You will read the full account of Zico biography along with his life story and professional career in this part.
Throughout history, Brazilian football had always a special charm, that has reared many great heroes who inspire devotion far beyond their homeland.
Among them, we are here to narrow down
, a member of the past Brazilian generation that has still held the whole world in awe.
Arthur Antunes Coimbra, better known as Zico, is the eighth-best player in the history of football according to FIFA. One of the best Brazilian players in history and known for many as The White Pelé.
An attacking midfielder by nature, Zico is considered to be one of the most clinical finishers and best passers ever, as well as one of the greatest players of all time. Here is an overview of
and his professional career.
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You will read the full account of Zico biography along with his life story and professional career in this part. He was known as ‘Arthurzico’ which means "Little Arthur", a moniker that played on his real name – Arthur Antunes Coimbra – and was given to him as a child by his family.
But, over the following two decades, he would come to be internationally recognized with the shortened, four-letter version of the nickname.
: Arthur Antunes Coimbra
: white people_O Galinho ("The Little Rooster", in Portuguese)
: Roman Catholic
Place of birth
: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Date of birth
: Mar 3, 1953
: 1,72 m
: 53.5 kg
: Cláudio Modesto
: Irena Latinik-Vetulani
: David Gibson
: Sandra Carvalho de Sá
: Thiago Coimbra, Bruno Coimbra
: $1.1 Million
: Football player, Coach
: midfield - Attacking Midfield
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, he was Born in 1953, he came from a lower-middle-class family of Portuguese origin, in the vicinity of Quintino Bocaiúva, Rio de Janeiro. He was Portuguese by birth and it is thought that football is in the blood of all Portuguese and Zico was no different.
In Brazil, a country where football is a form of religion, he spent much of his youth dreaming of being a professional footballer and bunk school classes to play football on the streets.
Despite his lack of physique, his passion for the sport made him recognized in the area, where people would gather to see the boy's striking performances against older children and teenagers.
At that time he was playing forJuventude
, a local futsal street team run by his older brothers and friends, and had also begun to play for futsal club River Futebol Clube on Sundays.
Back then Juventude was an unfamous team but after getting Zico in the team, they became quite popular in the area. He started his soccer journey from there and now he is in the professional coaching phase by managing top clubs worldwide.
In 1967, at 14 years old, he had a scheduled trial at América, where his brothers Antunes and Edu were professional players. But on a Sunday, during a River match, Zico scored 9 goals and caught the attention of radio reporter Celso Garcia, who asked Zico's father to take him to a trial at Flamengo instead.
fan, Zico had his father's approval, beginning his path towards becoming one of the most precious players in the history of the sport. Zico’s early days in and around the Flamengo first team were times of flux.
He was moved about from youth team to senior squad and back again, with two-time World Cup-winning legend Mario Zagallo responsible for the player’s demotion in 1972.
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The cream of Europe had courted Flamengo for Zico’s signature, but he was among the last great generation of Brazilian footballers who didn’t directly transmit their talents to Serie A or LaLiga just as they blipped onto the radar.
Whether by their choice or at the behest of the Brazilian military government, the nation’s outstanding players remained within the domestic club game, rather than seek the riches of Mediterranean Europe. In
, the ballast of his prime at club level was played out in the Rio State Championship and the Brazilian Serie A.
Zico was an innovative player who was gifted with outstanding technical skills, an eye for goal, and excellent vision, who is deemed to be the 70s and 80s’ most skilled finisher and best passer. Zico is the best playmaker of the sport and has performed the best free kicks of all time. He is able to strike the ball in any direction.
He was also a set-piece specialist, who was famous for his ability to bend the ball and score from dead-ball situations, and is considered to be one of the greatest free-kick takers of all time that scored the most goals from direct free-kicks, with 101 goals.
Zico's unique free-kick technique, which saw him put considerable importance on his standing foot, often saw him lean back and raise his knee at a very high angle when hitting the ball with his instep.
So it allowed him to lift it high over the wall, before it dropped back down again; his method of striking the ball empowered him to score free kicks even from close range, within 20 to 16 meters from the goal, or even from just outside the penalty area.
Besides, because of his technique, mentality, unpredictability, and accuracy in dead ball situations, he was privileged to place the ball in either top or bottom corner on either side of the goal, which made it difficult for goalkeepers to read his free kicks.
As much as he was indeed South American, Zico could easily have passed for a Southern European player in his style of on-ball exuberance. If you need a Premier League peer to serve as a style comparison, then you would perhaps be looking towards Gianfranco Zola.
Zico was a player infused with incredible natural talent, but he was also the owner of a lack of patience at times; a lack of patience he directed in the most positive of ways.
Often regarded as the “White Pelé”, the mostly right-footed Zico was endowed with skill in abundance, but he was much more direct and would attack at greater strengthened pace than his legendary predecessor in the yellow number 10 shirt.
He was at the pinnacle of his powers during the '78 and '82 World Cups and even though Brazil did not win either tournament, he was the man everyone awed him in a team full of explosive talent.
For an attacking midfielder, his goalscoring statistics are shocking. In 697 club games, he scored 476 goals, and in 71 matches for Brazil, he managed a huge 48 goals.
Flamengo was his club in Brazil and he had two incredibly successful spells with them. In between, he played in Italy forUdinese
, where he is still honored by the passionate Italian fans.
The number 10 jersey is not given out to anyone when playing for Brazil since it symbolizes such iconic significance for the South American country, but Zico wore it with distinction.
He also played in Japan for Kashima Antlers and this is where, by his confession, he scored the greatest goal of his career.
His goal reception has not been indicated explicitly in any source but when he scored goals, he typically ran fast and jumped so high while raising his hands upward.
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Giving further information related to
, currently, he is coping with life as a coach and also as a TV commentator in Brazil. Zico is also a member of the legendary squad Classic Eleven from the FIFA video games series.
Besides, Zico was one of the few footballers who followed a political career after he retired from football. He even became the minister of sports after the first presidential election in Brazil.
Yet fate had other plans for Zico since he received offers first from Sumitomo Metals and laterKashima Antlers
, two of Japan's biggest clubs.
Hence it's no wonder for him to be also known for his leadership, mental strength, and determination, as well as his stamina, dedication, possession of an outstanding work ethic.
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A few years after his last game for Kashima Antlers, Zico became the coach of the same team. It would be the start of a new phase of life in managerial career.
Zico has been the manager for the clubs of Kashima Antlers, CFZ,Fenerbahçe
as well as national teams of Japan and Iraq.
Zico is the grandson of Fernando Antunes Coimbra (paternal grandfather) and Arthur Ferreira da Costa Silva (maternal grandfather), both Portuguese. His father, José Antunes Coimbra, also Portuguese, came to Brazil at age of 10.
Zico is the youngest of six children—Maria José (Zezé), Antunes, Nando, Edu, and Antônio (Tonico). In 1969 Zico met his current wife, Sandra Carvalho de Sá. In 1970 the couple became engaged and married in 1975. Sandra's sister, Sueli, is Edu's wife. Zico has three sons, Arthur Jr., Bruno, and Thiago.
When Zico joined Japanese club Kashima Antlers in 1991, at the age of 38, he was getting closer to the end of a stunning playing career in which he had excelled for Brazil, Flamengo, and Udinese.
However, that journey in the Far East proved to be much more than a footnote. Such was the empathy and depth of sentiments between the No10 and the country that it transformed his life and reflected a new beginning for Japanese football.
As a key player in the professionalization of the J.League, and then as Samurai Blue coach, Zico created a very close relationship with Japan.
He showed his sincere affection for the country when he helped to organize O Jogo da Solidariedade (The Solidarity Match) in Curitiba, the proceeds of which went to the victims of both natural disasters which devastated Japan and the floods in the Brazilian state of Parana.
About his legal issues, there is not much information stated about him in any source, here are just two trivial cases that are far beyond the idea of considering them as legal cases.
The first one is that Zico never really felt that comfortable with the practice by groups of supporters to jokingly wish each other "Happy Christmas" to ccelebratee his birthday (3 March).
And the other one is that such a creative and open-minded person certainly might have a critical view of the system and authorities of football.
As in 1990, six years before Pelé took the role, Zico became Brazil's first sports minister. He left the post 13 months later after strong lobbying from politicians resulted in the fact that the parliamentary vote on his project on modernizing Brazilian football has been postponed by authorities.
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He started his career playing for Flamengo and was a key player during the most spectacular span of the team’s history.
Along with many other honors, Zico, in his first period at Flamengo, led the team for the win of Copa Libertadores da América in 1981 as well as the Intercontinental Cup on that same year.
He played at Flamengo for 12 long years, but he used to get lucrative offers from bigger clubs like ASRoma
, and lots more.
But he selected Udinese Calcio above all the other great clubs as he was assured to be paid more than 10 million dollars at Udinese. His performance at that club was unbelievable as he netted more than 400 goals in mere 697 matches.
He was an attacking midfielder for all his life, but his goal-scoring statistics are out of this world. Regardless of his brilliant performance at Udinese, he was not capable of assisting the squad triumph one title in his two-year period. He was voted the best player for 78 and ’82 World Cups after showing his explosive power.
After the 1982 World Cup, his injuries made him leave Udinese. He again came back to Flamengo and played there for 4 years. His last club as a footballer was Kashima Athens Soccer club after which he announced his retirement from professional football in 1994.
During the 1972 Summer Olympics, Zico made his international debut in the South American Qualifier and played 5 games, and netted the qualifying goal against Argentina.
Despite good performance, he wasn’t selected for the Munich games. But, later he was given the opportunity to display his skills and capitalize on them.
Zico helped his teams to victory in the 1981 Intercontinental Cup, 1981 Copa Libertadores, and four national titles in the years 1980, 1982, 1983, and 1987. With his stunning performance, he was chosen 1981 and 1983 Player of the Year.
In 1991 he came out from his retirement and approved the challenge of helping Japan improve and nurture its first national football league, playing for Kashima Antlers.
He was the league’s star and a celebrity there. His popularity was so immense in Japan that he became the team’s coach during the World Cup in 2006.
In 2006 he contracted a two-year deal with Fenerbahçe. In his first year, he won the League and the Turkish Super Cup, also leading the team to the Champions League, where in 2008 he was a quarter-finalist, after eliminating Sevilla in the round of 16. A great job that Fenerbahçe fans appreciated, calling him 'Kral Arthur' (King Arthur).
However, Zico had other thoughts. In the summer of 2008, he cut his relationship with the Turkish club in pursuit of a dream to coach Newcastle, in the Premier League, an experience that he had always wanted to have.
But eventually, there was no offer from the 'magpies', and Zico was left without his dream. From there he began various journeys; from Bunyodkor, and CSKA Moscow, to even Olympiakos. His bad role in the Greek team indeed closed the doors of any European club.
In 2011 he accepted the offer to coach the Iraqi national team, where he spent only one year. Then Al-Gharafa arrived and since then manages FC Goa, a destination where Zico, as he did during his time in Japan, will try to expedite and facilitate the growth of football in the country.
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After playing for Kashima Antlers, he became a local legend in Japan and earned a nickname, "God of Football" from Japanese football fans because of his talent, disciple, and professionalism.
Zico categorized 8th in the FIFA Player of the Century grand jury vote in 1999, and in 2004, Zico was labeled in the FIFA 100 list of the world's greatest living players.
Zico is the fifth highest goalscorer for his national team with 48 goals in 71 official appearances for Brazil. He was also chosen as the Player of the Year in 1981 and 1983.