With soccer being the most popular sport on the planet, it’s superstars are some of the most famous athletes (both currently and throughout history). Guys like Ronaldo, Messi and others now receive more attention than anyone else. And throughout the sport’s history, guys like Pele, Maradona, Messi and others are considered the greatest of all time. However, there is one name that is often missing amongst the conversation of the top 3 or 5 players of all time, and that is Zico, a former attacking midfield for numerous different teams and the Brazilian national team.
Zico was born in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, and like many Brazilian youth, he dreamed of becoming a pro soccer player. He started playing the sport at a young age and quickly became famous in his neighbourhood for his skills. Scouts from some local junior teams discovered these skills and gave him some tryouts and press as a young teen.
However, Zico was not a very strong individual and, with the help of a physical education teacher, he began to work on his strength and athleticism, which would prove to be important later in his career. After only a few years as a youth player, he moved to the senior team at Flamengo and began his years of dominance.
In terms of his style of player, Zico was perhaps the best passer and playmakers of all time. In addition to his brilliant vision required to be a passer, he was amazingly creative and technical on the pitch, which made everyone around him better. During his club career (despite this rep as a playmaker), he actually scored over half a goal a game throughout his entire 23 year club career. And despite these impressive numbers, he is definitely most known for his international play.
Zico was a member of the Brazilian national team and represented them at the 1978, 1982 and 1986 World Cups. Despite not winning any of these, these teams were seen as some of the best in Brazil’s history. Zico has largely been seen as one of the best players ever to never win a World Cup. Not for lack of effort on his part as he won the FIFA Player of the Year award on numerous occasions.
Again, despite his reputation as a playmaker and brilliant passer, Zico still was an impressive golascorer for the national team. In 71 appearenaces with the tema, he has a total of 48 goals, which is good for the fourth most of any Brazilian player in history. And since retiring, Zico has coached a number of different club and national teams, including coaching the Japanese national team to an Asian Cup win in 2004.
And while he is given some credit by the fans and media, I don’t think it is enough. What this guy was able to do on the pitch was amazing and I truly believe he should be seen as a top 5 or even top 3 player of all time. The consensus GOAT, Pele, also claimed that Zico was the one player closest to being as good as him.