He was named by Pelé as one of the top 125 greatest living footballers in March 2004 and is often considered to have been the best Brazilian player after Pelé and Garrincha. Zico represented his country in the 1978, 1982 and 1986 World Cups, and scored 52 goals in 72 matches for Brazil. He was chosen 1983 Player of the Year and is considered one of the best players in football history to have never won the World Cup. He was Brazil’s top scorer in their 1982 World Cup campaign, in a team considered one of the best Brazilian National Squads ever. Zico is also particularly famous for his propensity to score beautiful, sometimes seemingly impossible, goals.
Zico comes from a lower-middle-class family, in the suburbs of Quintino, Rio de Janeiro. In common with many Brazilians, he spent his youth playing football for fun all day and dreaming of playing professionally at night. While still a teenager, he caught the attention of the radio reporter Celso Garcia who took him to a trial at Flamengo, beginning his path towards being one of the most admired players in history of football.
Physically, he wasn’t strong and his history of determination and discipline began with a hard muscle and body development program. A combination of hard work and also a special diet sponsored by his team enabled him to develop a strong body and become an athlete. This later proved to be essential for his success.
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