippered and were the pivot of the best football team I've ever seen in my lifetime, a team that played the game in the way it really should be played and I've not seen any side come close to offering the sheer exhilarating innovation of Zico, Eder, Falcao et al and of course Socrates. The defeat against Italy in 1982 will serve as one of the most disappointing moments in World Cup history...aptly I feel the manner of how Brazil rose and fell in Spain reflects Socrates' whole ethos and approach to life. A visionary in life and on the pitch.

  • Comment number 10.

    Lovely player to watch.

    Great team in '82 but as Italy showed that day, seriously defensively flawed. Very disappointing to see this team eliminated at the time but you have the say that the Italians deserved it on the day. Scotland competed very well in the first half against Brazil in the Group of Death. Our biggest mistake was scoring first and they came out in the second half and blew us away. Magnificent team.

    RIP Socrates.

  • Comment number 11.

    Best Brazil side not to have won a world cup, and better than some that have.

  • Comment number 12.

    Very sad news about Socrates.

    Quite a paragraph Tim..well done;
    "His synthesis of intelligence and technical brilliance are nowhere better illustrated than in his mastery of the backheel – a resource which gave him an advantage over more physically gifted opponents."

  • Comment number 13.

    @12

    Yes agree, he is quite the wordsmith

    However, nice to see a tribute to such a great player, and a good man by the sound of things.

    Probably one of few politically aware footballers

  • Comment number 14.

    they don't make 'em like that any more!!!! Socrates was a footballer but also someone who cared (and did things - not just mindlessly tweeted) about politics, equal rights etc. I love that era, full of footballers who were hugely interesting people. As I say, they don't make 'em like that any more!

  • Comment number 15.

    What a remarkable footballer, the like of which we will probably never see again. It seems like he wanted to enjoy life as best he could and leave a legacy after he was gone - and he's certainly managed that.

    RIP Socrates.

  • Comment number 16.

    One of the most cultured midfielders I ever had the pleasure to watch. His book on football is a good read as well for anybody who enjoys football philosophy. I especially enjoyed him advocating Nine a side football or removing the offside rule because modern footballers are so much fitter nowadays....irony.

  • Comment number 17.

    Thanks, Tim. Socrates was one of my all time heroes, not just as a footballer but as a man, as a human being.He was one (ex) player that I really would have loved to have met personally just to thank him for all he has done, not just for the game we all love, but for Brazil and humanity.A few months ago I was in Ribeirao Preto and, like a child, was hoping against hope that somehow I would be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the great man. No such luck. RIP Socrates and thanks. The World is a poorer place without you. A cliche, I know, but true all the same.

  • Comment number 18.

    Don't smoke, and don't care for it, even if my wife can't do without her fags, but difficult to remember better sights in football than Socrates appearing to dictate play on the football field with a burning ciggy between thumb and index finger. Sounds like he lived life how he played football, and paid the price through my vice.

    One of the Greats in my lifetime, and never to be forgotten.

  • Comment number 19.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 20.

    Another sad loss to the football world, when I read the news of Socrates passing yesterday, I made my 10 year old son watch youtube clips of the '82 Brazil side of how football should be played and by someone who was probably the best midfielder to ever play the game!

    A genius both on and off the field! Surely now forming a formidable midfield in the afterlife with Gary Speed!

    RIP Socrates

  • Comment number 21.

    Even as an ardent fan of Argentina that side of 82 and 86 were to be much admired.

    There was great artistry on display in which the football becomes a thing of beauty to behold and which sadly seems less and less evident with the passing of time.

    He was wonderfully languid on the ball with an exceptional footballing intelligence and the technique to match.

    Like Senna his exploits outside of the sporting arena also made him a greater man and unlike many of his contemporaries and sucessors displayed his intellectual acumen as well an extremely rare combination now.

    His performances on the field will live on indelibly in those that watched him play and will be his lasting legacy.

    RIP Doutor.

  • Comment number 22.

    hello tim, I never commented on your blog because I do not speak English. I'm using google translator, I mean that the loss of Socrates was a terrible blow for all Brazilians and especially corinthianos like me, the class of socrates now I only see the xavi and there are many such midfield in soccer, "I hate when google Taduz football for soccer ", but speaking of young Brazilian players, I always see you saying that we are committed very early on as the boys lucas you quoted above, however the British also do this to Walcott today, not stated and it is only because he plays so highly praised in the arsenal, and has the same style to look like lucas physically, Wilshere and causes great expectations of fans and the press, until the full-back Kieran Gibbs is considered a replacement for Ashley Cole, what you I say this?

  • Comment number 23.

    RIP Socrates! A man who as well as achieving all he had in the game and in politics and in medicine (!) also gave his support to an organisation called 'Socatots' teaching young children about football and life! My 2 year old will have gone to his Socatots class this morning and will have (as usual!) loved it! Great that a great player was willing to put his name behind such a great organisation!

    I was 7 during Spain '82 so my informative world cup years were dominated by the genius that was the Brazilian team! No other team has come close (sorry barca fans, not even them!)!

  • Comment number 24.

    hello tim, I never commented on your blog because I do not speak English. I'm using google translator, I mean that the loss of Socrates was a terrible blow for all Brazilians and especially corinthianos like me, the class of socrates now I only see the xavi and there are many such midfield in soccer, "I hate when google Taduz football for soccer ", but speaking of young Brazilian players, I always see you saying that we are committed very early on as the boys lucas you quoted above, however the British also do this to Walcott today, not stated and it is only because he plays so highly praised in the arsenal, and has the same style to look like lucas physically, Wilshere and causes great expectations of fans and the press, until the full-back Kieran Gibbs is considered a replacement for Ashley Cole, what you says that?

  • Comment number 25.

    For those who regret having not seen Socrates play - blend the simple grace of Iniesta with the unique elegance of Kaka. More than anyone else, Socrates symbolised the sheer romance of that Brazil class of 1982.
    Irks me when Brazil class of 1970 is generally acclaimed as the all-time best. In terms of art and personnel, no team before or since comes close to the Brazil class of 1982. Is it coincidence the hosts of that World Cup have today picked up the mantle? Adieu Socrates!!

  • Comment number 26.

    I was 11 when Scotland took the lead against Socrates Brasil before surrendering to a 4-1 defeat at Espana 82. The Brasil team are by far the greatest team I have ever seen. The great Socrates strike against USSR was superb and the manner in which he strolled around Spain was how football should be played. My favourite was Zico but looking back now Socrates was up there with him. I was not aware of the man and how he stood up against the dictatorship, just reveling in his ability as a player. RIP

  • Comment number 27.

    Tim, you've perfectly illustrated way the man was so special. He didn't sign a pro-contact until he finished his medical studies, smoked a packet of cigs a day and enjoyed a drink. I think many a Sunday league footballer has modelled themself on this.
    Then you have that amazing beard, which was probably the greatest beard of the entire world cup! I haven't even mentioned the good work he did as a political activist (of sorts) and as doctor. The man was a legend in every meaning of the word.

  • Comment number 28.

    Another Top Man lost to the game. I was 11 when that team played in Spain, couldn't believe that Rossi had them sent home. Eder was my favourite player that I remember from that team but the movement and grace of the Dr was special.

    R.I.P

  • Comment number 29.

    After reading what seemed to be a hastily written obituary tribute to Socrates on this site yesterday, I was left wanting so much more. There was no analysis and no insight. How glad I was to see your blog today, Tim. Great post and fitting of a great man.

  • Comment number 30.

    14. At 12:40 5th Dec 2011, yajustdonsavethose wrote:
    they don't make 'em like that any more!!!! Socrates was a footballer but also someone who cared (and did things - not just mindlessly tweeted) about politics, equal rights etc. I love that era, full of footballers who were hugely interesting people. As I say, they don't make 'em like that any more!
    --------------------------

    Actually there are hundreds, probably thousands of footballers today who contribute every bit as much to various causes. It's just that the press and the holier than thou section of supporters prefer to ignore it and pretend footballers are all self-centred idiots.

    Try looking up the charitable works and contributions of Andrey Arshavin and Craig Bellamy for two examples.

  • Comment number 31.

    Great man great player. Much to be admired about Socrates. Elegant, majestic, intelligent, brilliant. The world of football and the world in general will miss him.

    One of the greatest players ever and only started professionally at 25. Imagine he started the normal age of 17-18. An extra 7-8 years career and he probably be known as the greatest (maybe).

    RIP Doctor Socrates.

  • Comment number 32.

    Socrates was not only a great footballer but also a wonderful human being. I always loved watching Brazil & 1982 was simply the best to see ever. (look at 2 goals 2:55)

    Youtubehttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jnoz4NuYMU8&NR=1&feature=endscreen

    SAUDADE

  • Comment number 33.

    Great blog, for a top footballer. I poignantly remember when I was a lad in short trousers, and my father and me used to watch the world cup. Back in those days the world cup meant everything! and it was the only real football my dad would be genuinely excited about; as the whole family used to watch together - uncles, Grand dad's, even aunties. Anyway Brazil were always the greatest team to watch and to me back then, they played like gods, with Socrates taking center stage. RIP

  • Comment number 34.

    Great shame, he was a fantastic player. The 82 Brazil side was terrific, just a shame that Careca got injured before the tournament.

  • Comment number 35.

    After watching Brazil vs Argentina 1982 live on TV in the wee hours of the morning (in Malaysia) with my dad , I became truly hooked on football.

  • Comment number 36.

    To this day I cannot recall being so moved by a sporting event as I was by the great Brazil's elimination from the 1982 World Cup by Italy. The sense of incredulity lived with me for a long while. That Brazil team is the best football team I have seen and Socrates held its banner.

  • Comment number 37.

    Top player and top bloke as well by the sound of it. I was lucky enough to be at Wembley in 1981 as a 10 year old. It was my first trip to Wembley and I absolutely adored the way the Brasilians played football at that time. Zico scored the winner but I remember a lanky, dark haired bloke in the center of the park who stood out like a soor thumb and was easily the best player on the park that night. Watching the Italy game in 1982 I was absolutely gutted that they got beat. By far the best international side I've ever seen and I'd like to say thanks for the memories and RIP.

  • Comment number 38.

    This is a very sad time for football. In the space of a week we've lost two greats of the game - Gary Speed and Socrates. Both remembered not only on the field but for the people they were off it. All I can say is RIP Socrates, he left a great legacy and thoughts must go to his family and friends

  • Comment number 39.

    "stands up"

    i am socrates.........

  • Comment number 40.

    There were midfielders and there was Socrates.

    Descansa em Paz.

  • Comment number 41.

    That '82 Italy match ..... wow ....... John Motson summed it up just about right after Socrates scored. He is truely a legend, for me no cpatain has rallyed his troops better than he did, he lead from the front.

    For me, the 82 WC was probably the best WC for me ..... WG Vs. Fr ...... Schumacher .... !!

    BTW, that Brazialin team was better than some of the other Brazilian teams that actually won a WC.

    RIP

  • Comment number 42.

    Socretes turned professional when he was 24 and still went on to captain the greatest footballing team on the planet. He smoked heavily and was an athlete at the highest level. He was from a well-to-do middle class background and yet was a left wing intellectual. He played football and was a medical doctor (later to achieve a PhD). This man was so much more than football. I will remember him most for his activism though. He is the last of the great ones - those who knew that they had been given a gift, and knew how to share their gift to make it a better place for all of us.
    Socretes did not need to play football, and I believe if he was playing today and earning 200K a week he would have given it all away. But he did bring something new to football. He was skillful but more than that he was intelligent, and his football reflected this. Although he spent all his life speaking for the working class, his example is that football should be more diverse and inclusive. It should reflect society as it is. Football should be as much about your brain as it is about your athleticism and physical build. Socretes took footballing intelligence to a whole new level.
    Have a great time in the better place Socretes. We'll all miss you.

  • Comment number 43.

    Saudades Socrates ... you are missed already

  • Comment number 44.

    rest in peace doctor, i will miss you :(
    thx for all the memories

  • Comment number 45.

    "His 57 years with us paid witness to the view that football and life are not just about what you do – the way you do it is at least as important"

    so true. socrates recently commented how hideous the current brasil team is to watch sadly. hope that will change. at another time, socrates also commented "its not what you do, but the manner in which you do it" brasil selecao needs to take note. it is still the beautiful game, meant for people's enjoyment. not a business.

  • Comment number 46.

    rest in peace doctor. i will miss you :(
    thx for all the memories, particularly copa do mundo '82

  • Comment number 47.

    That Brazil team of 1982 and also the team of 1986 was incredibly interesting and inspiring to watch. I was a kid and these were among my first memories of watching soccer at the highest level. The 82' class were all pure playmakers and artists with the ball; this seems to have an era when the footballers were not yet all fitness-obsessed types who needed to hit the gym a few times a week...their fitness, stamina and strength came largely from playing the game, as much as possible. That in itself is a refreshing thought. As a player, I appreciate their sense of play. Hasten to add that their game did have certain weaknesses, compared to the top European sides but it was more fun to watch, more fluid, still a game, not machine-like perfection. Socrates embodied the organic, creative spirit of Brazilian football at that time perfectly. - As an aside, there were many neat personalities in world football at the time, Paul Breitner, Michel Platini and Diego Maradona among them. - Back to Socrates; he was also, as many here comment, a fascinating, intelligent and generous person off the field - he had something more in his head than chasing after a ball. Love the details regarding the contradictions in his life (a top athlete, a doctor, yet a smoker and heavy drinker) and on the political roles he seems to have taken on later in life.
    Rest in Peace, Dr. Socrates.

  • Comment number 48.

    Great article. A class act and a nice guy. Haven't heard you Tim on the radio for years, but you were always fascinating to listen to even if I didn't know what you were talking about!

  • Comment number 49.

    Never got to see the man play, my introduction to Socrates came by way of the Alex Bellos book... big loss for Brazil, & in terms of football as well; Brazil who embraced a pragmatic "ugly" approach in 2010 is about as far removed from anything to do with 1982 Tiki-Taka ball -- this loss hopefully will remind Mano Menezes that there's more work to be done before 2014 rolls around. As always fantastic article.

  • Comment number 50.

    The great Doctor is gone. I saw the 1982 and 1986 world cups, and I can categorically say that he ranked as one of the greatest footballers of all time. Excellent football skill and great awareness of everything around him not forgetting his vision and work rate. RIP.

  • Comment number 51.

    When I was growing up playing football with my mates, you'd call each other players' names when you played. Prob like they do now with "Rooney", "Suarez", "Van Persie" or whatever. Not that you see many kids playing on spare bits of grass like we used to. Anyway, with us it was always "Zicooo", "Socrateees", "Falcaooo", "Edeeeerrr". Yes England were in that WC, and Robson was my hero. But they were who we aspired to play like. Best team I ever saw, and a travesty that they did not win that WC, ahead of the negative Italian side that did.

    RIP Master Socrates. Great player, great guy, and liked a beer and a fag! I tip my hat.

  • Comment number 52.

    I am an avid Corinthians fan and 'mixed emotions' don't even start to describe what I felt yesterday - so sad news in the morning, yet celebrating a title in the evening. Dr. Socrates once said he would like to pass on a Sunday with Corinthians winning the league - here is to you, Magrao.

    And at 49 El President thanks for the words about the 82 side but please don't say it was tiki taka football, whatever that means.

  • Comment number 53.

    Socrates.... Scores a Goal that Summs up the Philosophy from Brazilian Football......

  • Comment number 54.

    Socrates,
    A wonderful footballer and an intelligent, classy and social-minded person. So unlike the "Yobs" that infest football today, personified by Terry &Co. !!
    I doubt if there will be another like him.

  • Comment number 55.

    I was at the 1982 World Cup. I still believe the France were the best team and would have won it but for an outrageous GBH by Schumacher against Battiston. But Brazil were right up there with France, but Rossi, coming off a, what two-year suspension, was all fired up, and made a decent Italian team better. By the final I was all for Italy (sitting among a group of Italian fans in the Bernabéu) over WG, especially after the semi-final in Seville (I was there near the end of the West German goal when Schumacher assaulted Battiston. Remember, that was when only two subs were allowed and Battiston had only been on for about nine or so minutes for Genghini and had to be stretchered off, unconscious with a broken jaw, so France had to bring on their second sub (Lopez), while WG could substitute Magarth with Hrubesch and in extra time Rummeigge. A travesty of officiating, as if I did to somebody in the street what Schumacher did deliberately to Battision, I would be arrested for assault. The other travesty of that tournament was in the first round when the Teutonic brothers, Austria allowed WG to win, knowing both would be through to the next round. As far as Socrates is concerned, truly a footballing legend, a political activist and a committed doctor (too bad he did not follow practical medical advice himself). RIP Dr Socrates. And Gary Speed as well.

  • Comment number 56.

    Thanks for this blog Tim.

    A very touching remembrance...

    Socrates and Tele Santana were way above the level of football we see today. Your words on the Corinthians against Palmeiras (played last sunday) are a great remark of that. If Tele was the coach of any of the two teams, he would have left the field before the end of the game. I saw him do that more than once when he was coaching Sao Paulo. Tele demanded quality and devotion to the game. And Socrates did that. I am glad I saw him play on a stadium and on tv (1982 and 1986 world cups).

    Also, off the field Socrates made great contributions to Brazil. Too bad he realized too late that he should have taken care of his health. That was his major mistake.

    Someone said that you are truly dead when you and your deeds are forgotten. And in Socrates' case, it will be difficult to forget him. As long as football exists, 1982 WC will always be remembered.

  • Comment number 57.

    I was only 12, and when I saw that one-two with Zico, then Zico's quick 180 turn and then the flick to Socrates who kept on running to put the ball between Zoff's legs, amazing.

    That is one of 2 goals I will never forget, other being a 10-man Man Utd's Whitside curler around Southall in that epic FA cup final!!

    After the 70 WC, Brazil was in decline and guys like Socrates brough back that samba fever and it was eyes on the tele, hooked like a good doz of cocain!!! Pure art work, Zico, Eider, Junior, Falcoa, etc, etc puts to shame players of today ...!!

  • Comment number 58.

    Socretes did not need to play football, and I believe if he was playing today and earning 200K a week he would have given it all away. But he did bring something new to football. He was skillful but more than that he was intelligent, and his football reflected this. Although he spent all his life speaking for the working class, his example is that football should be more diverse and inclusive. It should reflect society as it is. Football should be as much about your brain as it is about your athleticism and physical build. Socretes took footballing intelligence to a whole new level. Regards Softlogger.com

  • Comment number 59.

    Fabulous player,perhaps the most gifted two footed passer of a ball ever. He was also a hater of convention both inside and outside of the game. 'Maverick' is an oft ill used word in sport but this man could not really be described as anything else. That football with its obsessive insistence on presenting a 'squeaky clean' image at every turn did not better use the talents of Socrates is shameful. The man could speak brilliantly,he thought very deeply about all manner of things. He knew the game but he also understood those who loved the game from the terraces. His views were ignored by FIFA and others largely because Socrates smoked and drank rather than anything he actually said. A shame,I liked him.RIP.

  • Comment number 60.

    What a joy it was to watch this guy play. Such intelligence, elegance and precision are hard to find in just one player. In 82 Brasil played only 5 games --it hardly qualifies as a team (at least a couple of seasons are needed it for that)--, but, boy, were those games spectacular. I watch the Italy-Brasil game pretty regularly. It's just beautiful.

  • Comment number 61.

    Too bad the Doc drank more than English footballers (or as much).

  • Comment number 62.

    What a loss? I still vividly remember their defeat 3/2 against Italy in that world cup. Although I was feverishly supporting Italy to win that match, I was very much sympathatic to Socrates only. He was magnificant. R.I.P the only Brazillian footballer I liked ever with due respect to others..

  • Comment number 63.

    As a kid I was told Socrates did his medical studies in UCD in Dublin. He was so good, he seem to be really bad, and couldn't get a game with the college team. I often wonder who the guy was who refused to have him in his side .. :O)..
    That 82 Brazil team where the one who influenced a generation of kids with TV and marketing taking off, everyone with colour TVs and all of us in Europe able to watch the matches at a decent time of day. Socrates was always majestic.

  • Comment number 64.

    I remember fondly the 1982 world cup. I was 12. I remember with greater fondness the 1986 world cup and his gifted team mates of the day Careca and Josimar. Possibly the last time football was played with such swagger and cool.
    The QF against France in Mexico 86 stands out as the finest football match I ever saw to this day. It was casual yet all out attack. It was cool, thrilling and proper end to end stuff. John Motson lost his breath commentating on it.
    And central to it all for Brazil was Socrates. Two magnificent midfield teams in the ultimate contest.
    A wonderfully intelligent player and a Marxist to boot.
    Great man, great football, great loss.

  • Comment number 65.

    Tim excellent blog you managed to get everything in from Brazil this week. Ronaldo and his silly new role (my wife an architect laughed loader than usual) and of course Socrates and the Corinthians championship.

    I totally agree, Socrates would not have enjoyed that non-advert for football in both Rio and SP. I was so fed up with the manner in which Corinthians played, especially the staged fight towards the end to allow the game in Rio to finish ahead of them. I really do believe this season´s champions was the team who lost the least (not for the first time this decade). I felt for Vasco who seemed to run out of steam with the ridiculous Sul Americana double final.

    Socrates we will all remember you and the Santana team of 1982. RIP

  • Comment number 66.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 67.

    Tim, this thursday is the final of the copa Sudamericana, and for me la "U" is by far the best team for winning it, and one of the reasons is the striker Eduardo Vargas. As far as I know clubs as Chelsea, Millan, and some from Russia want him in his lines. where do u think he will go? Do you think he is ready for Europe? who do u think is going to win the copa?

  • Comment number 68.

    For the generation of kids in the 80s raised on knight rider, the A team, BMX bikes, and pop music, Socrates was revered. I was too small to recall 82 but my first recollection of football in any form was 1986 world cup and the hype that surrounded Maradona.

    Every kid in the play ground wanted to be him, where as before my only love was for a game of tag, suddenly I wanted to play football, all the time. Unlike the rest I had fallen for the tall lankly fella, before he had even kicked a ball Socrate’s had what was for me at the time, mind boggling presence – his appearance struck a cord that even now I don’t quite understand.

    Then I watched him play, and from that day until now in 2011 he remains my all time favourite player. I played football then because of him, and still do to this day. I always tell my sons one day you’ll be as good as Socrates to which they always reply “who”? one day they'll understand.

    Totally gutted.

  • Comment number 69.

    My wife is from Sao Paolo (big Corinthians fan), she says that Socrates once said:
    "when I die I want to die on the Sunday Corinthians are declared champions"
    in Portuguese: “Quero morrer num domingo e com o Corinthians campeão”
    Fitting tribute then..?

  • Comment number 70.

    I am European football fan with strong interest in the South American talents. For this I appreciate very much your informative blog. Reading this article it seems to me moren and more that on a worldwide scale the performance of brazil's players were outstanding. But why don't we see these talents from Brazil today in the same way.
    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]>

  • Comment number 71.

    I was a young boy of 9 in 82 when my Dad got me up at 5am to watch the all whites run out to a packed house to play Brasil. The opposition were football gods from another world. Back then the football world was a smaller more isolated place where different styles and world class players were only exposed to a world stage once every 4 years. I remember being mesmerised that day with the magic that went on. It started a life long love affair for me with the Brasilian team. of all the players the one that stood out for me was Socrates. The name, the look, the charism and style, he had it all. Farewell Doctor, thank you for teaching me what sport in its purest form can mean.

    My wife (also a medical doctor) is expecting our first child next month and we are a bit stuck for names, Maybe it would be fitting if it is a boy that I could squeeze "Socrates" on to the birth certificate somewhere... I will have to talk nicely to her.

    Sadly with money and greed ruling the world game we will never see the likes of that 82 team again. Predominantly all playing in Brasil, one can assume they were able to train and intergrate properly as a team and developed into a unit, the sum of which exceed the vastly talented individual parts.

    The world cup has become a sad parody of what it was. The world melting pot that is European football has removed national styles from the game and it is squeezed around the club season, the result being boring, poor quality football and teams with great players making very bad teams ie England, Argentina, France, Italy in 2010

  • Comment number 72.

    Socrates played when characters still existed in football. He played with as much character on the pitch as he had off the pitch. Such individualism would sadly not be tolerated in today's overly disciplined and scrutinised sporting world.

    Thankfully for us Socrates played in an era that he could fully express himself.

  • Comment number 73.

    He was associated with (directly or indirectly not sure which) for the Brazilian soccer school in Leeds (i worked with their IT dept at the time) and was the manager for Simon Clifford's Garforth town. Sadly i never met him but came close to meeting him during my time there

  • Comment number 74.

    Adios my friend. You embodied the aphorism "Don't be in a hurry, be purposeful". You sparkled like a supernova star and for a brief moment illuminated the lives of all who met you, watched you, or read your words. Now you have imploded into a dense black hole, never to be seen again as we knew you. How are the mighty fallen! Your glory was not in speed, power, aggression, or even tricks. You transcended all these attributes with your effortless elegance, joyful freewheeling, and gracious support of your team mates. For once, words are not enough.

    EDD is no a supernova star that burns brightly for a brief period, illuminates a few careers and disappears into a dense crepuscular black hole

 

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.