On September 14, 1921, exactly 100 years ago, Thomaz Soares da Silva was born, better known as Zizinho, who stood out with the colors of Flamengo, São Paulo and Bangu. And with a difference: he was Pelé’s idol.
Zizinho’s prominence in football began in 1939, at Flamengo, where he was three-time champion in Rio de Janeiro in 1942, 1943 and 1944. His good performance yielded opportunities in the Brazilian team. After a period of injuries and ups and downs, the midfielder was one of the standouts in Brazil’s runner-up at the 1950 World Cup.
Later, he left Flamengo after accepting Bangu’s proposal and scored 120 goals during his time at the new club. The next destination was São Paulo, with the right to the title of São Paulo in 1957 upon arrival, beating Santos de Pelé.
About the King, journalist João Máximo explained how Zizinho influenced Pelé’s football and that of a whole generation of players.
“Pelé said and Dondinho (Pelé’s father) also said how important Zizinho’s technique was to make the King start to fight to also seek his dribbles, show his genius,” he told Lance.
After leaving the São Paulo tricolor team, Zizinho still played for clubs like Uberaba and Audax Italiano (CHI), where he hung his boots in the early 1960s.
The experience led Zizinho to a great challenge in 1975: to stay ahead of the Brazilian team in the Pan American Games, held in Mexico City. Brazil shared the gold with the Mexicans after the final was interrupted due to a lack of electricity.
After the Pan-American, Zizinho prepared the team for the 1976 Olympic Games, but left the position after a friction with leaders.
He also worked as a Finance Tax in Rio de Janeiro and died at the age of 80, in Niterói, on February 8, 2002, after a cardiac arrest.
*With information from the Lancepress agency