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What happened to Brazil’s 1970 football team of glory

Brazilian midfielder Pele (L), today considered the greatest footballer ever by many, dribbles past Italian defender Tarcisio Burgnich during the 1970 World Cup final in Mexico City © AFP/File

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil, Oct 26 – With Pele, Jairzinho and captain Carlos Alberto, who died on Tuesday, the Brazil team that won the 1970 World Cup was one of the greatest ever.

The team of glittering talent ended up as businessmen, trying to get into politics, running charities or met a tragic end like Everaldo who died in a car crash. Here is what happened to the team of 1970:


Much-criticised before the 1970 World Cup finals, goalkeeper Felix was well protected by his defence and emerged as one of the heroes from the 4-1 victory in the final over Italy. He went on to win more than 40 caps for Brazil and five national titles with Fluminense. He later became a salesman of cars and fridges and also lectured about football. A heavy smoker, he died of emphysema aged 74 in 2012.

Carlos Alberto

Former captain of Brazil’s 1970 World Cup winning team, Carlos Alberto Torres, is buried at Iraja cemetery in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on October 26, 2016 © AFP / Tasso Marcelo

Just leading Brazil in their greatest triumph and scoring the magical fourth goal in the final has ensured that Carlos Alberto, who died of a heart attack on Tuesday aged 72, will go down in history.

The right-back left Santos in 1974 to return to his first club Fluminense, then joined Flamengo and saw out his career at the New York Cosmos with Pele. After working as a coach in Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Nigeria and Azerbaijan, he retired in 2005 and became a television pundit. He is now known as “the eternal captain”.

Hercules Brito

Pele (top) celebrates with his teammates (from L) Tostao, Carlos Alberto and Jairzinho during the World Cup final between Brazil and Italy on June 21, 1970 in Mexico City © AFP/File

The tall centre-back had a short temper which he controlled for the World Cup finals. He earned 45 Brazil caps between 1964 and 1972 and played for about 10 different clubs — including Vasco da Gama, Flamengo and Corinthians as well as in Canada and Venezuela before retiring in 1979 at the age of 40. He has since stayed out of the public eye.

Wilson Piazza

Piazza played for Cruzeiro between 1964 and 1979 and 47 times for Brazil with the 1970 World Cup his highlight though he was also at the 1974 finals. Brito later built up a chain of petrol stations and tried to get into local politics.

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Brazilian football legend Pele (L), Brazilian Minister of Sports Aldo Rebelo (C) and former Brazilian footballer Clodoaldo talk during an exhibition about football in Brasilia on December 17, 2013 © AFP/File / Evaristo Sa

A tough and talented left-back, though he had been an international since 1967, coach Mario Zagallo gave Everaldo his big chance at the 1970 finals. A lynchpin for his Gremio club, Everaldo won 24 caps up to 1974 and was only on the losing side once. He tried to enter politics upon retiring but was killed in a car crash with his wife and a daughter in October 1974.


Clodoaldo inspired Brazil’s revival when they fell behind to Uruguay in the semi-final but went on to win 3-1. He also dribbled past four Italians in the build-up to Carlos Alberto’s much-remembered strike in the final. He played at Santos with Pele. Since stopping playing Clodoaldo has dabbled in property while remaining a Santos director and advisor to the national team.


Former Brazilian midfielder Gerson, pictured two days before the opening of the 1970 World Cup in Mexico City, went on to start an institute to help poor children, and is still a radio and television analyst © AFP/File

Though Carlos Alberto was the captain, Gerson was the midfield mastermind, known as “The Parrot” because he never stopped talking on the pitch. He was also one of the greatest passers in international football. Gerson’s father and uncle were professional footballers and he won 70 caps for Brazil including at the 1966 and 1970s World Cups. After giving up he started an institute to help poor children — including with their football skills — and is still a radio and television analyst.


The left winger was famous for his moustache and his dribble — the ‘elastico’ — that confounded opponents during a 20-year career that included 92 internationals and almost 700 appearances for Corinthians, Fluminense and Al Hilal in Saudi Arabia. He scored three goals at the 1970 finals including an incredible bending free-kick against Czechoslovakia. Rivelino also played in the 1974 and 1978 World Cup finals and is still a football commentator with fellow legend Zico.


Former Brazilian forward Tostao, pictured two days days before the opening of the 1970 World Cup in Mexico City, is now a doctor and a respected sports journalist © AFP/File

For many, the greatest footballer ever with his swerving skills. He scored four goals in the 1970 finals, produced one of the greatest saves ever from England’s Gordon Banks in another game and tried an audacious lob from the halfway line against Czechoslovakia that only narrowly failed. He was named player of the tournament in his fourth and final World Cup. After finishing his career with the New York Cosmos, Pele has been a sports minister as well as an ambassador for the United Nations and corporate big names. Now 76, he has been ailing in recent months, in and out of hospital, and walks with a cane.


The final piece of Brazil’s feared attack, Tostao almost missed the 1970 finals because of a detached retina suffered when hit in the face with a ball. But he formed a brilliant partnership with Pele before retiring in 1973 at the age of 26 because of another eye problem. Tostao is now a doctor but also a respected sports journalist.

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Former Brazilian forward Jairzinho, pictured two days before the 1970 World Cup in Mexico City, tried to become mayor of Rio after ending his football career, but his candidacy was cancelled because he did not pay the required fees © AFP/File

The only player to have scored a goal in every match of a World Cup finals, Jairzinho was Brazil’s top scorer in 1970 with seven goals in six games. He scored 33 goals in 81 internationals and played more than 400 games for Botafogo before moving to Marseille in France. After football, he tried to become mayor of Rio but his candidacy was cancelled because he did not pay the fees. He also trains young footballers and is credited with discovering Brazil’s Ronaldo in the 1990s.

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