Player Profile - Didi

Discussion in 'Brazil' started by tpmazembe, Aug 15, 2005.

  1. tpmazembe

    tpmazembe Member

    Jun 13, 2002
    The Midfield (S.Fla)
    VALDIR PEREIRA, aka "Didi"

    Born: 8 October 1928 in Campos (Estado Rio de Janeiro).
    Died: 12 May 2001 in Rio de Janeiro.
    Nickname: Didi.
    Position: Midfielder.

    Brazil 68 (1952-1962) / 20 goals

    League Games:
    Campeonato Carioca (Brazil) 301 (1947-1958 & 1960-1964) / 120 goals
    Spain 19 (1959-60) / 6 goals
    Mexico 29 (1965-66) / 4 goals

    International Club Cup Games:

    South American Footballer of the Year: Poll not yet held.

    Outstanding Player 1958 World Cup

    Trophies & Tournaments:
    World Cup participation: 1958, 1962, 1966
    World Cup winner: 1958, 1962
    South American Championship participation: 1953 (2nd), 1957 (2nd), 1959 (2nd)
    Copa Libertatores: -
    World Club Cup: -
    Champion of Campeonato Carioca: 1951, 1957, 1961, 1962
    Champion of Rio-Sao Paulo tournament: 1962, 1964
    Taca do Brasil winner: -
    Taca do Brasil beaten finalist: -
    Spanish Champion: 1960
    Spanish runner-up: -
    Spanish Cup winner: -
    Spanish Cup runner-up: -

    Valdir Pereira, aka “Didi”, was known as the Ethiopian Prince due to the elegance and class with which he conducted his life and his football. Blessed with an uncanny ability to read the game, a mastery of the long and short passing game, and a deadly shot, Didi was a natural born leader and midfield maestro.

    Born on October 8, 1928 in Campos, RJ, Didi at the age of 14 injured his right knee from a tackle while playing a “pelada” in the streets of Campos. The injury became gravely infected, and it was feared his leg would need to be amputated. For several months he was wheel chair bound. Thankfully for Brasilian football the worse was averted.

    Two years later, in 1943 , he started his organized footballing career playing with the youth team of Sao Cristovao (a certain Ronaldo did so as well decades later).

    Didi started his first pro game at 16 years of age in 1945 with Americano. He
    then had stints with Lençoense e Madureira, but eventually found stability with Fluminense at the age of 21, were he defended their colors for 10 years and from where he first launched his Selecao career. There he is still considered their greatest player ever, scoring almost 100 goals.

    In 1956 he transferred to Botafogo were he would make history with one of the all time club squads. There he played 313 games and scored 113 goals (in all competitions) and formed, with Garrincha and Nilton Santos (and later Zagallo), the backbone of the Selecao world champions in ’58 and ’62.

    After the 1958 WC he was contracted by Real Madrid, but did not manage to make an impact on the squad. It is widely understood that there was not room enough for both DiStefano (the absolute master at Real) and Didi.

    He decided to move back to his old club Botafogo in 1960. He then took his club to the League title in 1961.

    Didi began his Selecao career at the Pan-americano of 1952 held in Chile. Two years later he played the 1954 WC in Switzerland; ending infamously with the Battle of Bern encounter.

    He reached his apex in the following WC of ’58, where, on a team full of craques, he was named Outstanding Player of the tournament in Brasil’s first ever WC victory. In addition to setting the rhythm of the Selecao, he is remembered for a) seeking out Feola (along with N.Santos) in order to get Garrincha – viewed as “unstable” and “undisciplined” – integrated into the squad, and b) composing the team after the going down early to the hosts in the final.

    [I’ve commented before on the boards about that moment when he carries the ball to the center circle, head held up high, after Sweden scored the first goal during the Final of WC 1958 is the stuff of legend. It marks the exact moment when Brasil became a world footballing power….one that believed in itself. Remember, the backdrop was a nation that had let slip away a WC title at home in a demoralizing fashion; a moment sandwiched by Leonidas-less semi-final loss in France 1938 and famous Battle of Bern debacle in 1954 --- all with squads formed of great players. It is even more significant because at the time there was circulating a document in CBD circles that characterized blacks and mulattos as “liabilities” and "unreliable" under pressure situations.

    In that moment he seemed to say, “follow me and I’ll get you there”. In fact, within 4 minutes he begins the action brings the equalizer and the offensive onslaught that was about to transpire. That is a great moment in football -- one often commented on in Brasilian football annals, and replayed time and again at the moment of his death a few years past.]

    Four years later he marshaled the last back-to-back WC squad in Chile. In this WC he sought to extract a measure of revenge for his time at Real, but DiStefano could not suit up for the Bra x Spa game due to injury. He would have to settle for the Jules Rimet.


    Didi was known as a supreme strategist on the field, and he carried on displaying this gift on the sidelines as well. Beginning in 1964 he became a coach, joining Peruvian club, Sporting Crystal as manager. He was a great success there and was asked to manage the Peru national team for the 1970 Mexico World Cup. Under his guidance the team reached the quarter-finals.

    [To this day the Peru job is his most lauded coaching contribution; having selected and managed Peru’s greatest ever side at WC 1970. It was a bitter-sweet moment for Didi to face Brasil in the quarters that tournament, but after a scintillating display of football by both teams, the world was all the more grateful for his participation.]

    In 1971, he managed the top Argentine club, River Plate when he accepted a lucrative position. On his return to Brazil, he organized many soccer coaching clinics in the country.

    In all he coached Sporting Cristal and Alianza Lima (Peru), Vera Cruz (México), River Plate (Argentina), Fernerbache (Turquia) AL - Ahli (Arábia Saudita), Fluminense, Botafogo, Cruzeiro e Bangu (Brasil)..

    He died in Rio de Janeiro on Saturday, May 12, 2001, aged 72 of pneumonia after a surgery.

    Folha Seca
    Didi is the inventor of the “folha seca”, or “dry leaf”. This method of taking free-kicks, born of necessity (seems that his childhood injury didn’t allow him to hit the ball conventionally from long distances without pain), imparted an unusual curve and dip to the ball. It was with a folha seca that Didi scored the first ever goal in the famous Maracana stadium.

    1947..... Madureira ....Campeonato Carioca....15 / 06
    1948..... Madureira ....Campeonato Carioca....17 / 02
    1949..... Fluminense ...Campeonato Carioca...16 / 00
    1950..... Fluminense ...Campeonato Carioca...18 / 07
    1951..... Fluminense ...Campeonato Carioca...24 / 04
    1952..... Fluminense ...Campeonato Carioca...20 / 08
    1953..... Fluminense ...Campeonato Carioca...27 / 14
    1954..... Fluminense ...Campeonato Carioca...23 / 12
    1955..... Fluminense ...Campeonato Carioca...22 / 06
    1956..... Botafogo ......Campeonato Carioca...22 / 17
    1957..... Botafogo ......Campeonato Carioca...17 / 12
    1958..... Botafogo ......Campeonato Carioca...25 / 12
    1959-60 Real Madrid....Primera Division Spain..19 / 06
    1960..... Botafogo ......Campeonato Carioca...17 / 09
    1961..... Botafogo ......Campeonato Carioca...22 / 07
    1962..... Botafogo ......Campeonato Carioca...05 / 03
    1963..... did not play
    1964..... Botafogo Rio...Campeonato Carioca..11 / 01
    1964-65 Vera Cruz.......Mexico....................26 / 04
    1965-66 Vera Cruz.......Mexico....................03 / 00

    Clubs:Americano-RJ (1945), Lençoense-SP (1945), Madureira (1946), Fluminense (1947-1956), Botafogo-RJ (1956-1958, 1961-1962), Real Madrid-ESP (1959-1961)

    Didi: International Career and Goals
  2. Kaushik

    Kaushik Member

    Jun 6, 2004
    Thanks for Didi's profile TP. His shooting and his 'falling leaf' FKs were special.

    Just a minor correction:
    World Cup participation: 1954, 1958, 1962

    I believe he scored two goals in three games at WC 1954, but did not participate in WC 1966.
  3. tpmazembe

    tpmazembe Member

    Jun 13, 2002
    The Midfield (S.Fla)
    You are correct Kaushik. Thanks.

    If I could ask a mod to edit that line. I'd appreciate it.

    As with the Zizinho thread all comments, additions, corrections, questions, discussions are welcome.
  4. comme

    comme Moderator
    Staff Member

    Feb 21, 2003

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