Garrincha: The Triumph and Tragedy of Brazil's Forgotten Footballing Hero

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Random House, Dec 31, 2011 - Biography & Autobiography - 432 pages

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 Pelé, 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.

‘Funny and moving, zealously researched and lovingly told’ Daily Telegraph

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About the author (2011)

Ruy Castro has worked for many of Brazil's top newspapers and magazines. He is also the author of several biographies and collections of quotations. His most recent works include Bossa Nova: The Story of the Brazilian Music that Seduced the World and Rio de Janeiro: Carnival under Fire. He is currently working on a biography of Carmen Miranda. He lives in Rio de Janeiro.

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