Not only a brilliant footballer, but a lot of points in Scrabble, Socrates Brasileiro Sampaio de Sousa Vieira de Oliveira, or just Socrates to you and me, has died. Having survived a long career of being forced to wear some of the smallest shorts in sporting history, his hobbies of smoking, drinking and fathering kids (see And Where were the Germans? previous post) finally caught up with him.
Said The Daily Telegraph:
“Socrates – who also played at the 1986 World Cup finals – was a flamboyant footballer who boasted a myriad of contradictions.
He was a qualified doctor who never gave up his enjoyment of a smoke and a drink; he was an outspoken political activist, regularly protesting against the Brazilian military junta of the 1970s and 1980s.
He once listed his heroes as Fidel Castro, Che Guevara and John Lennon, fathered six children and spent his retirement penning passionate articles on politics and economics as well as sport.
Socrates won 60 caps for Brazil, scored 22 goals and was a contemporary of the great Zico.
After officially ending his playing career in 1989, he bizarrely reappeared 15 years later, at the age of 50, with Garforth Town, an amateur side in the backwoods of northern England where he featured for just 10 minutes of action.”
A bit of a bolshy bastard, who loved a gasper (this is me talking now, not The Telegraph), Dr Socrates is remembered as much as a champion of the little man and a fierce campaigner against tyranny and dictatorship as he was for his swift, elegant play, his back-heels and his marvellous goal celebrations.There’s a video on Youtube of his appearance at Garforth Town, but this is how you really wanna remember him.