Sunday, December 4, 2011
Socrates in 2011
Socrates while playing for the Brazilian national squad
Socrates is a classical Greece Athenian philosopher who lived thousand of years ago.
But here we are not talking about the historical philosopher, but rather one of Brazilian finest players.
He is Socrates who played for the Brazilian national team in the 1982 and 1986 World Cup.
Sadly, the former Brazilian captain Socrates, who played in the great 1982 Brazilian side which was widely-regarded as the finest team never to win a World Cup has died.
He died on Sunday, 4th December 2011 at the age of 57.
Socrates are among Brazil's best known footballers apart from Pele, Zico, Careca, Ronaldo, Roberto Carlos, Rivaldo, Ronaldinho, Eder, Didi, Garrincha, Vava and Falcao.
Socrates was taken to Albert Einstein Hospital late Friday, 2nd December 2011 after suffering food poisoning. He went into septic shock, placed on a life support machine but passed way overnight.
Socrates had already been hospitalised twice in August and September 2011 with bleeding in his digestive tract, and recognised after these incidents that he had problems with alcohol, especially during his playing days.
It was reported that Socrates would be buried later in a private ceremony in the town of Ribeirao Preto, 300 kilometres outside Sao Paulo, where he began his playing career in 1974 for Botafogo.
Brazilian giants Corinthians - for whom he played for six years scoring 172 goals in 297 matches and won three Sao Paulo league titles - paid a fulsome tribute to him.
Later Sunday 4th December 2011, Corinthians honoured his memory in style by winning their fifth national league championship after a goalless draw against Sao Paulo rivals Palmeiras.
The 'Timao', for whom Socrates played between 1978 and 1984, previously lifted the national title in 1990, 1998, 1999 and 2005.
Before the game, midfielder Alex said there would be no finer way to pay a fitting tribute to Socrates than for the club to get the draw they needed.
"The best way for us to celebrate his memory is the title," said Alex.
"We hope we can lift the title, to win it in the name of Socrates, for the great idol that he is."
Fans held up banners in the stands reading "Doctor Socrates, rest in peace" while a minute's silence was observed before the start.
In his heydays, Socrates was easily recognisable, standing at 6 feet 4 inches and bearded.
Socrates scored 22 goals in 60 appearances for Brazil.
He was named South American Footballer of the Year in 1983, and was also named on Pelé's FIFA 100 list in 2004.
Socrates achieved a rare phenomenon for a professional footballer, graduating as Doctor of Medicine while actively playing soccer at the highest level both for domestic league and international duties.
His younger brother, Rai also played for Brazil in the 1994 World Cup in USA where Brazil won, defeating Italy in the final in penalty shoot-outs.
Apart from Corinthians, Socrates played for 3 other Brazilian clubs > Flamengo, Santos, Botafogo and Fiorentina in Italy.
Perhaps he was best remembred for his stunning goal against USSR in the 1982 FIFA
World Cup in the preliminary round. Brazil went on to win 2-1.
Socrates also scored this stunning goal for Brazil against Italy in the 1982 FIFA World Cup. Sadly, Brazil bowed out 2-3, no thanks to Paolo Rossi's hattrick.
Socrates was also best remembred for his penalty miss in the 1986 FIFA World Cup quarterfinal match, Brazil against reigning European champion, France.
It pitted Zico, Socrates and Careca against Michel Platini, Jean Tigana and co.
The match ended 1-1 after extra time, best remembered for a Zico penalty miss and Socrates missing 2 open chances in regulation times.
In the ensuing penalty shoot-outs, Socrates stepped up to take Brazil's 1st spot kick but his kick was saved by French goal keeper, Joel Bats. Socrates took the penalty without running forward, he simply kicked the ball after taking only 2 steps, thus beginning the downfall of Brazil in the 1986 World Cup, they eventually lost the shoot-outs 3-4.
Rest in Peace Socrates.