Carlos Alberto Dead At 72: Brazilian World Cup Winner Scored Greatest Goal In Brazilian History

Carlos Alberto, the legendary Brazilian full-back who lifted the World Cup back in 1970, has died at the age of 72.

According to BBC Sport, Carlos Alberto died following a heart attack in Rio de Janeiro. News of Carlos Alberto’s death was a great shock to his friends, family, and the Brazilian public, as just two days before he passed, he provided on-air commentary on the Brazilian channel Sportv.

Alberto’s most famous contribution in the yellow of Brazil saw him score one of the greatest goals in the history of soccer during the 1970 World Cup Final win over Italy.

With the score at 3-1, and with only four minutes left of the match, Carlos Alberto finished off one of a scintillating passing move by slamming a pass from Pele across the Italian goalkeeper Enrico Albertosi and into the left side of the net, having run up gallantly from his right-back position. This goal is roundly agreed to be the greatest scored in the history of the World Cup.

It was in 1964, when Carlos Alberto was only 20, that he was called up for the first time for Brazil. It took Carlos Alberto a while to make himself a regular in the Brazilian national team, though. He wasn’t called up for the 1966 World Cup in England, while by the start of 1968, he’d only won seven caps in four years.

But in 1968, he became Brazil’s first choice right back, winning 18 caps in that year alone, as well as scoring five goals. In 1969, new manager Joao Saldanha recognized Carlos Alberto’s leadership qualities and made him captain for the 1970 World Cup qualification campaign. And even when Mario Zagallo was appointed, he kept Alberto as captain for the World Cup itself.

With the likes of Pele, Tostao, Rivelino, Jairzinho, Gerson, and Clodoaldo on their roster, Brazil took the competition by storm, and the team who won that World Cup is seen as one of the greatest in the sport’s history. As captain, Carlos Alberto lifted the trophy, which will be the undying image that he leaves to the sporting community.

However, injury soon blighted Carlos Alberto’s international career, and after 14 caps and two goals in 1970, he’d only receive five more caps over the next seven years. He eventually retired from international football in 1977 at the age of 33.

But Carlos Alberto’s contribution to the world of sport goes way beyond just this one goal. Over the course of his near 20-year playing career, the defender played for six clubs and went on to win 53 caps for the Brazilian national team between 1964 and 1977, scoring eight goals during this time.

Because of his efforts on the pitch, Carlos Alberto is roundly recognized as one of the greatest players of all time. In fact, despite his defensive position, Carlos Alberto’s persistent attacking play from right back was seen as a revelation. Carlos Alberto was ahead of his time in the way that he used to attack from deep. He started a trend that the likes of Cafu and Roberto Carlos would continue in the colors of Brazil, while now almost every team in soccer insists that their full-backs can threaten in attack as well as defend stoically, too.

Born in Rio de Janeiro on July 17, 1944, Carlos Alberto broke into football at the age of 19 when he joined Fluminense. Despite his age, Carlos Alberto struck a chord with fans and team-mates, who recognized that not only was he a superb tackler with a keen eye on how to read the game, he also had incredible attacking skills, as well as ball control, crossing, dribbling, and shooting.

After 98 games, as well as nine goals for Fluminense, Santos purchased Alberto, where he would go on to spend the next eight years, playing in 445 games and contributing 40 goals. While at Santos, Carlos Alberto claimed the Paulista Championship on four occasions, in 1967, 1968, 1969, and 1973, as well as the Recopa Sul-Americana, which is contested between the best teams in South America the seasons before.

In 1974, Carlos Alberto returned to Fluminense for three seasons, before transfer to Flamengo for a solitary season, too. In 1977 Carlos Alberto decided to reunite with Pele, who he’d played alongside with Brazil and at Santos, by moving to America and joining the New York Cosmos. This swan song to Carlos Alberto’s career included five NASL Soccer Bowl Championships and four Eastern Division, National Conferences, while his fourth and fifth seasons with the Cosmos were separated by a solitary campaign with the California Surf, too.

Carlos Alberto ultimately retired from playing soccer in 1982, and while he’d go on to manage 17 clubs, his time as a manager never matched his on the pitch shenanigans.

[Featured Image by Felipe Dana/AP Images]