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Title: Zico  
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Subject: Bola de Ouro, South American Footballer of the Year, Paulo Roberto Falcão, FC Goa, Romário
Collection: 1953 Births, 1978 Fifa World Cup Players, 1979 Copa América Players, 1982 Fifa World Cup Players, 1986 Fifa World Cup Players, 2003 Fifa Confederations Cup Managers, 2004 Afc Asian Cup Managers, 2005 Fifa Confederations Cup Managers, 2006 Fifa World Cup Managers, Afc Asian Cup-Winning Managers, Al-Gharafa Doha Managers, Brazil International Footballers, Brazilian Beach Soccer Players, Brazilian Bloggers, Brazilian Expatriate Footballers, Brazilian Expatriates in Italy, Brazilian Expatriates in Turkey, Brazilian Football Chairmen and Investors, Brazilian Football Managers, Brazilian Footballers, Brazilian People of Portuguese Descent, Brazilian Sportsperson-Politicians, Campeonato Brasileiro Série a Players, Clube De Regatas Do Flamengo Footballers, Expatriate Football Managers in Greece, Expatriate Football Managers in India, Expatriate Football Managers in Iraq, Expatriate Football Managers in Japan, Expatriate Football Managers in Qatar, Expatriate Football Managers in Russia, Expatriate Football Managers in Turkey, Expatriate Footballers in Italy, Expatriate Footballers in Japan, Fenerbahçe Football Managers, Fifa 100, Indian Super League Head Coaches, Iraq National Football Team Managers, J.League Players, Japan National Football Team Managers, Japan Soccer League Players, Kashima Antlers Managers, Kashima Antlers Players, Living People, Olympiacos F.C. Managers, Pfc Cska Moscow Managers, Russian Football Premier League Managers, Russian Premier League Managers, Serie a Players, South American Footballer of the Year Winners, Sportspeople from Rio De Janeiro (City), Süper Lig Managers, Superleague Greece Managers, Udinese Calcio Players, World Soccer Magazine World Player of the Year Winners
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Zico with Fenerbahçe in 2007
Personal information
Full name Arthur Antunes Coimbra
Date of birth (1953-03-03) 3 March 1953
Place of birth Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Height 1.72 m (5 ft 7 12 in)[1]
Playing position Attacking midfielder
Club information
Current team
FC Goa (manager)
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1971–1983 Flamengo 212 (123)
1983–1985 Udinese 39 (22)
1985–1989 Flamengo 37 (12)
1991–1994 Kashima Antlers 45 (35)
Total 332 (192)
National team
1976–1986 Brazil 71 (48)
Teams managed
1999 Kashima Antlers
2000–2002 CFZ
2002–2006 Japan
2006–2008 Fenerbahçe
2008 Bunyodkor
2009 CSKA Moscow
2009–2010 Olympiacos
2011–2012 Iraq
2013–2014 Al-Gharafa
2014– FC Goa

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

† Appearances (goals)

Arthur Antunes Coimbra (Portuguese pronunciation: , born 3 March 1953 in Rio de Janeiro), better known as Zico (), is a Brazilian coach and former footballer. Often called the "White Pelé", he was a creative player, gifted with excellent technical ability and vision,[2] and he is considered one of the most skilled finishers and best passers ever.[3] Arguably the world's best player of the late 1970s and early 80s, he is regarded as one of the best playmakers and free kick specialists of all time, able to bend the ball in all directions.[4] In 1999, Zico came eighth in the FIFA Player of the Century grand jury vote, and in 2004 was named in the FIFA 100 list of the world's greatest living players.[5][6] According to Pelé, generally considered the best player ever, "throughout the years, the one player that came closest to me was Zico".[7]

With 48 goals in 71 official appearances for Brazil, Zico is the fourth highest goalscorer for his national team.[8] He represented them in the 1978, 1982 and 1986 World Cups. They did not win any of those tournaments, even though the 1982 squad is considered one of the greatest Brazilian national squads ever.[9] Zico is often considered one of the best players in football history not to have been on a World Cup winning squad. He was chosen 1981[10] and 1983 Player of the Year.

Zico has coached the Japanese national team, appearing in the 2006 FIFA World Cup and winning the Asian Cup 2004, and Fenerbahçe, who were a quarter-finalist in 2007–08 in the Champions League under his command. He was announced as the head coach of CSKA Moscow in January 2009. On 16 September 2009, Zico was signed by Greek side Olympiacos for a two-year contract after the club's previous coach, Temuri Ketsbaia, was sacked. He was fired four months later, on 19 January 2010.,[11]


  • Early years 1
  • Youth career 2
  • Club career 3
    • Flamengo (1971–1983) 3.1
    • Udinese (1983–1985) 3.2
    • Back to Flamengo (1985–1989) 3.3
    • Brief retirement 3.4
    • Kashima Antlers (1991–1994) 3.5
  • International career 4
  • Retirement 5
  • Career statistics 6
  • Honours 7
    • Club honours 7.1
    • International honours 7.2
    • Individual honours 7.3
    • Beach soccer 7.4
  • Coaching career 8
    • Japan 8.1
    • Fenerbahçe 8.2
    • Bunyodkor, CSKA Moscow, and Olympiakos 8.3
    • Iraq 8.4
    • Al-Gharafa 8.5
    • FC Goa 8.6
    • Honours 8.7
  • Administrative roles 9
  • Personal life 10
  • References 11
  • External links 12

Early years

Born in 1953, Zico came from a lower-middle-class family of Portuguese origin, in the neighborhood of Quintino Bocaiúva, Rio de Janeiro. In common with many young Brazilians, he spent much of his youth dreaming of being a professional footballer and cutting classes to play football on the streets. His passion for the sport made him famous in the neighborhood, where people would gather to see the boy's brilliant performances against older children and teenagers. At that time he was playing for Juventude, a local futsal street team ran by his older brothers and friends, and had also begun to play for futsal club River Futebol Clube on Sundays.

In 1967, at 14 years old, he had a scheduled trial at América, where his brothers Antunes[12] and Edu were professional players. But on a Sunday, during a River match, Zico scored 9 goals and caught the attention of radio reporter Celso Garcia, who asked Zico's father to take him to a trial at Flamengo instead. Being a Flamengo fan, Zico had his father's approval, beginning his path towards becoming one of the most admired players in the history of the sport.

Youth career

Zico was not physically strong, and his story of determination and discipline began with a hard muscle and body development program conducted by the physical education teacher José Roberto Francalacci. A combination of hard work and also a special diet sponsored by his team enabled Zico to develop a strong body and become an athlete. This later proved to be essential for his success.[13]

During 1971 and 1972, he shifted from youth to professional team and back. Coach Fleitas Solich had confidence in Zico's abilities and promoted him, on the other hand the situation changed when the Paraguayan coach left and Zagallo took over. He believed Zico to be too young and sent him back to the youth team. Things only improved for Zico when Joubert, his first coach at the youth team, was appointed the new coach for the seniors and fully promoted him after 116 matches and 81 goals in the youth team.

Club career

Flamengo (1971–1983)

While at Flamengo, Zico was a key player during the most glorious period of the team's history. Along with many other titles, in his first period at Flamengo he led the team to victory in the 1981 free kicks.[9]

Udinese (1983–1985)

After receiving offers from AS Roma and AC Milan, moving to Italy seemed right and a four-million dollar proposal from Udinese was on the table. Such amount of money made bigger clubs pressure the FIGC that blocked the transfer expecting financial guarantees. This caused a commotion in Udine as enraged Friulians flocked to the streets in protest against the Italian federation and the federal government. Historical reasons would made them shout "O Zico, o Austria!" ("Either Zico or Austria"). At the end of the controversy, the deal went through and though leaving Flamengo fans in sadness, Zico made the Friulians fans finally dream of better days.

In the 1983–84 Serie A, his first in Italy, his partnership with Franco Causio promised to take Udinese to a higher level, gaining respect from giants Juventus and AS Roma. His free kicks caused such an impact that TV sports programs would debate how to stop them. Despite his excellent performance, the club's season ended in disappointment as Udinese, in spite of scoring almost twice as many goals as the previous year, only gathered 32 points and was ninth in the final standing, losing three places in comparison to 1982–83. His personal top scoring dispute against Juventus's Michel Platini was exciting – Zico scored 19 goals, one fewer than top scorer Platini, having played 4 fewer matches than the French footballer due to an injury. Plus, he was voted 1983 Player of the Year by World Soccer Magazine.

His following season would be punctuated by injuries and suspensions for openly attacking referees. He also used to complain about the board's lack of ambition for not signing competitive players, which made the team too dependent on him. Furthermore, Italian tax officials pressed charges against him for tax evasion. Pressured, Zico delivered an amazing display against Diego Maradona's Napoli, his last match as a bianconero, and returned to Brazil and Flamengo, sponsored by a group of companies.

He became a fan favorite with his spectacular goals and is still adored now by all Udinese fans.[14]

Back to Flamengo (1985–1989)

Only one month after returning, he suffered a severe knee injury after a violent tackle from Bangu's defender Marcio Nunes, which interrupted his career for several months. Recovered from injuries, things improved for Zico in 1987 when he led Flamengo to its fourth national title.[15]

December 1989 marks Zico's last official appearance for Flamengo in a Brazilian National Championship match against rivals Fluminense. Zico scored the first goal and Flamengo won the match 5–0.[16]

Two months later, at Mario Kempes, Paul Breitner, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and Falcão.[17] With 731 matches for Flamengo, Zico is the player with the 2nd most appearances for the club. His 508 goals make him the club's top scorer ever.

The achievements of the greatest idol in Flamengo's history[18][19] inspired the Brazilian singer

  • Facebook
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  • Zico statistics "FIFA World Cup
  • Statistics Foundation - "Zico" - Goals in International Matches
  • Zico: The Movie
  • Zico na rede: The Movie - Documentary
  • Zico goals on YouTube

External links

  1. ^ "Biography for Zico". 
  2. ^ "Zico Arthur Antunes Coimbra". Retrieved 30 January 2015. 
  3. ^ John Brewin (23 April 2002). "World Cup 1982 (Spain)".  
  4. ^ "Kings of the free-kick". Retrieved 22 August 2014
  5. ^ "FIFA Player of the Century" (PDF). Retrieved 30 November 2010. 
  6. ^ "Pele's list of the greatest". BBC Sport. 4 March 2004. Retrieved 15 June 2013. 
  7. ^ Oswaldo Tinhorão
  8. ^ Ricardo Pontes. "Arthur Antunes Coimbra "Zico" – Goals in International Matches". RSSSF. Retrieved 2013-09-15. 
  9. ^ a b Daniel Pearl (3 April 2006). "No flair please, he's Brazilian". London: BBC. Retrieved 3 July 2006. 
  10. ^ Brasileño Zico—futbolista del año
  11. ^ "Olympiacos sack Zico after four months in charge".  
  12. ^
  13. ^ "From Quintino's Juventude to Flamengo". 
  14. ^
  15. ^ "Zico conquers The World". 
  16. ^ (See match 62: C.R. Flamengo 5 x 0 Fluminense (RJ))
  17. ^ "Maracanã 90: Almost a goodbye". 
  18. ^ "Zico: Profile" (in Português). 
  19. ^ "Zico – 50 years" (in Português). 
  20. ^ Matthias Greulich (22 June 2006). "The savior ventures more democracy". Der Spiegel (in Deutsch). 
  21. ^ Dominic Raynor (24 May 2006). "Rising sons with higher hopes".  
  22. ^ "Zico – Legends of the Football World Cup". Retrieved 23 June 2006. 
  23. ^ """Zico Penalty Miss : "Platini went on to tap on Zico’s shoulder to console him right after the penalty. Retrieved 2 February 2015. 
  24. ^ According to data from, and
  25. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s "Zico – Trophies". Retrieved 27 October 2015. 
  26. ^ Record of goals for Flamengo in a single season Site. Zico na rede – Flamengo 1974
  27. ^ Record of goals for Flamengo in a single season and scorer of Brazil in the year Site. Zico na rede – Flamengo 1976
  28. ^ Brazil's top scorer this season Site. Zico na rede – 1977
  29. ^ Record of goals for Flamengo in a single season and scorer of Brazil Site. Zico na rede – Flamengo 1979
  30. ^ Brazil's top scorer this season Site. Zico na rede – 1980
  31. ^ ABC MADRID Madrid, December 23, 1980
  32. ^ Jurado eligió al brasileño Zico como futbolista del año, por delante de Maradona, Rummenigge, Kalíz, Blokhine, Krol, Júnior y Breitner ABC – Madrid, December 19, 1981
  33. ^ Brazil's top scorer this season Site. Zico na rede – 1982
  34. ^ FIFA XI – 1979, 1982 – – FIFA XI
  35. ^ World Soccer Footballer of the Year 1982
  36. ^ World Soccer Footballer of the Year 1983
  37. ^ Chevron Award 1983-84
  38. ^ [2]
  39. ^ World Soccer Footballer of the Year 1984
  40. ^ "FIFA Order of Merit" (PDF). Retrieved 21 January 2015. 
  41. ^ "Legends". Golden Foot. Retrieved 23 September 2015. 
  42. ^ "Japan look to Zico".  
  43. ^ "Japanese players dropped over alleged drinking incident". Associated Press. 19 March 2004. 
  44. ^ "Under-fire Zico gets boost from supporters". Agence France-Presse. 6 March 2004. 
  45. ^ "Hand of Nakata gives Japan Asian Cup victory". Agence France-Presse. 7 August 2004. 
  46. ^ "Samba stars to join Garforth Town". London: BBC. 27 October 2004. Retrieved 29 October 2005. 
  47. ^ "Fenerbahçe sign Zico as coach". Reuters. 4 July 2006. Retrieved 4 July 2006. 
  48. ^ "Zico takes charge at Olympiacos".  
  49. ^ "Brazilian Zico appointed as Olympiakos coach".  
  50. ^ "Zico says he is disappointed with life as coach". USA Today. 20 January 2010. 
  51. ^
  52. ^
  53. ^
  54. ^ "ISL: FC Goa Thrash Chennaiyin FC 3-1 to Seal Semi-Final Berth". NDTV. Retrieved 9 December 2014. 
  55. ^


In 1975 he married Sandra Carvalho de Sá, whose sister, Sueli, is Edu's wife. Zico has three sons, Arthur Jr., Bruno, and Thiago.[55] He is also a member of the legendary squad Classic Eleven from the FIFA video games series.

Zico was the youngest of six children—Maria José (Zezé), Antunes, Nando, Edu and Antônio (Tonico).

Zico is the grandson of Fernando Antunes Coimbra (paternal grandfather) and Arthur Ferreira da Costa Silva (maternal grandfather), both Portuguese. His father, José Antunes Coimbra, also Portuguese (b. Tondela, 1901; d. Rio de Janeiro, 1986), came to Brazil at age of 10. Zico's mother, Matilde Ferreira da Silva Costa, was born in 1919.

Personal life

On June 10th 2015, Zico officially announced he would run for the FIFA presidency role after the recent announcement of Sepp Blatter's resignation following the alleged corruption surrounding the winning bids from Russia and Qatar to host the 2018 and 2022 tournaments.

On 30 May 2010, it was announced that Zico would become the new Flamengo's football director on a four-year deal, coming back to the team where he won his most important honors after 25 years. This comeback, however, lasted only five months as he resigned due to disagreements with the board.

Administrative roles

CSKA Moscow


Indian Super League side FC Goa signed Zico as their coach for the debut season in 2014. [53] Though Goa had a slow start to the season, they ultimately qualified for the semifinals with a game in hand by defeating Chennaiyin FC.[54]

Zico in East Bengal tent with the club's coach Armando Colaco

FC Goa

On 6 August 2013, he signed a two-year deal to coach, Al-Gharafa. [52]


He signed a contract with Iraq Football Federation on 28 August 2011 and first managed the national team in a match against Jordan on 2 September 2011. Zico resigned as coach of the Iraqi national team on 27 November 2012 after little more than a year in the post, saying the country’s football association had failed to fulfill the terms of his contract. He had 10 wins and six draws in 21 games with Iraq.


Less than a week later Zico signed a 2-year contract with Olympiacos F.C..[48][49] Despite the absence of numerous first-team players due to injuries, he led the Greek club to a comfortable 2nd place in Group H of the Champions League, earning the qualification to the knockout stage. In the Greek Superleague his first results were also impressive, but the success lasted only till early winter and the fans started to complain about both the results and the playing style of the team. And they were ready to use violence against him (or his team) in order to achieve their ends.[50] Finally on 19 January 2010, after a negative series of 4 matches with just one win, though his team lost only two times (twelve wins and four draws) in the Greek Superleague, Zico was sacked.[51]

In 2008, he coached FC Bunyodkor in Uzbekistan, where he won the Uzbekistani Cup and the Uzbek League. He subsequently took over at Russian side CSKA Moscow but was fired on 10 September 2009.

Zico in 2009 as manager of PFC CSKA Moscow

Bunyodkor, CSKA Moscow, and Olympiakos

On 8 September 2008, Zico revealed that he would be interested taking over the vacant managers position at Newcastle United following the resignation of Kevin Keegan. He is quoted saying "The Newcastle job is one that I would be very interested in taking. It would be a privilege and an honour, I've always wanted to experience the Premier League as I believe I could enjoy much success coaching in England." He also commented that he isn't bothered about the structure of the board at Newcastle United, "I am used to working alongside technical directors so this isn't an issue for me. It's normal for me to work in those conditions."

Zico was given a new nickname by Fenerbahçe fans: Kral Arthur (meaning "King Arthur" in Turkish). For the team's nickname King Arthur and his Knights. In a chat hosted by he pointed out that it is unlikely he will sign a contract extension with Fenerbahçe. This was confirmed on 10 June 2008 when he resigned as Fenerbahce manager.

In July 2006, signed a two-year deal with Fenerbahçe.[47] He won the league title in 2007 and won Turkish Super Cup on the first year of his job. Under his command Fenerbahçe has qualified from UEFA Champions League 2007–08 groups stage for the first time of club's history and beat Sevilla FC to become a quarter-finalist in 2007–08 season. So far, he also is the team's most successful manager in the history of the European arena.


However, Japan failed to win a single match at the Finals, losing twice (to Australia and Brazil) and drawing once (to Croatia), and scoring just two goals while conceding seven. He resigned from Japan at the end of the World Cup campaign.

Despite the rocky start, injuries to key players and even a bizarre offer from Garforth Town,[46] Zico has led Japan to its third World Cup finals appearance and the third Asian Cup title in four tries. His Japanese team was heavily influenced by Brazil's short passing style, and he was flexible enough to switch between 4-4-2 and 3–5–2 formations. In addition, he has had a respectable record on European soil, beating Czech Republic and Greece and drawing with England, Brazil and most recently Germany.

He stayed on, however, and won the 2004 Asian Cup despite intimidation from Chinese fans and a team that featured just one European-based player, Shunsuke Nakamura.[45] He then helped Japan qualify for the 2006 FIFA World Cup with just one loss.

Although Zico attempted to instill a free-flowing, attacking mentality to the team, his regime got off to an uneven start, which included a 4–1 loss to Argentina in 2003. Japan had a respectable showing at that year's Confederations Cup but struggled again in the beginning of 2004, only narrowly beating Oman in the first stage of qualifying for the 2006 FIFA World Cup and several players were suspended after a drinking incident.[43] Although Japan had not lost in its nine previous matches, he was rumored to be on the verge of resigning and a small group of fans marched in the streets of Tokyo demanding his firing.[44]

After the 2002 FIFA World Cup, Japan Football Association looked for a replacement for the outgoing Philippe Troussier, and chose Zico as his successor. Despite his lack of coaching experience besides his stint as Brazil's technical coordinator during the 1998 World Cup, Zico had great understanding of Japanese soccer from his playing days and his role as Kashima's technical director. In addition, JFA had grown tired of Troussier's clashes with the media while the players were frustrated with his micromanagement. In contrast, Zico commanded respect from reporters and urged players to express themselves on the pitch.[42]


Coaching career

Beach soccer

  • All-Time
    • Top Scorer in Flamengo's history – 508 goals
    • Top Scorer in Maracanã Stadium – 333 goals
  • 2010
    • 10th Greatest Footballer of All Time – World Soccer Magazine (England)
  • 1992
  • 1984
    • Second highest scorer of the Italian League – 19 goals
    • Chevron Award (best goal per game ratio in Italian Serie A – 0.79)[37]
    • Serie A Player of the Year - Guerin Sportivo[38]
    • 3rd World Player of the Year – World Soccer Magazine (England)[39]

Individual honours


International honours

Kashima Antlers[25]

Club honours


Brazil National Team
(official matches)
Year Apps Goals
1976 9 6
1977 7 6
1978 11 3
1979 5 5
1980 5 4
1981 12 10
1982 11 8
1983 1 0
1984 0 0
1985 5 3
1986 5 3
Total 71 48

1Domestic Cups include Copa do Brasil, Coppa Italia, J. League Cup and Emperor's Cup
2Continental competitions include Copa Libertadores and Supercopa Sudamericana
3Include Intercontinental Cup

Club Season Domestic
Regional League
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Flamengo 1971 15 2 2 0 17 2
1972 4 0 2 0 6 0
1973 26 8 9 0 35 8
1974 19 12 31 20 50 32
1975 27 10 28 30 55 40
1976 20 14 27 18 47 32
1977 18 10 29 27 47 37
1978 0 0 22 19 22 19
1979 8 5 17 + 26 (43) 26 + 34 (60) 51 65
1980 19 21 26 19 45 40
1981 8 3 33 25 13 11 54 + 13 39
1982 23 21 21 21 4 2 48 44
1983 25 17 3 3 28 20
Total 212 123 273 239 20 16 506 378
Udinese 1983–84 24 19 9 5 33 24
1984–85 15 3 5 3 20 6
Total 39 22 14 8 53 30
1985 3 1 3 2 6 3
1986 0 0 4 3 4 3
1987 12 5 5 1 17 6
1988 14 4 6 0 20 4
1989 8 2 11 2 7 3 1 0 27 7
Total 37 12 29 8 7 3 1 0 74 23
Sumitomo Metals FC
1991–92 22 21 22 21
Kashima Antlers
1992 12 7 12 7
1993 16 9 7 3 23 12
1994 7 5 7 5
Total 45 35 19 10 64 45
Career Totals 333 192 302 247 40 21 21 16 698 476
  • This information is based on Zico's senior career totals.[24]

Career statistics

Zico retired from professional football during the 1994 season but received an invitation to play beach soccer, winning the Beach Soccer World Cup 1995. Scoring 12 goals, he was the top scorer and was named the best player of the tournament. He returned to Kashima to become the Antlers' technical adviser in 1995, splitting his time between Japan and Brazil – where he still managed to find time to play beach soccer. One year later, in 1996, he founded CFZ (Zico Football Centre) in Rio de Janeiro. Zico founded another club, named CFZ de Brasília, in 1999.


Having been cleared of all the tax evasion charges by Italian officials in 1988, Zico decided to pay a tribute to Udine, the city that had madly welcomed him six years before, and played his farewell match for the Seleção in March 1989 losing 1–2 to a World All-Stars team at Stadio Friuli.

He played in the 1986 FIFA World Cup while still injured, and missed a penalty during regular time in the quarter-final match against France.[23] The match ended in a tie which led to a shootout. Zico then scored his goal, but penalties missed by Sócrates and Júlio César knocked Brazil out.

The 1982 World Cup would see Zico as part of a fantastic squad, side by side with Falcão, Sócrates, Cerezo and Júnior. In spite of his 4 goals and the great amount of skill in that squad, the team was defeated by Paolo Rossi and Italy in the second round group stage.

In the 1978 World Cup against Sweden, Zico headed a corner kick into the goal in the final minute of the match, apparently breaking a 1–1 tie. However, in a call that became infamous, the Welsh referee Clive Thomas disallowed the goal, saying that he had blown the whistle to end the match while the ball was still in the air. Zico won a bronze medal for Brazil at the 1978 World Cup, defeating Italy in the 3rd place final.[22] Zico also won another bronze medal with Brazil in the 1979 Copa América.

An episode related to Brazil national football team almost made Zico give up on his career. He made his international debut in the South American Qualifier to the 1972 Summer Olympics playing 5 matches and scoring the qualifying goal against Argentina. Despite this fact, he wasn't called up to the Munich games. He felt extremely frustrated and told his father in dismay he wanted to stop playing football. He even got absent from training at Flamengo for 10 days, being later convinced otherwise by his brothers.

International career

His discipline, talent and professionalism meshed very well with Japanese culture, and his influence earned him the nickname, "God of Soccer" (サッカーの神様 sakkā no kamisama) from Japanese soccer fans.[20] He became a local legend in Japan for having built a contender from almost nothing and putting the city of Kashima on the map. A statue in his honor stands outside Kashima Soccer Stadium.[21]

In 1991, Zico interrupted his political assignment when he accepted an offer to join the Sumitomo Metal Industries Football Club in Kashima, Ibaraki Prefecture, to help the club secure a place in Japan's first fully professional football league that was set to officially launch in 1993 – J. League. Zico played for Sumitomo in 1991–92, the last season before the old Japan Soccer League was disbanded, and finished as the league's top scorer. When the new league launched, the small town club, renamed Kashima Antlers, was not expected to compete with richer, more glamorous clubs like Yokohama Marinos and Verdy Kawasaki. Zico, however, helped the Antlers to win the J.League Suntory Series and a runners-up finish in its inaugural season, leading the club to cement its place among the league's elite.

Kashima Antlers (1991–1994)

After Brazil's first presidential election in many years, the new president Fernando Collor de Mello appointed Zico as his Minister of Sports. Zico stayed at this political assignment for about a year and his most important contribution was a piece of legislation dealing with the business side of sport teams.

Zico represented Brazil in the World Cup of Masters, scoring in the final of the 1990 and 1991 editions.

Brief retirement
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