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Former Brazil captain Socrates mourned by hundreds in funeral

posted 5 Dec 2011, 05:55 by Mpelembe Admin   [ updated 5 Dec 2011, 05:56 ]

Hundreds of people attend funeral of former Brazil World Cup captain Socrates who died at 57 from complications of an intestinal infection.

RIBEIRAO PRETO, BRAZIL (DECEMBER 4, 2011) (ORIGINALLY 4:3) (TV BANDEIRANTES) - Hundreds of soccer fans gathered with friends and relatives of former Brazil captain Socrates on Sunday (December 4) to bury and mourn the soccer icon who died at 57.

Nearly 1,000 people attended the funeral of Socrates held in the city of Ribeirao Preto in Sao Paulo state, where the "Golden Heel" began his career and studied medicine in the local university.

The 1982 World Cup captain, renowned as one of the great playmakers of his generation, died early on Sunday of septic shock, his doctors said in a statement.

A qualified doctor who drank and smoked liberally, Socrates died after being admitted to hospital for the third time since August because of liver and intestinal problems.

Socrates, who had practised medicine and worked as a soccer pundit since retiring as a player, acknowledged in September that alcohol was the main cause of his disease.

The bearded and lanky player, known by his nickname "Magrao" (Big Skinny), was most famous in Brazil for the three Sao Paulo state championships he won with Corinthians in 1979, 1982 and 1983.

Considered one of the club's best-ever players, he also played a high-profile role in protesting against Brazil's military dictators by pioneering democratic management at the popular club.

Socrates was part of a golden Brazilian generation that included midfielder Zico, Junior, Falcao and Eder.

He stood out with his languid, nonchalant style, particularly when taking penalties -- he did not use a traditional run-up, just a step to the ball which he lifted towards the goal.

His younger brother Rai, also a midfielder and a Sao Paulo favourite who spent several seasons at Paris St Germain in the late 1990s, was a member of the Brazil squad that won the 1994 World Cup in the United States.

Rai told reporters that his brother would continue to be remembered for many things.

"I think he was an important figure for the sport, for Corinthians and all other clubs he played for, and especially for the country as a whole," he said.

In the 1982 World Cup in Spain, Socrates's cultured style and striking appearance made him one of the icons of a team regarded by fans as one of the most artful and excitingly attacking in the soccer-crazy country's history.