Skip to main content

Soccer great Zico: Brazil '58 best team ever

By Tom McGowan, CNN
July 5, 2012 -- Updated 1004 GMT (1804 HKT)
Midfielder Zico starred alongside fellow playmaker Socrates in Brazil's team of 1982.
Midfielder Zico starred alongside fellow playmaker Socrates in Brazil's team of 1982.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Football star Zico tells CNN Brazil's 1958 team is the best of all time
  • Spain's Euro 2012 success has led many observers to label them the greatest
  • Brazil won the 1958 World Cup with a team featuring stars such as Pele and Garrincha
  • Spain are the first team to have won three consecutive major tournaments

(CNN) -- Brazilian soccer icon Zico has hailed the South American country's World Cup-winning team of 1958 as the best in the sport's history, ahead of the reigning world and European champions Spain.

After a thumping 4-0 victory over Italy in the final of Euro 2012 last weekend, Spain became the first team to win three consecutive major tournaments -- following on from triumphs at the 2010 World Cup and the European Championship of 2008.

The recent success enjoyed by Vicente del Bosque's team has led some to label them as the finest ever, leading to comparisons with other legendary teams -- such as the Brazil squad which became world champions in 1970.

But former "selecao" star Zico, currently coach of the Iraq national team, selected the Brazil team which lifted the Jules Rimet trophy in Sweden 54 years ago as the finest in football history.

Spain crowned Euro 2012 champions
Spain celebrates historic Euro 2012 win

The greatest football team: Spain 2012 vs. Brazil 1970?

"For me the best national team of all time is the Brazilian team from 1958," Zico, who was part of the much-heralded Brazil team which reached the second group stage of the 1982 World Cup, exclusively told CNN.

Is victorious Spain the best team ever?

"Quite simply because it had, in my opinion, the best players in the world. Pele and Garrincha. They scored a bag full of goals and put in a show in almost every game."

Pele rose to prominence as a 17-year-old at the 1958 tournament, scoring six goals including a brace in Brazil's 5-2 defeat of hosts Sweden in the final.

The striker is widely regarded as one of the greatest footballers the sport has ever seen and, after being hampered by injury during his country's 1962 World Cup win, he was a key figure in Brazil's 1970 success.

Garrincha was a tricky winger who not only won the World Cup in 1958, but starred as Brazil retained the trophy in Chile four years later. His four goals made him joint top goalscorer alongside teammate Vava.

The flamboyant Garrincha, who spent the vast majority of his career with Rio de Janeiro-based Botafogo, died of cirrhosis of the liver in 1983 aged 49.

Strutting midfielder Zico is fondly remembered by many football fans for his stylish contribution to the Brazil team which lit up the 1982 competition in Spain, alongside playmaker Socrates.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
September 10, 2014 -- Updated 1328 GMT (2128 HKT)
A picture taken on May 16, 2014 shows 15-year-old Norwegian footballer Martin Oedegaard of club Stroemsgodset IF cheering during a match in Drammen, Norway. Oedegaard is set to become Norways youngest player ever in the national football team.
He's just 15 and the world is seemingly already at his feet. Norway's Martin Odegaard is provoking huge media interest and the hungry attention of Europe's top clubs.
August 15, 2014 -- Updated 1151 GMT (1951 HKT)
Last season Jose Mourinho wrote off the title of hopes of his "little horse" -- but now he has a squad primed to dethrone Manchester City.
August 14, 2014 -- Updated 1858 GMT (0258 HKT)
Luis Suarez will have to wait until late October to make his competitive Barcelona debut his ban for biting an opponent was partially upheld.
August 14, 2014 -- Updated 1649 GMT (0049 HKT)
Can Louis van Gaal cut it at Manchester United? Will Bayern conquer all in Germany? Is this PSG's year to win the Champions League?
August 7, 2014 -- Updated 1012 GMT (1812 HKT)
It's been a difficult year for Barcelona on and off the pitch, and the signing of Luis Suarez has only increased the prospect of more controversy.
August 11, 2014 -- Updated 1435 GMT (2235 HKT)
Germany striker Miroslav Klose, who scored a total of 16 goals at four World Cup finals, has announced his retirement from international football.
July 31, 2014 -- Updated 1145 GMT (1945 HKT)
Cultural y Deportivo Leonesa line up in their tuxedo kit.
When celebrating an important anniversary, it's always good to look your best. At least that's theory for a Spanish football team's preseason tuxedo kit.
July 30, 2014 -- Updated 1103 GMT (1903 HKT)
While many top European clubs are targeting the U.S. market, French football is setting its sights on expanding into Asia -- with China playing a key role.
July 27, 2014 -- Updated 1229 GMT (2029 HKT)
Major League Soccer has snared another big name from England with former Chelsea star Frank Lampard committing his future to New York City FC.
July 23, 2014 -- Updated 1656 GMT (0056 HKT)
Europe's top clubs have booked a summer holiday to the U.S. -- but this is business not pleasure as they look to cash in on the World Cup afterglow.
July 22, 2014 -- Updated 1828 GMT (0228 HKT)
Brazil's new coach Dunga won the World Cup as a player in 1994.
Former World Cup-winning captain Dunga is appointed coach of Brazil's national team for the second time, charged with restoring national pride.
July 22, 2014 -- Updated 1420 GMT (2220 HKT)
Colombia's World Cup star James Rodriguez continues Real Madrid's long tradition of signing "Galacticos."
July 21, 2014 -- Updated 1007 GMT (1807 HKT)
Germany's World Cup-winning captain Philipp Lahm has decided to go out at the top by announcing his retirement from international football.
ADVERTISEMENT