Garrincha Biography

by poonam bisht

Download match schedule for 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil in PDF, XLS and DOC formats. Download Download xls Download doc Name Garrincha (Manuel Francisco dos Santos) (Right Winger Forward) Born…

Download match schedule for 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil in PDF, XLS and DOC formats.

Name Garrincha (Manuel Francisco dos Santos) (Right Winger Forward)
Born On 28th October, 1933
Played For Clubs: Botafogo, Corinthians, Portuguessa Carioca, Atletico Junior, Flamengo, Olaria
Team Brazil National Football Team
World Cup Played Played 1958 World Cup
Played 1962 World Cup
Played 1966 World Cup


The man who has been considered by FIFA as the most effective player from Brazil after Pele is Manuel Francisco dos Santos, most popularly known as Garrincha. The best dribbler in the history of football has garnered immense admiration in his country and also around the world. The popular football icon helped Brazil win the World Football Cup in 1958 and 1962 when he became captain of the team on behalf of Pele.


Garrincha was born on 28th October, 1933 in Pau Grande district of Mage, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Misfortunes surrounded him from the very early age as his father was a dipsomaniac who drunk cachaca (distilled spirit) heavily, the problem which his son inherited. Garrincha also suffered from several birth defects which resulted in his deformed spine, inward bending of the right leg, and left leg six centimeters shorter curving outwards. He was also smaller than other counterparts of his age group and this short length prompted his sister Rosa to call him with the name ‘Garrincha’, which means a little brown bird. The name then stuck to his personality. But despite of these impeding birth defects, the youngster became one of the top soccer players coming from an impoverished area.

Garrincha was a well-known name among football club scouts but he was not interested in professional football until his late teenage years. He started playing for the Botafogo club in 1953 when he was 20 years of age where during the training session his extraordinary dribbling skills forced Brazilian international defender and midfielder Nilton Santos who requested the officials to hire him for Brazil. Garrincha showed outstanding performance for Botafoga’s reserves and scored a hat-trick in his debut match against Bonsucesso. Eduardo Galeano, legendary South American writer, in his book Soccer in Sun and Shadow mentions about him saying: “When he was in form, the pitch became a circus. The ball became an obedient animal, and the game became an invitation to party. Garrincha would shield his pet, the ball, and together they would conjure up some wonderful tricks that would have the spectators in stitches. He would hop over her, and she would bounce over him. Then she would hide before he would escape only to find her already running in front of him. Along the way, his pursuers would crash into each other in their attempts to stop him.”

Garrincha’s career lasted as a professional footballer until 1972. The immense success he achieved in his lifetime was in simultaneous contrast to his personal life which suffered heavily due to alcoholic behavior throughout his adult life which led to serious accidents several times. In the final years before his death, he lived an obscure life and eventually seemed to have become a forgotten hero. A year before his death, he was hospitalized eight times. After a series of marital and financial problems, Garrincha died from cirrhosis of liver after being in an alcoholic coma on January 20, 1983. His inscription reads” Here rests in peace the one who was the Joy of the People’s Mane Garrincha”.


Garrincha was popular for his outstanding control of the ball, precision and dribbling skills. FIFA in their official tribute to him refers him as “The Chaplin of Football”. Despite his brilliant performance under the club, he was not enlisted in the 1954 World Cup squad but helped Botafoga to win the national level tournament Campeonato Carioca in 1957 scoring a record 20 goals in just 26 games. Looking at this excellent performance, national team selectors selected him for the 1958 World Cup squad and he was thus, part of the victorious team. He then played in the 1962 World Cup leading his team on behalf of football legend Pele, who suffered an injury after the second match and was shelved from the rest of tournament. Garrincha then led the team dramatically to the path of victory. He has secured several national, international and individual titles in his lifetime career. Besides with the winning side in 1958 and 1962 World Football Cups, he won and shared the World Cup Golden Shoe award with other players, named World Football Cup top scorer in 1962, World Football Cup Player of the Tournament 962, inducted in Brazilian Football Museum Hall of Fame, in the team of the 20th century and the World Cup team of all time. He also won national titles like Rio-Sao Paulo Tournament and Brazilian Championship twice each in 1962 and 1964 and State Championship thrice (1957, 1961 and 1962).


Garrincha was married twice. He first married in 1952 to Nair Marques who was a factory worker with whom he had eight daughters. They got separated in 1965. The second marriage was with a Brazilian Samba Singer Elza Sores in 1966 in an unofficial ceremony. The couple got separated in 1977 following a heated argument. Garrincha in his lifetime, was known to have fathered 14 children from legal and other significant affairs. Despite his weird lifestyle, he is still an icon among his fans. His career is depicted on and off the field in documentary film “Garrincha: Hero of the Jungle” and other books written on him.


Time is testimonial that Garrincha’s name will remain in the list of legendary footballers and in the hearts of his true fans globally.

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