Brazil football legend Socrates dies aged 57

 

The Brazilian Football Federation have paid tribute to former national team captain Socrates, who died today aged 57.

The former midfield great was being treated for food poisoning at the Albert Einstein Hospital in Sao Paulo but, owing to his already ill-health - this was his third hospital admission of the year - he was unable to recover.

Speaking after his initial hospitalisation in August, Socrates revealed his poor condition was the result of alcohol abuse.

A statement on the Brazilian Federation's website, http://www.cbf.com.br, said Socrates died of severe septicaemia early this morning.

"President Ricardo Teixeira, on behalf of the directors and staff of CBF, expressed sorrow over the death of Socrates, the captain of the Brazilian team in the 1982 World Cup," said the statement.

Socrates is regarded as one of the greatest players of his generation, a cultured midfielder who won 60 caps for Brazil, scoring 22 goals.

He captained the 'Selecao' at the 1982 World Cup and also played at the 1986 tournament in Mexico, although never managed to win football's biggest prize.

His club career included spells at Botafogo, Corinthians, Fiorentina, Flamengo and Santos, while in 2004 he famously came out of retirement at the age of 50 to make a one-off substitute appearance for English lower-league side Garforth Town.

Simon Clifford, the man who was responsible for taking Socrates to Garforth, was quick to pay his respects.

Writing on his Twitter page, he said: "Another sad weekend for football with the passing of our friend Socrates, wonderful player & principled man who stood by his values, RIP."

A qualified doctor - he took his exams while playing - Socrates was named in World Soccer's top 100 players of all-time and was put up as one of compatriot Pele's 125 greatest-ever players.

His brother Rai succeeded where Socrates failed, winning the World Cup with Brazil in 1994.

Socrates will be buried at 1700 local time today, while a minute's silence will also be held before every match in the final round of the Campeonato Brasileiro.

His former club Corinthians need a point in their season finale against Palmeiras to win the title.

PA

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