RIO DE JANEIRO: Pele and Franz Beckenbauer have led the tributes to their “brother” Carlos Alberto, the captain of Brazil’s 1970 World Cup-winning side, who has died aged 72 from a heart attack.
The defender scored one of the most memorable goals in the history of the World Cup, sealing the 4-1 win over Italy in the 1970 final in Mexico City.
It was Alberto who completed a brilliant team move with a powerful angled drive from the right side of the penalty area before lifting the Jules Rimet Trophy.
Alberto’s death was confirmed on Tuesday through a statement on the official website of the Brazilian Football Federation, www.cbf.com.br.
Pele played alongside Alberto for Brazil, Santos and also later as part of a star-studded line-up for the New York Cosmos, which also included Beckenbauer, skipper of the West Germany side which won the 1974 World Cup.
In a post on his official Twitter account, @Pele, the 76-year-old wrote: “I am deeply saddened by the death of my friend and brother @capita70. Dear God, please take care of our “Capitao”. Rest In Peace”. A black-and-white picture of the duo embracing during their time at the Cosmos was attached to the post.
Beckenbauer also paid tribute to Alberto in a post on his official Twitter account, @beckenbauer, which included a photo of the pair together from a charity trip to Brazil in 2013.
“Heidi and me are deeply shocked. Carlos Alberto was like a brother to me, one of my best friends,” the German wrote.
The Brazilian confederation announced there would now be a period of official mourning for three days.
“It is with huge regret from the CBF (Confederacao Brasileira de Futebol) that the world of football has been surprised by the death of Carlos Alberto Torres on Tuesday (October 25),” a CBF statement read.
“The legend of the Brazilian national team, the captain of the three-time winners of 1970, died in Rio de Janeiro, victim of a heart attack.
“The wake will be held at the CBF building in Barra da Tijuca. Details will be announced soon.
“The president of the CBF, Marco Polo Del Nero, has declared official mourning for three days. The organisation’s headquarters flags are half-mast. All matches in competitions organised by the CBF will have one minute of silence.
“At 72, Carlos Alberto Torres leaves a huge legacy of achievements and significant collaboration for the development of our football.”
The statement concluded: “Thank you, Capita. Your story will forever be with us.”
A message posted on Alberto’s official Facebook page read: “With great regret we inform you that, on the morning of this Tuesday, our eternal captain, Carlos Alberto Torres, passed away in Rio de Janeiro. #Capitaeterno.”
The defender’s former club Santos, for whom he played more than 400 games and helped win the domestic Brazilian title four times between 1967 and 1973, also said there would be three days of official mourning for a player “considered the best right-back in the history of Praiano Alvinegro”.
Alberto won a total of 53 caps for Brazil, retiring from international football in 1978 following a battle against persistent knee problems.
He also helped Fluminense secure domestic trophies before later in his career enjoying a spell with Cosmos in the North American Soccer League.
The Brazilian moved into management at his former club Flamengo, where his side won the Brazilian championship in 1983, as well as spending time in charge at Corinthians and Fluminense.
Alberto also held coaching roles with Nigeria and Oman before being appointed to take over as national boss of Azerbaijan in 2004. His time there included a 2-0 defeat against Sven-Goran Eriksson’s England at St James’ Park in March 2005.
The World Cup-winning skipper remained a popular figure in Brazil, recently working as a commentator for broadcaster TV Globo on the SporTV cable channel, including just days before his death.
Local media report Alberto had fallen ill at his home in the Barra da Tijuca district of Rio before being taken to the Hospital Rio Mar, where it is said he suffered a cardiac arrest.
Carlos Alberto Torres, to give him his full name, was born in Rio’s Vila da Penha neighbourhood and was just 25 when he won the World Cup, making him the youngest captain to win the tournament.
He was a gifted, attacking full-back, coming through the ranks at Fluminense before moving on to Santos, where he was a team-mate of Pele’s.
He won Brazilian titles with both clubs and was a regular in the Brazil side by the age of 20. He was surprisingly dropped for the 1966 World Cup but was the obvious choice as next skipper when the role became vacant in 1968.
By that time he was already the Santos captain and his leadership skills stood out, earning him the armband ahead of other more senior – and World Cup-winning – candidates.
It was a shrewd decision, vindicated when Carlos Alberto kissed and held aloft the Jules Rimet trophy in Mexico City’s Azteca Stadium. The kissing of cups may be common now, but in this regard he was something of a pioneer.
“When I received the trophy as the captain, my first instinct was to kiss it,” he said. “In fact, I was the first to do it, to kiss the trophy before lifting it up.”
As for the goal itself, Brazil were on the verge of securing an historic third World Cup triumph, leading Italy 3-1 heading into the final four minutes.
After forward Tostao had tracked back to help Piazza clear up an Italian attack, the ball was tapped out of defence and into midfield for Clodoaldo, Pele and Gerson to exchange a triangle of quick passes.
Santos playmaker Clodoaldo then jinked past four Blue shirts, turning one way and then another, with a series of stepovers, before possession was swiftly moved up field by Rivelino, who effortlessly clipped the ball down the left channel to Jairzinho.
The Botafogo winger cut inside across the edge of the Italian penalty area before finding Pele, who has scored the opening goal on 18 minutes, in space just outside the arc.
The Brazil number 10, having glanced sideways, held the ball up before laying it off into the right side of the box and straight into the path of the on-rushing Alberto, who unleashed a fierce drive low into the bottom left corner past Italy goalkeeper Enrico Albertosi.
A total of eight Brazil outfield players had been involved in what is still considered the greatest team goal of all time.
Carlos Alberto, who has died at the age of 72, will be remembered as the captain of Brazil’s brilliant 1970 World Cup-winning side and the scorer of the tournament’s defining goal.
The manner in which Brazil swept to victory in Mexico enchanted fans around the world. It was the first tournament broadcast globally in colour and the Brazilians, their excellence amplified in their bright yellow shirts, were spellbinding.
Their magnificence culminated, and was encapsulated, by the last goal in their 4-1 defeat of Italy in the final.
A flowing move involved all bar one of Brazil’s outfield players and was finished in style when Carlos Alberto charged forward from right-back and thrashed Pele’s pass into the net.
“I realise how beautiful and how important that goal was because everybody is still talking about it,” he said years later, in an interview with the BBC.
“Nobody talks about Pele’s goal, the first goal, the second goal. It is always about the fourth goal. I think it was the best goal ever scored in a World Cup.
“Anybody can score a goal, but in that move nine different players touched the ball before the goal. I was lucky though, because I scored it.”
In fact that was to prove his only World Cup in a career that saw him win 53 international caps.
In all, his playing career spanned 19 years and also included spells with Botafogo, Flamengo, New York Cosmos and California Surf.
He won further honours as a coach with Flamengo, Fluminense and Botafogo and also took charge of sides in the United States, Colombia, Mexico, Oman and Azerbaijan before retiring in 2005.
His life away from football kept him firmly in the spotlight as a politician and in his later years a football commentator, while he was married three times, including to Brazilian actress Teresinha Sodre.
Carlos Alberto had two children to his first wife, Sueli, with his son Alexander making a single appearance for Brazil in 1992.