The World Cup Finals, Sweden 1958. Brazil vs the fearsome USSR. In the opening three minutes - 'the greatest three minutes in the history of football' - one man wrote himself into the record books alongside the game's greatest players, men like Pele, Di Stefano, Puskas and Maradona.
Brazil went on to win the cup, and, in Garrincha, a star was born.
Garrincha was the unlikeliest of footballers - with a right leg that turned inwards and a left that turned out, he looked as if he could barely walk, but with a ball at his feet he had the poise of an angel.
He played for the love of the game, uninterested in money, and ignoring tactical advice. And he was as wild off the pitch as he was mesmerising on it - mischievous, audacious and dripping with sex appeal.
It was his affair and subsequent marriage to the singer Elza Soares that caught the imagination of a nation - their mouth-watering combination of soccer and samba made them the toast of 1960s Rio.
But by the age of forty-nine, Garrincha was dead, destroyed by the excesses that made him so compelling.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 432 pages
- Publisher: Vintage Publishing
- Publication Date: 07/07/2005
- Category: Biography: sport
- ISBN: 9780224064330
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