Is Zico, not Maradona, the second best player?ever?

Discussion in 'Players & Legends' started by Izzy9, Jul 19, 2011.

  1. celito

    celito Member+

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    74 was actually the first year he established himself as a regular starter Flamengo. He actually won the Bola de Ouro in 74, which is the best player of the tournament. In 74 Brazil also had Rivelino as the 10. It would have been tough for a young Zico to take his spot from the Selecao.

    In 78 he started the first game or two. But then was pushed to the bench because of physical problems and/or CBD (predecessor to CBF) political interference. I can't really attest to the real reason, this is form Brazil Wikipedia.


  2. JamesBH11

    JamesBH11 Member+

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    well Zico was first recognized as "bestplayer" from 76-82 in SA, if not the world. In other hand In Europe, many did fantasize for Maradona's potential as an all time (vs Pele) over Zico, for his explosive dribbling run (like Ronaldo in late 90's) They did not see the best of Zico that much!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_American_Footballer_of_the_Year#By_player
    In fact, according to El Mundo and El Pais (SA best player prizes)

    Zico was #2 in 76, and won 1st (best player) in 77, 81 and 82
    Maradona was 1st in 79, 80 and 2nd in 81 and 3rd in 82 (BEHIND Zico)
    (note that in 78-9 ico suffered a BLOW injuries (played barely dozen games in 2years) Hence Maradona got chance to surge up !

    As Zico growing older, and following by WC86 Maradona made his name as #2 in most All time list!
  3. Vegan10

    Vegan10 Member

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    Zagala prior to WC74 was simultaneously manager of the NT and Flamengo. He knew Zico's game and was not interested in Zico’s services. And there wasn’t any outside pressure to have him on the team.

    In1978 even before the tournament started, he never enjoyed playing under manager Cautinho. This manager had strict conditions, more like a regiment major, who ordered discipline on his troops and focused on the physical part of the game and had them training prolonged and rigorously. This did not sit well with Zico who wanted to spend more time with his daughter but wasn’t allowed.

    In the first few games manager Cautinho didn’t like some things that he was seeing and decided to bench Zico and Rivelino. When he did bring Zico back into the starting lineup against Poland, Zico pulled a muscle after 7 minutes and his WC was over since it required him to be out for at least a month.
    Once and celito repped this.
  4. Vegan10

    Vegan10 Member

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    They saw plenty of Zico, even Zagalo had him in the early '70s at Flamengo but chose to overlook him.

    About the bold part: can you tell me what sources back this up?
    These awards were based on performance of regularity throughout a season, from voting of reporters from 20 countries in the South American continent.

    But the experts, ex-players and managers that drew the comparisons with Maradona with former greats were referring to the strenghts and abilities of a player, not the performance throughout a season.

    About the votings: There was two magazines that did the South American voting for the continent in the early 1980s: El Mundo and El Grafico. El Mundo was a Venezuelan newspaper and El Grafico is the Argentinian magazine. Both collected their votes using reporters from all over the South and North American continent.

    About 1981: Zico came in first in El Mundo and Maradona first in El Grafico.

    El Grafico used 100 reporters from over 20 countries. El Mundo used to use reporters from 20 countries.

    In 1982 Maradona came in second behind Zico in El Grafico.

    What? I think you are mistaken.


  5. Vegan10

    Vegan10 Member

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    Also, it wasn’t solely a European thing. In South America there were many newspapers, and managers and ex-players that were bombarding us with these comparisons. Some even went to the extreme to say that he was better - you know, the common propaganda.
  6. Vegan10

    Vegan10 Member

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    On the other hand, I really wonder what knowledge some of these reporters that voted had. Some of them were from Canada, Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, Panama, El Salvador, Guatemala, Costa Rica, USA, etc.

    I don’t know what access they had throughout a full season to make a decision. Even the South American reporters wouldn’t have had always access to the games. Most of these reporters worked for newspapers or Radio and TV networks. I doubt Brazilian and Argentinian football was broadcasted in their countries.

    My guess is that the hoopla and reputation, or a big event such as the YWC '79 and Copa Libertadores in '81, may have had a part in their decisions.
  7. Vegan10

    Vegan10 Member

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    Anyway, here's a photo of the awards handed to the top 3 by El Grafico in 1980:
    1. Maradona
    2. Zico
    3. Fillol
    [​IMG]

    The second photo is the ranking of 1981:

    [​IMG]

    1. Maradona
    2. Zico
    3. Julio Cesar Uribe

    Press on the image if you want to see in large.

    I don't have the El Mundo info, and I'm not sure if any photos were ever taken with the top 3.

    In El Mundo in 1981 the top two swapped positions.

    In 1981 for El Grafico, 136 reporters voted from different countries.
  8. Vegan10

    Vegan10 Member

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    The 6 managers of the South and North American teams that would participate in the next WC of 1982 were asked to give their vote:

    Tele Santana (Brazil): 1. Zico, 2. Maradona, 3. Toninho
    "TIM" (Peru): 1. Maradona, 2. Zico, 3. Cueto
    Santibanez (Chile): 1. Valenzuela, 2. Zico, 3. Maradona
    Herrera (Honduras): 1. Passarella, 2. Maradona, 3. Socrates
    Rodriguez (El Salvador): 1. Alonso, 2. Zico, 3. Cuellar
    Menotti (Argentina): 1. Maradona, 2. Passarella, 3. Tarantini
  9. laudrup_10

    laudrup_10 Member

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    Thank's for the info Vegan. Over the past year or two I have had access to a few of Zico's games with Flamengo and other games of the Brazilian championship of that era. One thing I did notice was the attractive and free flowing style of play during that time but I also noticed the abysmal defending, lack of man marking and the open space that attacking players were unintentionally/intentionally given.

    My appreciation of Maradona has risen due to the fact that his talent transcended regardless of the defensive and strategic focuses of those times.

    Now I have also heard arguments that the Brazilian state championships during that period (mid seventies to the early eighties) were were relatively weak. This seemed to have reflected on to the national team of that period. Vegan, do you think there's any validation to all of this?
  10. celito

    celito Member+

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    While the play was probably more open than in Europe, those Brazilian teams had no problems dealing with European counter parts. Flamengo easily walked over Liverpool in the Interncontinental Cup. Gremio won it 2 years later.

    Zico did very well in a weak Udinese at the age of 30. Had he gone to Europe earlier I have no doubt he would have been a huge star in Italy or Spain. Falcao and Cerezo were considered top players in Italy.

    And why do you say the National team of the late 70s and early 80s was weak ? The talent in those teams was top notch.
  11. JamesBH11

    JamesBH11 Member+

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    I do not disagree (at least not totally) with your comment about Maradona (79-82).
    However to say those period were "all about Maradona" is a bit stretch ... They (Zico and Maradona) shared the glory in turns I should say and that 's why I meant ...
  12. Vegan10

    Vegan10 Member

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    I never said it was all about Maradona. What I said was that Maradona was widely regarded as the best in the world and receiving comparisons with former greats due to his abilities, (even Pele in 1980 said he might be his successor) which is very different from receiving votes by magazines or newspapers based on performance of regularity in a certain season. We must not confuse most talented player with most consistent performer.

    Take for example what some of the managers’ votes were. They did not all have Maradona and Zico at the top in 1981. They had to vote on regularity throughout a season, not on who was a better player.
  13. Vegan10

    Vegan10 Member

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    In regards to the bold parts. I still don't know how they came to such a conclusion since they couldn't be in all places at the same time to compare these players. Like I said before, my guess is that it was based on reputation or based on certain big events.
  14. Vegan10

    Vegan10 Member

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    I am not qualified to validate that because I did not have access to Brazilian football at that time -- which is why I find it strange how these reporters handed out their votes since they couldn’t have been watching every game in every league in South America.

    In regards to the Brazilian NT, they were virtually unbeatable during the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. The problem is when they did lose a match, like the one against Italy in WC82, the repercussions were grand.
    jerrito repped this.
  15. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

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    What I know is that before 1978WC magazines talked about "the white Pelé" and how good he was. The wake-up call over here was the 4:1 win over Italy in 1976, in which he scored a brilliant goal. At that time they talked about "Zico overtaking Rivellino". Rivellino was the captain IIRC and had the precious #10, with Zico possessing #8.

    The main reason for that match as breakthrough moment (in terms of fame) was, I think, because the Italian league received some coverage in sports magazines and sport sections of newspapers and hence also the Italy NT was closely followed.
  16. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

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    Where can you find these games?
  17. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

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    Why did Brandao resign as NT manager?
  18. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

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    Correction: apparently, he also scored a goal in his first international cap against Uruguay in 1976. Unfortunately not on youtube :(

    But it did reach the European press and they talked about "the new Pelé", not the "white Pelé" at that time.
  19. Vegan10

    Vegan10 Member

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    He resigned in February 1977, due to the criticism that he was receiving. He would not tolerate it anymore. The press criticized his tactics and feared the worst in the WC qualifiers. He even had the players against him, particularly GK Leao.
  20. Vegan10

    Vegan10 Member

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    Yes, the "white Pelé" or "the new Pelé", was something that was also handed to several players before, like Tostao, and even Cruyff during WC74 in the Spanish press.
  21. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

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    And now he says things like this:
    http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepag...sis-not-a-great-player-and-as-for-Rooney.html

    :(

    I looked back at the material I have. My impression is that Zico was in the early 80s regarded as an established star, at the peak of his powers. Maradona was seen as someone with potential but necessarily the best. His status laid a bit between the status of Messi in 2006 (whose potential was already acknowledged at that time) and the status of Messi in 2010 (the 'prima facie' poster boy). Maradona had not entirely the status of '2010Messi' but was also not the inexperienced 'freshman' like Messi in 2006; it was somewhere between is my impression.

    Zico was btw also heralded as a Brazilian player who incorporated some European elements into his game, i.e. branded as "a modern Brazilian player." And modern was by some Eurocentric elements in the press often equated with 'Europeanized'.
  22. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

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    Here Brazil Italy video:


    That goal was indeed sublime.

    I like his style by the way, his upright style of dribbling. Classy.
  23. Vegan10

    Vegan10 Member

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    Prior to WC78, Pele forecasted that Zico would be the star of the event, but after the tournament, the world talked about Kempes, and by 1979, the search for another successor to the throne was from a country further south, standing 5ft 5.
  24. Vegan10

    Vegan10 Member

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    Pele was slightly more humble back then.

    Absolutely. The guy was well accomplished into his late 20s.

    His status by 1981 was a bit stronger than that. In fact, Menotti by then had proclaimed him the greatest Argentinian player of all-time. There was already a consensus belief that he was one of the top 5 greatest Argentines in the history. The hoopla reached such an extreme that some considered him to be above any player that came before. Without a doubt, he entered WC82 with a bulls-eye on his back.
  25. PuckVanHeel

    PuckVanHeel Member+

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    Well, take 1982WC. Brazil was heavy favorite, had a very impressive record, very dominating, with Zico as their face. Zico also destroyed Liverpool at the end of 1981 and Eurocentric magazines like 'Guerin Sportivo' called Zico as 'player of the year', ahead of Rummenigge and Maradona. Rummenigge played at that time in the most fancied league of Europe, and became topscorer with a whopping 29 goals, so that was his merit.

    I'm not sure whether Zico his fame was lower as in 1978.

    However, the estimated transfer value of Maradona was higher in 1981 (10 billion Italian lira versus 3.8 billion lira), but both had also different contracts.

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