Wednesday, 22 May 2024

Garrincha: The Extraordinary Life of a Brazilian Football Legend


Many football legends have risen from challenging conditions, overcoming poverty and limited resources to achieve greatness. Garrincha, born Manoel Francisco dos Santos, is no exception. His inspiring journey from humble beginnings to becoming one of the greatest right-wingers in the history of football is a testament to his determination and love for the game.

Early Life and Struggles

Garrincha’s life had a unique twist right from the start. He was born in the Pau Grande neighborhood of Magé, Rio de Janeiro, in 1933, with misshapen and deformed legs caused by childhood polio. Despite being declared crippled as a child, Garrincha’s indomitable spirit propelled him forward.


His family and friends affectionately called him Garrincha, meaning “Little Bird” in the local dialect, due to his small size and agility. This nickname would eventually become synonymous with his legendary playing style. Although not discovered by football scouts until his late teens, Garrincha’s enormous potential soon became apparent.

Rise to Stardom

Garrincha’s career took off when he joined Botafogo in 1953. His remarkable dribbling skills and quick feet left a lasting impression on both his teammates and opponents. He quickly became a key player for Botafogo, scoring a hat trick in his first game for the first squad.


His exceptional performances in the Campeonato Carioca caught the attention of the national team selectors, leading to his inclusion in the 1958 World Cup squad. Garrincha continued to excel at Botafogo, scoring 232 goals in 581 games and leading the team to numerous victories and honors.

International Success

Garrincha’s talent truly shone on the international stage. He played a pivotal role in Brazil’s victories at the 1958 and 1962 FIFA World Cups, earning individual awards such as the Golden Ball and Golden Boot in the latter. His partnership with Pelé revolutionized Brazil’s attacking strategy and captivated football fans worldwide.


Garrincha’s dribbling skills, feints, and creativity made him a nightmare for defenders to handle. Opponents often marveled at his seemingly impossible movements and acknowledged the challenge of defending against him. His impact on the Brazilian national team’s success solidified his reputation as a true footballing icon.

Playing Style and Legacy

Garrincha’s playing style was characterized by his agility, pace, and exceptional ball control. He possessed an uncanny ability to create scoring opportunities out of thin air, leaving spectators in awe. He was equally adept at scoring goals and providing assists, showcasing his versatility and adaptability on the field.


His legacy extends beyond his on-field excellence. Garrincha’s impact on football history earned him a place in the FIFA World Cup All-Time Team and the World Team of the 20th Century. He was widely recognized as one of the greatest dribblers of all time, and his influence on the game continues to resonate.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What were Garrincha’s physical stats?

  • Height: 1.69 m (5 ft 7 in)
  • Eye Color: Dark Brown
  • Hair Color: Black
  • Weight: 69 Kg

Q: What was Garrincha’s position and jersey number?

  • Position: Right Winger
  • Jersey Number: 7

Q: What are some of Garrincha’s career honors?

  • Winner of the 1958 and 1962 FIFA World Cups
  • Golden Ball and Golden Boot winner in the 1962 World Cup
  • Inducted into the FIFA World Cup All-Time Team and World Team of the 20th Century

Q: How did Garrincha’s personal life affect his career?

Garrincha faced personal struggles, including a drinking problem and numerous car accidents. His marital journey was marked by controversy and strife. These challenges, along with financial hardships, took a toll on his health and ultimately led to his untimely death in 1983.


Garrincha’s extraordinary life and remarkable talent have left an indelible mark on the world of football. Despite his physical limitations, he overcame adversity and became an inspiration to football enthusiasts worldwide. His legacy lives on as one of the most gifted and entertaining players to have ever graced the game.

For more captivating football stories and insights, visit Zerobertooficial. Pay homage to the football legends who have shaped the sport we love and celebrate the joy they brought to the world.