Garrincha biography

Wed 03 March 2021 | 10:30

Named as one of the greatest dribblers of all time, Garrincha was a Brazilian professional footballer who played as a right-winger. In this article of Sportmob, we take a look at his biography.

Regarded as one of the greatest footballers of all time, Garrincha was a Brazilian footballer who is regarded by some, the greatest dribbler ever.

Garrincha is very popular in Brazil and despite his short life, he has obtained several honors and trophies both at the club's level and national's level. Although he seemed to have become a forgotten hero during the last years of his life, he undoubtedly will be remembered by the Brazilian and all the football lovers as one of the greatest players of all time.

let's move forward to have an in-depth look at Garrincha's life. In the following article, you are going to read more detailed information about

Garrincha bio


Garrincha life story


Garrincha childhood

as well as his personal and professional life.

All You Need to Know About Garrincha

This professional footballer who is extremely popular in Brazil started his professional career in 1951 after 4 years of playing as his youth career. He joined Brazil National team in 1955 where he scored 12 goals in his 50 appearances. In this article, we have provided you with a detailed biography of this footballer. Stay tuned to know more about

Garrincha biography


Garrincha information

In the following part of Garrincha Biography, you can find some general information about him listed down here. 

Garrincha bio

  • Full Name

    : Manuel Francisco dos Santos

  • Nickname

    : Mané Garrincha

  •  Profession:

    Professional Football Player

Garrincha Physical Stats

  • Weight

    : 70 Kg

  • Height

    : 1.69 m

  • Eye Color

    : dark brown

  • Hair Color

    : Black

Garrincha Football Information

  • Position:


  • Professional Debut

    : 1951


Jersey Number

: 4

Garrincha Date of Birth and Personal Info

  • Date of Birth

    : 28 October 1933 

  • Place of Birth

    : Mage, RJ, Brazil

  • Date of death

    : January 20, 1983

  • Place of death

    : Rio de Janeiro

  • Cause of death

    : Cirrhosis

  • Garrincha Nationality

    : Brazilian

  • Garrincha Religion

    : not specified 

Garrincha Early Life

In this section of Garrincha biography, we will have a glance at his early life.

Garrincha was born in 1933 in Pau Grande, a district of Magé, in the city of Rio de Janeiro in the country of Brazil. One of his legs was shorter than the other one and also the shape of his legs wasn't normal. Ha was actually considered a crippled child. As he was smaller than other kids, his sister called him Garrincha, which means 'Little Bird' in Portuguese. Later on, his family and friends called him by this name. ha was also known as Mané (short for Manuel) by his friends. The combined Mané Garrincha is common among fans in Brazil.

He started playing football from a very young age. He was very fast and talented but despite his immense talent, he had no interest in a professional career. he arrived in professional football until his late teens. 

Garrincha Profile

In this division of

Garrincha biography

, we will review his professional career from his early days. He played for Pau Grande and Cruzeiro do Sul FC youth team before he started his senior career. In 1951 he joined  Serrano and stayed there for two years. when he signed for


in 1953, he was 20 years old and team officials wanted to learn that he was able to be treated as a professional. In the first training session, he demonstrated his extraordinary skills in dribbling which convinced the Botafogo officials to sign him. Garrincha scored a hat trick on his first-team début against Bonsucesso in July 1953. During 12 years with Botafogo, Garrincha appeared very brilliantly and successfully, and in total, he scored 245 goals in 614 appearances. He became a symbol of the history of the club.

In 1966 he was sold to


. He just had 4 appearances with no goal there and after two years in 1968, he joined Atlético Junior which was a Colombian team. He went back to Brazil, joined Flamengo the same year, and stayed there until 1969. In 1971, there were rumors that Garrincha would join French club Red Star FC 93, but he never signed and returned to Brazil. He played for Olaria in 1972 when actually his professional career as a footballer finished but he played occasional exhibition matches until 1982.

At the international level, Garrincha’s first appearance for Brazil National team came in 1955. He participated in the 1958 World Cup, 1962 World Cup, and 1966 World Cup. He totally had 50 appearances in the National team and scored 12 goals.In 1973, Garrincha who was almost 40 and a grandfather decided to leave professional football.

In December, a farewell match for Garrincha between a FIFA World team and Brazil was celebrated at the Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, in front of 131,000 spectators. In the middle of the match, the referee stopped it and Garrincha did a lap around the pitch, received the crowd's respects, and disappeared through the stadium's tunnel.

Stay tuned to read more about Garrincha biography and get to know him better.

Garrincha Style of Play

Garrincha was mainly acknowledged for his wonderful ability in dribbling and creating chances out of nothing. He was also popular for his imagination, remarkable ball control, imagination, and feints on the wing. He also possessed a powerful shot with either foot and was a specialist known for free kicks and corners taken with the outside of his foot. The most vital reason for his popularity was related to his dribbling skills which he retained throughout his career. 

Garrincha was very skillful in generating goal opportunities through individual plays as well as making an accurate pass to a teammate in a position to score. One example would be the first two of Brazil's goals in the 1958 World Cup final and the second goal against Spain in the 1962 tournament. He was able to turn on himself at top speed and explode at unusual angles, which he used to great effect. He had strong shooting by which he could score goals like those in World Cups against England in 1962 and Bulgaria in 1966. Garrincha had relatively short stature but he was also an excellent header of the ball. Garrincha is also one of a few players who could have scored directly from a corner which he managed to do 4 times in his career.

Garrincha regarded as one of the greatest players of all time who was voted into the World Team of the 20th Century by 250 of the world's most respected football writers and journalists, came seventh in the FIFA Player of the Century grand jury vote, and was named in the FIFA World Cup All-Time Team


Garrincha is undoubtedly one of the greatest Brazilian football players as well as one of the greatest dribblers of all time.Garrincha is very popular in Brazil and In the Maracanã Stadium, the home team room is known as "Garrincha", also in the capital Brasília, the Estádio Nacional Mané Garrincha is named after him. in Brazil, he was also called Alegria do Povo (People's Joy) and Anjo de Pernas Tortas (Bent-Legged Angel).

Due to his carefree attitude and ability to entertain is making fools of opposing players, Garrincha was also adored by the Brazilian public and he was referred to as; "Joy of the People". Djalma Santos, his Brazil teammate, stated; "He had a childish spirit. Garrincha was football's answer to Charlie Chaplin

At club level, Garrincha played the majority of his professional career for the Brazilian team Botafogo and at the international level, he played a vital role in Brazil's 1958 and 1962 World Cup victories. 

He became the first player who won Golden Boot (Leading Goalscorer), Golden Ball (Player of the tournament), and the World Cup in the same tournament. He was also named in the World Cup All-Star Teams of both the 1958 World Cup and 1962 World Cup. In 1994, he was named in the FIFA World Cup All-Time Team. In 1999, he came seventh in the FIFA Player of the Century grand jury vote. He is a member of the World Team of the 20th Century and was inducted into the Brazilian Football Hall of Fame. 

Once, Scott Murray, the football writer remarked when writing for The Guardian in 2010: "... Garrincha was the greatest dribbler ever." 

Goal Celebration

The Brazilian winger didn’t have any special goal celebration. But whenever he scored a goal, he expressed his cheer in a way.

Garrincha outside football

As Garrincha died about 40 years ago, he couldn’t find the chance to have any special job or activity outside football. At that time, it wasn’t so common for football players to earn high salaries or participate in advertisements, movies, television programs, and some other activities and businesses.It should be mentioned that Garrincha was a man with a carefree attitude and an ability to entertain in making fools of opposing players. In brazil he has referred to as; "Joy of the People"

Eduardo Galeano, an Uruguayan writer once stated that: "In the entire history of football no one made more people happy. When he was out there, the pitch was a circus ring, the ball a tamed animal, the match a party invitation. Garrincha nurtured his pet, the ball, and together they created such mischief that people almost died laughing. He jumped over it, it gamboled around him, hid away, skipped off, and made him run after it. And on the way, his opponents ran into each other."

A multi-use stadium in Brasilia, Estádio Mané Garrincha, is named after him. His career was presented in the 1962 film Garrincha, Alegria do Povo, and in 2003, another movie, called Garrincha – Estrela Solitária ("Lonely Star"), based on Ruy Castro's book, depicted his life on and off the field.

Garrincha Personel life

Garrincha was born in Pau Grande, a district of Magé, in the state of Rio de Janeiro, in 1933. He had a deformed Spine and Curved, Uneven Legs.Garrincha was born into Brazil’s poor and impoverished community and his father was an alcoholic. Despite the problem in his legs, he started playing football from a very young age. But as a young man, he had no interest in becoming a footballer despite impressing his fellow workers with his skills at the local factory he began working at when he was 14. only when he reached the age of 19 was he was persuaded to train with Botafogo. 

One of his brothers, Jimmy dos Santos was a footballer too. He played 20 games for Serie A side CR Vasco da Gama in 1959. 

Family, Children, and Relationships

Garrincha was married twice. First to Nair Marques in 1952. She was a factory worker from Pau Grande. Their marriage lasted for 13 years and they had eight daughters. They separated in 1965. For the second time, he got married to Elza Soares who was a samba singer. They married in an unofficial ceremony in March 1966. Soares had also been married previously, and the marriage saw Garrincha cast as a villain by the same press that had once feted him. They had many problems with each other and once Garrincha struck her during an argument, finally Soares left him and they separated in 1977. 

Garrincha had also many other affairs, one of the most significant ones was with a showgirl Angelita Martinez and it is said that he had at least 14 children. It might be interesting for you to know that during a short visit to Sweden, Garrincha had a brief relationship with a local, as the result of which a boy was born. His name is Ulf and although he never knew his father, he carries the admiration for one of the greatest players the game has ever seen. It seems Garrincha’s great footballing blood continues to run via the veins of his heirs.


Unfortunately, there is no information on Garrincha philanthropy.

Let's move forward and read about other aspects of Garrincha bio.

Legal Issues

Garrincha was an alcoholic. A womanizer. He couldn’t read or write. Alcoholism and a carefree personal life had caught up with him. At the age of 33 he could no longer sustain the lifestyle as both a professional footballer and a chronic alcoholic. His knees had begun to give way, and his refusal to see a reputable doctor, instead of being treated by healers in his hometown of Pau Grande, not only spoke volumes about his sheltered upbringing but also ended any hopes of making a recovery. A damaging addiction to alcohol and sex was already in place long before his Brazil debut and it would go on to form the backdrop to the majority of his life rather than the great things he achieved on the pitch.

His condition became worse when two terrible accidents happened to him. In one while he was driving his car drunk he crashed into a lorry in 1969, killing his mother-in-law in the process andon a different occasion ran his father over but and failed to stop.Finally, at the age of just 49, he was dead having fallen into an alcoholic coma from which he never recovered.

Garrincha Career Statistics


Garrincha biography

, in this part, we would have a rundown of his Career Statistics. 


As mentioned before, Garrincha started his professional career with Botafogo in 1953. For the first time, He played in a 5–0 win for Botafogo's reserves and then scored a hat trick on his first-team début against Bonsucesso on July 19, 1953. Garrincha helped Botafogo win the Campeonato Carioca in 1957 by scoring 20 goals in 26 games. After the 1962 World Cup, Garrincha returned to Rio and won with Botafogo in the 1962 Campeonato Carioca final against Flamengo. Garrincha totally played for Botafogo for 12 years. He won the Campeonato Carioca three times with them, scored 232 goals in 581 matches, and became a symbol of the history of the club. 

He was sold to Corinthians In 1966 and two years later, he signed for the Colombian team Atlético Junior. In the same year, he went back to Brazil and joined


and stayed there until 1969. In fact, Garrincha's professional career as a footballer lasted until 1972, when he played for Olaria, but he played occasional exhibition matches until 1982. 


Garrincha joined Brazil's National team in 1955 and generally played 50 international matches for Brazil between 1955 and 1966. Garrincha played for Brazil at the same time as Pele and it might be very interesting for you to know that Brazil never lost when Garrincha and Pelé were in the same lineup.

Garrincha scored one of his most famous goals, against Fiorentina in Italy in May 1958, 10 days before the 1958 World Cup finals started. Despite his wonderful play and the goal he scored, due to his coach's dissatisfaction, he wasn’t chosen for Brazil's first two matches of the 1958 tournament. However, in the next match against the USSR, he played alongside Pele and Brazil won the match 2–0. In the quarter-final, Brazil won 1–0 against Wales and In the final against Sweden, Brazil ended winning the match and its first World Cup trophy, while Garrincha was one of the best players in the tournament; he was voted to the "Best XI" for the competition.

In the 1962 World Cup, Garrincha played a very significant role in Brazil National team. When Pele got injured and he couldn’t play for the rest of the tournament, Garrincha had a leading role in Brazil's triumph, particularly against England and Chile, scoring 4 goals in those two matches. In that tournament, Brazil faced Spain, England, Chile, Czechoslovakia, won all of them and It was the second consecutive World Cup won by Garrincha and Brazil.

1966 World Cup was Garrincha's last ever international tournament. The first match was against Bulgaria in which Brazil won 2–0. The two goals were scored by Garrincha and Pele and it was the only time when Garrincha and Pele both scored goals in the same game. Then Brazil lost 1–3 to Hungary which was the only time Garrincha lost a match with the Brazil national team; he did not play in the last match of the first round against Portugal. Brazil was eliminated in the first round.

In 1973, Garrincha decided to leave professional football. On December 19, 1973, a farewell match for Garrincha between a FIFA World team and Brazil was celebrated at the Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, in front of 131,000 spectators. In the middle of the match the referee stopped the match, Garrincha then did a lap around the pitch before disappearing through the stadium's tunnel. 

Garrincha Honors

Garrincha is undoubtedly one of the greatest footballers in Brazil history and in the world. Many claim he was better than Pele and while this may or may not be the case, everyone who saw Garrincha play has described him as the most uniquely joyful footballer ever.He entered the professional level of football in 1953 and till the end of his life, his prosperous career is highlighted by several trophy wins.Despite all his physical disabilities and personal downfalls, he went on to become a national hero and one of the greatest footballers the world has ever seen.

In 1953 he joined Botafogo where he spent the majority of his career. With this team he could win International Quadrangular Tournament in 1954, State Championship in 1957, 1961and 1962, Interclub Tournament Pentagonal Mexico in1958, International Tournament of Colombia in 1960, International Tournament in Costa Rica in 1961, Tournament Home in 1961, 1962, and 1963, Pentagonal the International Club of México in 1962, Interstate Cup Champions Club in 1962, Rio-São Paulo Tournament in 1962 and 1964, World Champion Clubs (Paris Intercontinental Championship) in 1963, Golden Jubilee Tournament Football Association of La Paz in 1964, Ibero-American Tournament in 1964 and Panamaribo Cup in 1964. He also could win Corinthians' (Rio-São Paulo Tournament) in 1966. 

At the international level he could win FIFA World Cup in 1958 and 1962, O'Higgins Cup in 1955, 1959, and 1961 as well as Oswaldo Cruz Cup in 1960.

Being one of the most influential soccer players in his country and the world, Garrincha won so many individual trophies including FIFA World Cup Golden Ball in1962, FIFA World Cup Golden Boot in 1962, FIFA World Cup All-Star Team in 1958 and 1962, Brazilian Championship Best Player in 1962,Rio-São Paulo Tournament Best Player in 1962, Interstate Club Champions Cup Best Player in 1962, Carioca Championship Best Player in 1957, 1961 and 1962, World Soccer World XI in 1962, Brazilian Football Museum Hall of Fame, World Team of the 20th Century, FIFA World Cup All-Time Team inductee, World Soccer's Greatest Players of the 20th century (1999), L'Équipe's top 50 South-American footballers in history, IFFHS Brazilian Player of the 20th Century (2nd place), IFFHS South American Player of the 20th Century (4th place), IFFHS World Player of the 20th Century (8th place), The Best of The Best – Player of the Century: Top 50, Ballon d'Or in 1962 - Le nouveau palmarès (the new winners), IFFHS Legends and Ballon d'Or Dream Team (Silver) in 2020.

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source: SportMob