70: Meet the best winners ever

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Fancy meeting the Brazil 1970 team? That was Paul Joseph's job – and it wasn't always the kind of fun you might expect...

In July 2006, specialist ‘Big Book’ publishers Gloria launched their authorised coffee-table tome, Pele. Weighing in at 12kgs, each of the 2,500 copies, all signed by Edson Arantes do Nascimento himself, were priced at £1600. In addition to this limited edition book, there were 150 ‘Carnival’ editions, each containing a special print of Brazil’s 1970 World Cup-winning side, signed by the other nine surviving members plus coach Mario Zagallo, and priced at a cool £4,000.

As an assistant editor with Gloria at the time, I had to find these legends and convince them to put pen to paper. In doing so, I discovered what became of the members of the greatest football team of all time.

From left to right:
4 Carlos Alberto (right-back)
Brazil’s captain Carlos Alberto Torres was reunited with Pele for the New York Cosmos in 1977, before a long and topsy-turvy coaching career, most recently with the Azerbaijan national team. He resigned in 2005 after being assaulting the fourth official and running onto the pitch claiming the referee had being bribed in a match against Holland.

When I meet Carlos Alberto in Rio, he bemoans the ills of the modern game. “The players earn too much money,” he sighs. “Look at Thierry Henry – with his talent he should be the best player in the world, but he plays like he’s doing his team a favour.”

2 Brito (centre-back)
Hercules Brito Ruas carried on playing until 1979, when he was 40, before going on to coach children in Rio de Janeiro.

8 Gerson (midfielder)
The scorer of the second goal to put Brazil back ahead in the 1970 final, Gerson  de Oliveira Nunes was known as Canhotinha de Oro' - 'Golden Left Foot'. A leading radio and television commentator, he dedicates the rest of his time to Projecto Gérson, a charity providing schools to underprivileged children.

When left out of Pele’s list of 125 greatest living footballers Gerson expressed his anger by crying and tearing up the list on Brazilian TV and his views on his former team-mate remain hostile. “Pele just wants to make money. It’s all he cares about. He lacks morals. The other day I saw him crying on TV because his son was arrested again, but everything he does is an act!” So there.

3 Wilson Piazza (centre-back)
Brito’s defensive partner (who could also, naturally, play in midfield) went on to play in the 1974 World Cup and after leaving the game he became director of a former players' association in Belo Horizonte.

16 Everaldo (left-back)
Left-back Everaldo Marques da Silva was the only Brazilian in the final whose shirt number wasn't between 1 and 11. He was aged just 30 when he died in a car crash in 1974.

9 Tostão (forward)
After leaving the game at 27 due to a detached retina, Eduardo Gonçalves de Andrade (better known as Tostão, meaning 'Little Coin') qualified as a physician but made another career change in the 1990s and is now Brazil’s best-known football pundit and columnist.

Despite this, he is something of a recluse, living as he does on top of a hill outside Belo Horizonte. Repeatedly refused to sign the 1970 photographs for the Pele book until eventually agreeing in return for donations to several charities.

5 Clodoaldo (midfielder)
Clodoaldo Tavares de Santana made up for his intercepted backheel creating Italy's equaliser by going on the mazy run which started Carlos Alberto’s famous fourth goal in the final. He retired in 1978 at the age of 29 following knee surgery. Having spent his entire playing career at Santos he became a director at the club. Still good friends with goalkeeper Felix.

11 Roberto Rivelino (left-winger)
The son of Italian immigrants went on to play 122 times for Brazil before moving Saudi Arabia to play for Al-Hilal. Rivelino turned to broadcasting after retiring in 1981 and now runs a very successful soccer school in Sao Paulo. He also runs a bar in city’s Boa Vista district, where he can often be found signing autographs and regaling punters with stories of football and women.

10 Pele (forward)
Edson Arantes do Nascimento quit international football in 1971 and famously went on the play for the New York Cosmos. Has taken on several ambassadorial and acting roles – notably in Viagra adverts and Escape to Victory – is now a member of FIFA’s Football Committee. However, although arguably the greatest footballer of all time, he isn’t popular with all of his ex-team-mates...

7 Jairzinho (right-winger)
One of only three players to score in every game of a World Cup finals tournament, including the winner against England and the third goal in the final, Jair Ventura Filho won 81 caps for Brazil over 18 years. Finished his career playing in Venezuela in 1982 and had a reasonably undistinguished coaching career, before famously discovering a 14-year-old Ronaldo.

1 Felix (goalkeeper)
After hanging up his boots (and gloves), Félix Miéli Venerando became a car salesman in Sao Paulo, but has now retired. Short, hunched and nothing like what you’d expect a World Cup-winning goalkeeper to look like, Felix still hasn’t forgiven Franny Lee for kicking him in the head during the Brazil-England game in 1970.

Coach: Mario Zagallo

The coach in 1970 was already a two-time World Cup winner as a player. He was assistant coach when Brazil won the 1994 World Cup and coach when they lost in the final to France in 1998. Again returned to the post for 2006, but was so upset about Brazil's failure that he refused to sign the 1970 photographs until he’d emerged from his pit of despair.

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