News : Brazil: the history – “Garrincha was better than Pelé” – sports

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Brazil: the history - "Garrincha was better than Pelé" - sports

Jairzinho, a member of Brazil's legendary world champion eleven in 1970, talks about the present and even more about the past of Brazilian football before the Copa América final against Peru.

Interview by Javier Cáceres

One could meet him at the Taberna Atlantica, Jairzinho had said, at the appointed time he is sitting on the terrace of the restaurant in Leme, near Copacabana, with a friend. He wears a black T-shirt with his name printed on it, including "Furacao," the nickname given to him by sports reporter Geraldo José de Almeida in 1970. Jairzinho, bourgeois Jair Ventura Filho, greets and asks where the interview should appear: in the Süddeutsche Zeitung, Munich, the birthplace Beckenbauer, with whom he should be friends. "What nonsense is that supposed to be? I'm nobody's friend!" He barks. The conversation will be interrupted twice later. These are the only times his face lightens, he pokes his counterpart with his dark eyes, his voice has a warm tone, his answers are not lashes. They are young people, twenties, who come to him and thank him, "for what you have done for Brazil". Jairzinho, 74, quit his career when he was 42 years old. He is still the only person to be world champion and met in every match. In 1970, in Mexico, for the most legendary eleven Brazil ever had, and so incomparably better than the current team. Even if she stands in the final of the Copa América in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday - against Peru.

SZ: Jairzinho, do you have any doubt about the victory?

Jairzinho: You about? What's that for a question? If Brazil does not win, I'll pay for a meal. With champagne.

Do you like the football this team plays?

I am Brazilian! How should I not like this team when it is in the final? By the love of God!

Have you seen all the games?

Naturally! That is my duty! As a Brazilian! And as a football teacher.

There are Brazilians who rub against this team ...

Amigo: Only if you are German, Argentine or French, you can say that you do not like this team. How many fans will be in the stadium?

The Maracanã? It will be sold out.

Just! Would that be so if they did not like the team? If there could be anything but a victory? Brazil won 5: 0 in the preliminary round against Peru! 5: 0! And the Peruvians are going through the game again and again.

It is said that Tite could go to the final.

Who says that?

The Brazilian media.

They know nothing. Nothing! He has received the guarantee from the president of the association to continue. Cope.

He is said to be able to resign himself.

That would be something else. His personal decision. He is a good, capable coach. He deserves to lead the Seleção.

The current team is defined by the defensive strength. She did not concede a goal throughout the tournament. In the past, most of all during your playing days, nothing was more characteristic of Brazilian teams than the offensive. Why has that changed?

Because there is no talent anymore. Not in the whole world. There are no more "cracks". Where are the German "Cracks"? The Beckenbauers, the Overaths, the Müllers ... Beckenbauer, the Pelé of Germany. Its elegance, this upside-down head! As if someone had forbidden him to look at the floor ... Great. What a player!

But why is that the past?

Because the world has turned into something disappointing. In my day, the kids were playing in the street, on the beach, everywhere. Today you can not see a child on the street anymore. And why? Because of the violence. In the north, in the east of Rio, you can still see children. But not here in the south.

This is the place where you grew up, here on the beach of Leme, next to the Copacabana ...

What a privilege, right? I live in the most beautiful district of the world. I played in France at Olympique Marseille, in São Paulo, in Venezuela, in Bolivia ...

And could never forget lemes?

You are crazy, right? There is no such wealth here as anywhere else in the world! Do not you like it here?


If you want to live here - I have apartments. Do you want to buy one?

Who made Jairzinho one of the best players in the world?

The nature. The beach. The sand here, that was my school. It gives you better lungs, resistance, speed, stamina, tight calf muscles, a firm quadriceps ... you in Europe have better places, pumping muscles. But this is work! I came here twice a week from here to Leblon and ran 6.4 kilometers. That's all one thing.

And the other?

God. He gave me talent. Football is a matter of talent. Exclusively.

Are you very religious?

How should I not be like that? In November 1969, I broke my fourth and fifth metatarsal bones. Entry. I was the first footballer to use a nail. In 1970, I still became world champion.

Previously, you joined Botafogo in 1961 in the youth. They were 14 years old. What did you learn there?

Discipline. To play in the collective. To have respect. And demand respect. I have learned to become the victor through my intelligence.

But you also have to learn from the elders?

Naturally! On the side of the best players in the world: Manuel Francisco dos Santos, "Garrincha".

There are people who say Garrincha was better than Pele.

And I say that! Write this: Garrincha was better than Pele.


He was more virtuoso than Pele, man! Brazil has won five world championship titles. Garrincha contributed to two.

1958 and 1962 ...

If you know more than me anyway ...

For heaven's sake!

The two best number 7 in history are Garrincha and Jairzinho. But Garrincha was unique in everything. In every single movement, because he never repeated a movement. Nobody knew where he would go. No opponent. Not even he knew that. It was all improvisation. And friends. Football was never work for him. He enjoyed it. And that was the only reason he could give joy. There is one like him every 100 years.

What did you miss to surpass Garrincha?



It was impossible. He was out of reach. I'm satisfied with what I gave to Brazilian football.

Did you try to imitate him?

You could not even try that. He was a spectacle of players. He was never in any youth department.

Garrincha was not only O Alegria do Povo, the joy of the people. He also had a complicated life, died of liver cirrhosis at the age of 50 ...

I'm not allowed to talk about private matters. Everyone lives as he wishes. For me it was a triumph that life gave me the opportunity to live with him and play together. You do not know what that means. There are no words to describe it.

Try it.

Have you ever played soccer?

Nice. As a teenager.

Did not you want to become a great player? Do Beckenbauer and Müller not give you anything?

Jairzinho interviewing in Taberna Atlantica. On his t-shirt is his name, including his nickname "Furacao", hurricane.

(Photo: Javier Cáceres)

Life has driven me elsewhere.

No! They have allowed life to drive them elsewhere. That's a difference. And that's why I can not answer your question so that you understand it. Only those who have been a great player know what a great player is.

We were at your beginnings as a professional ...

I joined the first team at Botafogo FR at the age of 17. But my debut was actually at a tournament between teams from Rio and São Paulo. We went with the youth team and played against professionals. And we won the tournament. And I scored the goal with which we took the title. Later I played with Nílton Santos, Didí, Amarildo, Zagallo and Garrincha. Everything twice world champion. I followed her example. I became City Master in Rio three times, Master of the State of Rio, Pan American Master ... That's why I say: I was born to be a master.

When did you know that?

With 17. Or before. If we barked here in Leme, a coin was thrown in the air. Head or figure. Who won, chose me in his team. And why? Because of my blue eyes? Because of my blond hair? No! Because I was born a master!

As a young man, do not you feel intimidated playing alongside champions like those who mentioned them?

It is a question of responsibility. And self-confidence. It's about wanting to be better than the others. That was always in my head. What have those that I do not have, that was the question. And the answer was nothing! I only used what they used: the wisdom, the intelligence of playing football. To fill in the position.

They bore the number 7 like Garrincha.

But I started as a left winger. Although I'm not a left foot, but both feet. Later I played in attack on every position. Because I was training in a different position every day, every week, to understand the demands of each position. And I learned it.

Today, players are trained early in football schools. What is lost?

The freedom and creativity. Many teachers in the football schools did not play. How should they teach you how to move? That's why the level of Brazilian football has dropped. The naturalness does not shine if you do not learn to master the ball, dribble in or out, shoot ... But that's the way it is all over the world. Not only in Brazil ... Do you know that I am the only one who has met in all matches of a World Cup? Did you know that?

That's why we're here in Mexico in 1970. Was that team the perfect team? Is there perfection in football anyway?

Of course she exists.

Define perfection.

Perfection is in the brain of everyone who participates in football. Everyone can play football. Hardly anyone can play football well. The difference is so big that you can not even imagine it. We started with five tens. With Clodoaldo, Tostão, Pelé, Rivelino, Jairzinho. And without a striker. The other teams did not know whom to cover. That will never happen again.

Would the 70s team play today ...

Would not lose it against anyone. We knew how to play football in every imaginable way. We were barracked for three months. But we had a goal. And we became unforgettable. How did you organize yourself defensively? Hereby (points a finger at his head). Everyone was intelligent. And when you are intelligent, you organize yourself. You do not need a trainer who tells you that you have to go back to close rooms. We knew how to defend ourselves, how to attack, how to organize, how to move in order to surprise your opponent. Football is dynamic. Not tactical. And we were a single block.

Nobody remembers the Brazilian coach.

Because you remember the players.

Shortly before the 1970 World Cup João Saldanha coach, he was replaced before the tournament.

He had a dispute with the journalists. The media staged a campaign against him (Saldanha was a member of the Communist Party, Brazil at the time a military dictatorship / the Red.), And he fell. Then came (Mario Lobo) Zagallo. He exchanged some players. Félix, Carlos Alberto, Brito, Piazza, Everaldo, Clodoaldo, Rivelino would not have played under Saldanha.

Which current player do you like?

Lionel Messi. He is an artist of football, not a machine.

Who was the last Brazilian artist?

Ronaldo Fenômeno,

Not Ronaldinho Gaúcho?

They asked who the last artist was. I said Ronaldo.

Do you like Neymar?

Very. But he needs a lot of advice.

Which one would you give him?

I do not like that. He has to learn alone, without help from third parties ... I grew up without a father. Did you know that?

No. When did he die?

When I was two years old.

How did this happen?

An accident. Fate wanted it that way.

Did you miss him?

Very. I miss him today. I was an only child.

What did your mother work on?

Factory worker.

She suffered to get you through it.


What was her name?


What is the most important thing you have learned from her?

To have respect. In front of her and above all. To live life with discipline. To understand what it means to live. She has enabled me to become a happy person. Everything that I am, I owe her. Just you.

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