Having the name of a classical Greek philosopher was always going to mark you out as different (sorry Dave), and by crikey, Socrates Brasileiro Sampaio de Sousa Vieira de Oliveira was certainly that
Brazil doesn’t make regular footballers, it makes great ones. But to really gain lauded status in what can only be ranked as a Northern Rock-esq queue to the hall of fame, Socrates was always going to be in the Fast-Track aisle.
He smoked, he drank, he liked his ladies, and he was a doctor (just in case). And with this he championed an ‘anti-athlete’ approach to his job, preferring to hang-out with political radicals than fellow footballers - he was a key figure in dislodging his home country’s military junta.
But the world at large will always remember him for his World Cup appearances, where he danced, out-thought and out-played his opponents, backed by a team that included Zico, Eder and Falcao.
The 1982 battle of Brazilian style versus Italian organisation is in the pantheon of all-time football encounters. Though it ended in a 3-2 defeat for the Samba boys, they did it their way, and that summed up the great man.
Though he passed this month, there will probably never been a more graceful 6’ 4” competitor, and none as philosophical.
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