By Ben Tavener, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Former Brazil captain and soccer legend Sócrates, who was widely regarded as one of the greatest midfielders of all time, has died at the age of 57 at a São Paulo hospital. The former footballer died of septic shock on Sunday morning following an infection which had put him on life support.

Brazil Soccer Legend Sócrates, Brazil News
Brazil Soccer Legend Sócrates played for his country in two World Cups, photo by Divulgação.

Brazil’s president Dilma Rousseff said the former player was a “genius”, adding that Brazilians had lost “one of [their] most cherished sons”.

His death fell on the same day that Corinthians – the São Paulo club to which he used to belong – won the top Brasileirão league title in a match marred by brawls which saw four players sent off.

Born Sócrates Brasileiro Sampaio de Souza Vieira de Oliveira, the former footballer, who was also a qualified doctor, famously joined Corinthians in 1978 – scoring 172 goals in 297 games.

He also played for Botafogo and Fiorentina during his sporting career.

He is probably best remembered abroad for the sixty caps he won – serving as Brazil’s captain at the 1982 World Cup, and also appearing at the 1986 World Cup.

He also played for Brazil at the 1979 and 1983 Copa América tournaments, and was named South American Footballer of the Year in 1983.

The word “unique” was often attached to the soccer star who, at 6’ 4” tall, was well-known for his physical strength, but his love of tobacco and alcohol was equally well-documented.

Off the pitch, Sócrates was politically active, but he admitted that it was football that gave him “the chance to get to know human beings.”

Read more (in Portuguese).

* The Rio Times Daily Update is a new feature we are offering to help keep you up-to-date with major news as it happens.


  1. I’ve read that he went to hospital after he and his family suffered food poisoning from beef stroganoff. Whoever served him that nasty stroganoff must feel like a real a**hole right now…


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