A huge crowd numbering many thousands of people, packed the Maracana Stadium, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Wednesday (19 December).
A huge crowd numbering many thousands of people, packed the Maracana Stadium, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Wednesday (19 December). to see a testimonial match for the country's legendary winger, Garrincha. It was to be his last match before retiring as a professional player.
Garrincha, who is now 37 year old, played in the Brazil World Cup team in 1958 and 1962 when they beat the rest of the world to win soccer's ultimate trophy. He earned the nickname "The Little Bird" because of his speed and dexterity on the field.
As a child he had suffered from a crippling disease, but managed to overcome it and go on to become a soccer star with an international reputation.
At his testimonial match on Wednesday he wore the Brazilian colours for the last time, against a team of world stars that included Onischenko of Russia, Brindisi of Argentina, and Revelino of Italy. Playing alongside Garrincha for Brazil, was his equally famous countryman, Pele.
Recently, Garrincha has been playing with a number of provisional teams, but he said that after this match he would concentrate on training young players.
SYNOPSIS: The news photographers were out in force at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Wednesday, for a soccer match between Brazil and an International Eleven which included Pele - Brazil's top World star. But it wasn't Pele they were there to photograph. All the limelight was for Garrincha, Brazil's legendary winger. It was his testimonial match, and his farewell to soccer. From now on he intends to hang up his boots as a professional.
The International team included such names Onischenko of Russia, and Brindisi of Argentina. Nevertheless, Garrincha was the centre of most of the attention from the vast crowd that filled the stadium. Ever since his dazzling footwork won the admiration of the world in nineteen fifty-eight and nineteen sixty-two, when Brazil won the World Cup, his fans have known him affectionately as "the Little Bird".
The match was the end of a truly remarkable career. As a child Garrincha suffered from a crippling disease that could well have left him handicapped. But he overcame it to become a world famous footballer. He will now concentrate on training young players.