Garrincha. Brazilian football player

Hello, my friends! Ready for another Dica about Brazilian Football? Today, we will discuss the great football player Garrincha. For many people, he is the second-best Brazilian player after Pelé. In this Dica, you’ll learn about his life, about Mané Garrincha Stadium, his greatest achievements in 1958 and 1962, and of course Garrincha’s goals, clubs, his iconic dribbling, and the most famous part of him: his leg! Are you ready? Let’s go!

Brazilian Footballer Garrincha

Manuel Francisco dos Santos was born on October 28th, 1933, and is known by his nickname Garrincha, which means bird. He was a great, remarkable, and famous Brazilian footballer who played right winger and forward. Many see him as one of the best dribblers in football history. This footballer was a star playing for the carioca club, Botafogo, one of the most popular football teams in Rio de Janeiro. He could kick and dribble in his own style, something quite different at that time since football in Brazil was more physical than technical. He helped developing the Brazilian football style that is extremely popular nowadays.

The Angel of the Crooked Legs

Did you know that his father was a young man from the Fulni-ô tribe? This is an Indian tribe from Pernambuco and that’s why people used to call him “The Fulni-o’s arrow.” He was also commonly known by the nickname “Joy of the people,” “Mané” (an abbreviation of his name) and the most famous one of all: “The angel of the crooked legs”.

Perhaps the most well-known part of Garrincha is his leg. He had a congenital formation of the knee due to the poliomyelitis. But even with his crooked legs, which were bent to the left side, Garrincha was still able to run and play football. Many Brazilians still remember Garrincha’s dribbling and his YouTube videos have many views. This is the most famous video of them all, check it out:

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Garrincha with the Brazilian Team

Garrincha footballer was as successful with the Brazilian team as in a club level. He played at the 1958 World Cup and at the 1962 World Cup. Together with Pelé, who was very young then, Garrincha was more like an inspiration for him, guiding through the football way. They won these two world cups together, but 1962 was special. Pelé got seriously injured during the tournament and couldn’t play anymore. Garrincha took over as teamleader and helped the team win its second title, making football history.

Most Important Titles of Garrincha

Garrincha’s leg didn’t stop him! Well, as we said before, Garrincha won the World Cup two times, in 1962 and 1958, and participated in the 1966 World Cup, when England won. Garrincha scored four goals during the 1962 World Cup. Great, right?! ?

Garrincha’s Clubs

Well, Garrincha didn’t only play for the Brazilian Team, as he also played for a lot of famous Brazilian national clubs! The first one was Botafogo (1953-1965), then he went to the paulista team called Corinthians (from São Paulo, in 1966), in which he played for just one year. After that, he went to Colombia to play at the Atlético Junior team (1968). Also, for one year (1968-1969) he played at the Flamengo team, one of the most famous in Brazil and he scored four goals (nah, not that much, uh?). In the South of Brazil, Garrincha played at two teams, firstly in the Esporte Clube Nova Hamburgo, and then at the Football Clube Rio-Grandense, in the year of 1969. His last team was Olaria, in which he played in 1972.

Garrincha’s Funeral

Unfortunately, he died at the of 49 years old, incredibly young, in Rio de Janeiro due to consequences of drinking problems. Having died prematurely and with little money, a famous Brazilian singer, and a fan of our angel of the crooked legsAgnaldo Timóteo paid for his funeral.  An early loss for Brazilian football and its fans, but he is one of the greatest in football history.

His Legacy and Stadium Mané Garrincha

The football player leaves a great legacy for those who love football, even young people and children who have not even watched his games. He proved that not even his illness could stand in the way of his dreams, and that anything was possible with dedication and diligence.

The government decided to honor the player this two-time World Cup winner and named the Brasília Stadium after him. Estádio Nacional de Brasília Mané Garrincha is a football stadium and multipurpose arena. The stadium opened in 1974 and has a total capacity of 45,200 people. Garrincha himself was still alive when the stadium had its inaugural match, but he never played in it.

The Mané Garrincha stadium was reconstructed for the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup and 2014 FIFA World Cup. After the reconstruction between 2010 and 2013, the capacity was increased to 72,788 people. It became the second-largest stadium in Brazil after Maracanã Stadium! Today, it not only holds soccer matches, but also many music shows and other events.

Now it’s your turn!

Now that you know a bit more abou Garrincha’s history, practice a bit with an exercise. So, are the statements below Verdadeiro (true) or Falso (false)?

  1. (   ) Garrincha é considerado o segundo melhor jogador da história do futebol no Brasil.
  2. (   ) Ele jogava pelo Flamengo.
  3. (   ) Garrincha ajudou a desenvolver o estilo de futebol que temos hoje no Brasil.
  4. (   ) Garrincha participou das Copas de 58 e 62.
  5. (   ) Pelé é irmão de Garrincha.

That’s it my friends! Did you know Garrincha played together with Pelé? Do you remember which clubs Garrincha played for? What about Garrincha’s leg? I hope you enjoyed! If you want to know more about Brazilian players, go to A Dica do Dia for more information, you can also follow us on Facebook.

See you soon, guys!
Hugs from Rio de Janeiro!

Click on the links below and see more related Dicas
Rio de Janeiro Football Teams
Football in Portuguese
Best Brazilian Players
Sports in Portuguese


  1. (V) Garrincha é considerado o segundo melhor jogador da história do futebol no Brasil.
  2. (V) Ele jogava pelo Flamengo.
  3. (V) Garrincha ajudou a desenvolver o estilo de futebol que temos hoje no Brasil.
  4. (V) Garrincha participou das Copas de 58 e 62.
  5. (F) Pelé é irmão de Garrincha.

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