CARLOS Alberto, the man who captained the Brazil team often described as soccer’s greatest ever to victory at the 1970 World Cup, died Tuesday at age 72.
FIFA, world football’s governing body, confirmed his death on its website.
A short statement said: “It is with tremendous sadness that FIFA has learned that Carlos Alberto Torres died at the age of 72 on Tuesday 25 October 2016.”
Alberto scored one of the most memorable goals in World Cup history in the final as his side beat Italy 4-1 in Mexico City.
He rampaged forward from right-back to put the seal on victory, hammering home the most emphatic of finishes after a stunning move involving eight players including Tostao and Pele, who rolled the ball to him.
Then aged 25, Alberto became the youngest-ever World Cup-winning captain having already skippered Santos, his club at the time.
He had been appointed two years before the tournament and in an interview with FIFA recalled: “I was elevated to the captaincy of a team regarded at the time as the best in Brazil, and by many as the best in the world.
“It included world champions like Pele, Coutinho, Pepe, Gilmar and Mauro.
“There’s no doubt that being the Santos skipper led to me getting the Selecao armband. I’m very proud still to be the youngest captain of a World Cup-winning team.”
Alberto won 53 caps for Brazil, scoring eight goals, but it is for his dazzling 1970 performance that he is best remembered.
He was the last captain to lift the Jules Rimet trophy, which passed into Brazil’s possession after what was their third World Cup win.
He missed the 1974 tournament with a knee injury but played for Brazil for a further three years before quitting international football in 1977.
Alberto’s achievements saw him named in the World Team of the 20th Century in 1998, while FIFA included him on its list of the greatest 100 living players in 2004.
“Carlos Alberto is an icon of world football,” Brazilian sports journalist Emerson Vicente told CNN.
“Besides being a great technical player, he was one of the first defensive players to play in attack with the same efficiency. The fourth goal for Brazil in the 1970 final shows that.
“His was a well-respected voice, and as a commentator he was a critic of the current state of Brazilian football.”
Santos will hold three days of official mourning for Alberto, saying in a statement: “Santos FC is saddened by the death of Carlos Alberto, an idol.”
Alberto started his club career with Fluminese, establishing himself as an outstanding defender whose superb tackling, ability to break forward and instinctive reading of the game quickly attracted acclaim.
In 1966 he joined Pele at Santos, moving briefly to Botafogo in 1971 but returning to Santos later that year and staying until 1974.
He rejoined Fluminese the same year at the end of a domestic career in which he was a Brazilian Championship winner in both 1965 and 1968.
He was to be reunited with Pele again in 1977 when both starred for New York Cosmos, becoming a title-winner in 1997 and 1978 before spending a year at California Surf in 1981 and then rejoining Cosmos, where he retired as a player in 1982.
In a tweet, the Cosmos said: “We’re deeply saddened by the loss of Carlos Alberto, a legendary player and wonderful person. He’ll always remain part of the Cosmos family.”
Alberto coached clubs including Flamengo and Corinthians after calling time on his playing days and also coached in international football, most recently with Azerbaijan. – CNN