Brazilian Sócrates: the Footballer Star

brazilian footballer sócrates: Sócrates foi uma estrela do futebol do Brasil!

What’s up, galera? How are you doing? In today’s Dica we are going to discuss the Brazilian footballer star: Sócrates. One of the best Brazilian players in history, not only for football but also with his political ideas. Let’s learn about his contributions for a political movement created within Corinthians, his nickname Doctor Sócrates, the famous headband he would wear during games, his presence in the World Cup, and much more about this footballer biography.

History Behind the Brazilian Legend: Sócrates

Sócrates Brasileiro Sampaio de Souza Vieira de Oliveira, commonly known as Sócrates, was a legendary Brazilian footballer who left an indelible mark on the sport. Born on February 19, 1954, in Belém, Brazil, Sócrates is widely regarded not only for his footballing prowess but also for his intelligence, leadership, and off-field impact.

An interesting thing about Sócrates was that the Brazilian player was a really tall man, with 1,91m of height (6’3″), but with really small feet. He would wear only 37 on his shoes (7 in the USA!) which could make people think he would be clumsy, but oh no! Sócrates had an amazing control of those feet!

He started playing soccer when he was 16 years old, but became famous and an important player when he went to play for Corinthians. But, in addition to playing soccer at age 16, he also went to medical school in São Paulo. He combined both activities until he graduated in 1977 and then continued with his football career.

Doctor Sócrates

Sócrates earning a medical degree while pursuing his football career was a rarity in the world of professional sports. This earned him the nickname “Doutor Sócrates” (Doctor Sócrates). His cerebral approach to the game was reflected in his playing style, characterized by sublime skill, vision, and a keen understanding of tactics. Sócrates primarily played as an attacking midfielder and was known for his elegant ball control, precise passing, and ability to score goals.

Let’s check out a little bit of his talent in the fields! He was impressive!

Sócrates’ younger brother also played football! Raí was also a footballer and an attacking midfielder, and won the World Cup in 1994, notably playing during his lifetime for São Paulo and for Paris Saint-Germain. In São Paulo, Raí won very impressive titles like the Brazilian Championship (1991), South-America Libertadores (1992 and 1993) and the incredible Intercontinental Cup (1992). In the 1992 Intercontinental Cup, Raí scored two goals and helped São Paulo win the game against Barcelona. Raí was voted the best player of the tournament! In Paris Saint-Germain, he would go on to win Ligue 1 (1993), the Coupe de France (1994 and 1997) and many more! Such a powerhouse duo he was with his brother, right?

Sócrates and Corinthians

brazilian footballer sócrates helped in the corinthians democracy: A democracia corinthiana ajudou na regularização do futebol.

One of the defining chapters of Sócrates’ career unfolded at Corinthians, a club where he achieved iconic status. Sócrates even captained Corinthians’ team during the early 1980s, leading them to significant success. His most important titles with Corinthians were:

  • São Paulo Championship – 1979
  • São Paulo Championship – 1982
  • São Paulo Championship – 1983

But maybe Dr Sócrates most pivotal role was in the “Democracia Corinthiana” at Corinthians. Democracia Corinthiana (Corinthians Democracy) was a movement from the 1980’s, where players fought to change some football dogmas and get more rights and rules among clubs and players. Things such as freedom of speech about politics inside the club, regulations about hiring players, salary, labor rights, etc. This movement was also famous because they got connected to other ones. For example the movement for elections in Brazil, as back then the country had a military government and people didn’t have the right to vote.

Sócrates and the Brazilian Team

On the international stage, Sócrates represented Brazil in three different FIFA World Cup (1978, 1982, and 1986). The 1982 World Cup in Spain is particularly memorable, as Brazil showcased some of the most beautiful football in the tournament, only to be eliminated in a heartbreaking match against Italy in the quarterfinals. Sócrates played a pivotal role in orchestrating Brazil’s attacking play during 1982 World Cup.

If you doubt the 1982 team could be so great and still now win the World Cup, take a look at this video about one of Sócrates goal during the tournament. It was one of those goals to enter the history!

Did you know you can learn Portuguese while understanding more about Brazilian football culture, from Doctor Sócrates to the team of 1982? Why don’t you give yourself a chance and join our online Portuguese courses? They will help you learn while you focus on something you adore: football!

Sócrates Headband

Sócrates was famous for wearing headbands with messages on it. But how did it began? And why? At Mexico World Cup in 1986, he wore a headband that was improvised from a teammate’s sock. In the sock were written the words “México Sigue En Pie” (Mexico Still Stands). The message was a call on reflection over an earthquake the previous year which killed thousands. After that, the headband became something usual for Sócrates, and a way to express himself during the games. Sócrates would wear “The People Need Justice”, “Yes To Love, No To Terror”, “No Violence” and many other headbands!

Dr. Sócrates and Life Outside Being a Footballer

Off the pitch, Sócrates was an activist and commitment to social causes. Sócrates’ life after football was marked by his medical career and continued involvement in social and political issues. Unfortunately, he passed away on December 4, 2011, at the age of 57. Sócrates left a lasting legacy as not only one of Brazil’s greatest footballers but also as a thinker, a leader, and a symbol of the powerful connection between sport and society.

Sócrates Footballer Biography Exercises

Answer the questions according to what you learned with this Dica.

  1. Qual era a outra profissão que Sócrates tinha?
  2. Em qual clube ele teve seus melhores momentos?
  3. Qual é o nome do movimento que Sócrates ajudou a criar?
  4. Quantos anos ele tinha quando morreu?
  5. Sócrates ganhou a Copa do Mundo?

That’s it! We have just learned about the biography of Brazilian footballer and doctor Sócrates. Did you know Doctor Sócrates was such a powerful player, even more during the 1982 World Cup? If you want to know more about Brazilian football and players, subscribe to A Dica do Dia. Go also to our Instagram and see what’s going at the school.

See you guys!
Hugs from Rio de Janeiro!

Click on the links below to see more related Dicas
Origin of Brazilian Football
Football Vocabulary in Portuguese
Sports in Portuguese
Zico Football Player


  1. He was a doctor
  2. Corinthians
  3. Democracia Corinthiana
  4. He was 57
  5. No, he didn’t

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