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Brazil football legend Mario Zagallo is dead

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Mario Zagallo
Brazil football legend Mario Zagallo is dead. Photo/ Daily Sports.
  • Mario Zagallo, one of the most charismatic and superstitious figures in Brazilian football, has passed away at the age of 92
  • Several sources have indicated that the legendary footballer died of multiple organ failure

Mario Zagallo, one of the most charismatic and superstitious figures in Brazilian football, has passed away. He died on Friday at the age of 92, as per reports.

Zagallo was a winger during his playing days and is the only man to have been part of four World Cup-winning teams. He won back-to-back World Cup titles as a player in 1958 and 1962, starting in both finals, and the other two as a coach and as an assistant coach.

Mario Zagallo

Mario Zagallo has died at the age of 92. Photo/ Eurosport.

“With enormous sadness, we inform you of the death of our eternal four-time world champion Mario Jorge Lobo Zagallo. A devoted father, loving grandfather, caring father-in-law, faithful friend, victorious professional and a great human being. Giant idol. A patriot who leaves us a legacy of great achievements.” A statement on Mario Zagallo’s official Instagram account reads.

What Caused The Death of Mario Zagallo?

When the news of Mario Zagallo’s death broke on Saturday morning, the cause was not made public. However, several sources, including Wikipedia, have since indicated that the legendary footballer died of multiple organ failure.

Zagallo has been in and out of hospital for close to two decades now. In 2005, the Brazilian football icon was in hospital for more than a month after undergoing stomach surgery. In 2009, he was placed under medical care for an irregular heartbeat.

Zagallo was in hospital again prior to the start of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil because of a back infection. He spent 12 days in the hospital and was released just before the start of the big tournament in his home country.

In July 2022, Zagallo was admitted to hospital with a respiratory infection. In August 2023, he was hospitalized for 22 days due to a urinary tract infection in Brazil’s capital city Rio de Janeiro. He was again admitted into hospital in Rio de Janeiro at the end of December, after which he passed away.

Football Career

Mario Zagallo was born on 9 August 1931, in Atalaia, Alagoas. He will be remembered as one of the greatest players and coaches in Brazil and World Cup history.

Zagallo was Brazil’s forward when they won the World Cup titles in 1958 and 1962. In 1965, he stopped playing and started his coaching career. Five years later, he led Brazil to winning the World Cup title in Mexico. He also coached the Selecao in 1974 as they finished in fourth place. In 1994, Zagallo was the assistant coach as Brazil won the World Cup in the United States. His final coaching role with Brazil was in 2006 after the national team composed of stars such as Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Kaka and Adriano lost in the quarter-finals of World Cup to France.

Apart from Brazil, Zagallo also managed Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates at international level. In the Brazilian domestic game, coached Botafogo, Vasco da Gama, Bangu. Fluminense, Flamengo and Portuguesa. Outside Brazil, he managed Saudi Pro League club Al-Hilal.

Mario Zagallo

Mario Zagallo was the first person to win the World Cup as a player and a manager. Photo/ Daily Sports.

From winning the World Cup in 1958 to when Brazil hosted the 2014 World Cup, Zagallo will be remembered for playing a role in almost every major chapter in Brazil’s World Cup history.

“It is with great sadness that we learn of the passing of one of the true greats, a man whose impact on the FIFA World Cup is unparalleled. In times of need, Brazil has looked to ‘The Professor’ as a calming presence, a steering hand and as a tactical genius. He will be remembered as the Godfather of Brazilian football and his presence will be sorely missed by everyone in the game but especially here at FIFA.” FIFA President Gianni Infantino said of Zagallo, as per FIFA.com.

Abraham Odhiambo is an avid sports fan who loves to write about football, boxing and wrestling. He's a big supporter of Manchester United. He's pursuing a bachelor's degree in Communication and Media at Egerton University.

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