Garrincha’s Departure: A Loss For Canarinha’s Dream Team

Rio de Janeiro, Jan 19 (EFE).- Exactly forty years ago this Friday, the death of Manoel Francisco dos Santos “Garrincha” left fellow footballer Edson Arantes do Nascimento “Pelé” without his best and most effective teammate at Canarinha, since the Brazilian team never lost a game when he lined them up together.

Exactly three weeks ago, the most famous and dangerous couple in the history of Brazilian soccer met again, after the death at the age of 82 of the three-time world champion and considered by many to be the best soccer player of all time, victim of complications from colon cancer.

“Mané Garrincha”, the right winger nicknamed “Genius with Crooked Legs” and “Joy of the People”, said goodbye on January 20, 1983, prematurely, at the age of 49, a victim of alcoholic cirrhosis, poor and abandoned .

After the departure of both, Brazil remembers the productivity of its most famous pair of attackers. Pelé and Garrincha played together 40 games wearing the shirt of the Brazilian team, with a balance of 36 wins, four draws and no defeats.

Together, the two greatest idols in the history of the then-rival clubs Santos and Botafogo, respectively, won two world titles: the one in Sweden in 1958 and the one in Chile in 1962.

While the Santos player, despite being 16 years old at the time, shone in Sweden, where he scored six goals and was voted the best youth player in the World Cup, the Botafogo player, with Pelé injured since the second game, was the star in Chile, with four goals and chosen as a hero of Brazil.

And in 40 games together they scored 55 goals: Pelé 44 and Garrincha 11. But the productivity of the Botafogo idol was notably higher when he was by Pelé’s side, since, of his 17 goals with Canarinha, 64% were scored by acting alongside “o king”.

Pele Returned to The Selection to Pay Tribute to Garrincha

Pelé played his last game with the Brazilian team in 1971, a year after winning his third World Cup in Mexico, but he agreed to wear the green and yellow jersey again two years later to participate in a match in honor of Garrincha before 150,000 spectators at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro.

The first time they played together was in a friendly in May 1958 in which Brazil beat Bulgaria 3-1 with two goals from ‘O Rei’ and another from Pepe, who was Pelé’s best teammate in Santos’ attack. but without the efficiency achieved with Garrincha.

The last time in an official match was in Brazil’s debut in the 1966 World Cup in England, when Canarinha beat Bulgaria 2-0, with a goal from the eternal shirt 10 and another from the immortal shirt 7.

The three-time world champion acknowledged several times that he never found a better partner than Garrincha.

“I never played with anyone or against anyone better than Garrincha. On the pitch we were teammates. Off the pitch we were brothers,” he said in a message he posted on his social networks in 2018, when they remembered the 85th anniversary of the striker’s birth in the small Pau Grande, a suburb of Rio de Janeiro.

Garrincha also recognized it. “Pelé is another genius, different. Pelé is the goal-man. I was always the one who prepared the play for him. I have nothing (bad) to say about him. For me, he is a friend and he is the king of football , and I am content to be in the background,” he said in an interview.

The big difference between the two was that while Pelé always strove to stay on the throne as the best in the world, which required a very disciplined life, Garrincha preferred to enjoy life off the pitch and exaggerate with parties, women and drinks. , which ended up being his downfall.

And after death those differences remained. While Pelé was entombed in a golden mausoleum in Santos, the remains of the considered greatest dribbler in Brazilian history and a sports miracle for shining with one leg longer than the other are in a grave in his native Pau Grande in a cemetery. unknown.

A few years ago, when the Pau Grande mayor’s office wanted to pay homage to Garrincha, it discovered that in the Raíz da Serra cemetery there were two different niches with the footballer’s name, which still show signs of abandonment today, and no official document that could explain the mystery.

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