Top facts about Mario Zagallo, the Old Wolf

Sat 11 December 2021 | 17:30

Mario Zagallo became the first man to lift the World Cup trophy both as a player and as a manager. He has four World Cup triumphs to his name. Two as a player, one as a manager and one as an assistant manager. Read on to find out more facts about Mario Zagallo, the professor.

Mario Zagallo

(born 9 of August of 1931) is a former coach and former footballer Brazilian who played as left-winger.

Mario Zagallo’s age

is 90. Here you can find out the most important facts about Mario Zagallo, the legendary coach.

The first fact about Mario Zagallo is that he holds the record for World Cup titles overall. Already victorious as a player in 1958 and 1962, he won the competition as a coach in 1970 (being, to date, one of the only 3 people to win the Cup as a player and as a coach) and then as technical coordinator in 1994, totaling four achievements out of three different functions.

Zagallo also coached


in 1974 and 1998 (during the latter, he won a vice-championship) and was again technical coordinator of the Brazilian team during the 2006 World Cup, making up the coaching staff of Carlos Alberto Parreira, reediting the 1994 partnership, this time without success. There were five finals in seven appearances at the World Cups.

In 1992, Zagallo received the FIFA Order of Merit, FIFA's highest honor, for his contributions to football. In 2013, he was elected the ninth the best coach of all time by the Soccer Magazine.

Top facts about Mario Zagallo:

With four World Cup championships overall, he retains the record for most World Cup titles. He was the first man to win the FIFA World Cup as both a manager and a player, winning the competition as a player in 1958 and 1962, manager in 1970, and assistant manager in 1994.

Mario Zagallo early life

Already in high school, Zagallo showed aptitude for sports, especially football. Regarding

Mario Zagallo’s childhood

, it is worth mentioning that at the time, he already knew he would pursue a career in football.

Speaking about

Mario Zagallo’s parents

, it should be mentioned that his father, Aroldo, wanted his son to take an accounting course to help him in the family's fabric factory. It was up to his brother, Fernando, to convince his father to let him do what he liked best: play with ball.

Mario Zagallo personal life

On January 13, 1955, Zagallo (actual surname Zakour, a Lebanese surname from Zahle) married Alcina de Castro in the Church of the Capuchins in Rio de Janeiro. Until de Castro's death on November 5, 2012, they stayed together. Mário and Alcina were the parents of four children. He is a devout Catholic.

Mario Zagallo professional career

As a player in 1958 and 1962, Zagallo featured alongside Pele in both of those World Cup tournaments in a magnificent forward line, scoring in the 1958 final alongside the legendary striker. 

Zagallo’s last job was the technical coordinator of the Brazilian national team between 2003 and 2006 and after that, he officially announced his retirement.

Mario Zagallo club career

As he was a member of América-RJ, his club of the heart, Zagallo started his career at the club itself, in the amateur divisions, as well as finding time to play volleyball. At that time, he also played table tennis, even winning titles in the youth category.

In 1949, the young man won his first title: the Rio de Janeiro Amateur Championship. In the same year, he helped the club win the Home Tournament of the Carioca Championship.


In 1950, he moved to Flamengo, a club for which he won, among others, the three-time title in Rio (1953, 1954, 1955). He left the club right after the 1958 World Cup. He didn't want to leave Flamengo, but the delay of the red-black board made him sign with Botafogo.

According to figures from the "Almanaque do Flamengo", by Roberto Assaf and Clóvis Martins, he played for the club in 205 games (128 wins, 38 draws and 39 defeats) and scored 29 goals.


An important fact about Mario Zagallo is that he was two-time Rio champion at Botafogo, the club where he also won the Brazil Cup, and other titles, as well as two-time world champion for the Brazilian team. At Botafogo, he participated in the team's heyday, playing alongside stars such as Garrincha, Didi and Nílton Santos.

Mario Zagallo international career

His Rio titles and winning the Taça Brasil made him join the Brazilian soccer team. With him, Brazil innovated tactically and played in 1958 in a 4-3-3 scheme, as Zagallo was a left winger who retreated to help in midfield. In that Cup and the next (1962) he left Pepe, a great Santos star and


's partner, in reserve.

Mario Zagallo style of play

A notable

fact about Mario Zagallo

is that he was a medium-sized and slight left winger, but known for his technical skills. At the beginning of his career, he almost never won a split, but he made up for his lack of muscle mass with a lot of speed, fast movements, and remarkable tactical intelligence.

He was considered a player ahead of his time, as he did a very good defensive job, in addition to his ability to execute attacks from deeper areas of the field. He was also able to play as a striker, main striker or inside striker.

His versatility allowed Vicente Feola (coach in the 1958 World Cup) to innovate and show the world the 4-3-3 (at the time, the teams used the 4-2-4).

In an interview with journalist André Rocha's blog Olho Tático, Zagallo said the following about the tactical structure of 1958, “The 4-3-3 was not born in 1962. In 1958, I did the dual function. With the ball I was a pointer but I could also stay and cover Nilton Santos.

Without the ball, I was the man who gave the numerical advantage: if the opponent played on our side, I would help Nilton score the striker. Two against one. opposite side, closed and we were Zito, Didi and I. Three against two in midfield."

Mario Zagallo coaching career

Months after retiring as a player in 1966, he began his career as a youth coach at Botafogo, starting his long career.

In clubs he coached Botafogo on four occasions, Flamengo three times (according to numbers from "Almanaque do Flamengo", he managed the club, in total, in 236 matches [116 wins, 59 draws and 61 losses], Vasco da Gama twice, and also Fluminense, Al Hilal, Bangu and Portuguesa.

In national teams, he commanded the Brazilian team three times, the Kuwait team, the Saudi team and the United Arab Emirates team. His last job was in 2006, as technical coordinator of Carlos Alberto Parreira in the Brazilian team.

An important

fact about Mario Zagallo

is that he won a world championship as a coach for the National Team and one as a technical coordinator, in addition to winning two editions of the Confederations Cup. Also, as a coach, he won two South American titles and several other titles, which made him a world-renowned coach.

According to the book "Selecção Brasileira - 90 anos", by Roberto Assaf and Antonio Carlos Napoleão, Zagallo's numbers as coach of the Brazilian main team are as follows: 135 games (99 wins, 26 draws and 10 defeats).

As commander of the Olympic team, there were 19 matches (14 wins, three draws and two defeats). And as technical coordinator Zagallo was present in 72 games (39 wins, 25 draws and eight defeats).

Mario Zagallo, a world cup legend

Every football player aspires to win the World Cup. Some people reach this aim, while others enjoy the rarefied air of numerous victories. When it comes to dominating the footballing globe, Mário Zagallo is in a league of his own.

He won it twice as a player before going on to win it two more times as a manager and assistant manager. It's a four-time world champion with a reputation for being greedy.

The great Brazilian's fingerprints are firmly imprinted on his country's World Cup history, and hence on the best World Cup history available. His first gold medal came as a member of the legendary Brazil team of 1952.

Pelé scored twice in a 5-2 win against


, while Zagallo added a goal of his own in the final. He won his second gold four years later, but unlike most athletic tales, achieving the summit of his career is just the start of Zagallo's story.

A notable fact about Mario Zagallo is that he finished his playing career with Botafogo in 1965 and became the manager of Fogoa the following year.

In his first two years on the job, he won the Taca Brasil, as well as a pair of Rio State Championships and Guanabara Cups. At the same time, the Brazilian national squad was suffering from a lack of confidence.

The 1966 World Cup saw an incredible collection of players being booted, body checked, and eventually tossed out. The way in which the rival teams attacked Brazil was terrible. Nonetheless, there was a nagging feeling that such a crude technique should not destabilize what was claimed to be the best squad on the globe.

Pelé, in particular, had been subjected to some severe difficulties, first against Bulgaria and then against Portugal. The legendary Brazilian said that he would never play in another World Cup, but would happily change his mind.

The Brazilian Football Association turned to Zagallo, a brilliant player who could mix Samba flare with gritty steel. He was tasked with turning around Brazil's problems, but after a short spell as president from 1967 to 1968, he returned to Botafogo.

Zagallo returned to the most desired and pressured managerial post in Brazilian, if not global football, two years later, in 1970, when his term at Botafogo had come to an end. He won the World Cup the following year, and his tactical acumen and attention to detail were crucial in Brazil's victory in Mexico.

A notable fact about Mario Zagallo is that he organized a 21-day training camp in Guanajuato for his squad. The area was comparable in height to Mexico City, which would host the World Cup final.

It was essential in bringing a group of undeniably talented athletes into the greatest physical form of their lives. While Zagallo's strength was essential, he also had a smart tactical mind that would be crucial in returning Brazil to the top of the game.

The Seleçao had qualified for the tournament by playing a 4-2-4 configuration, which Zagallo believed was outdated and would expose them in a big international event. Instead, he'd go with a 4-3-3 configuration, the same one that helped Brazil win the World Cup in 1958, and bring Rivellino into the middle.

Rivellino had been the odd man out in past Brazil teams, unable to get a starting spot, but under Zagallo, he would play a key role in the team's victory. He could not only create damage from the left flank, but his presence gave Pelé greater opportunity to work his destructive brand of brilliance.

Pelé himself considered the choice as completing probably Brazil's finest squad. Brazil defeated world champions England in the group stage on their road to the final. It was a thrilling match between two world-class teams, with Brazil coming out on top 1-0.

Brazil's toughest test on the way to the final came in the semi-final, which was as much a mental game as it was a physical one. The tragedy of the Maracan in the 1950 World Cup final will be remembered by Brazilians for the rest of their lives. On that day, Uruguay pulled off one of football's greatest shocks by winning the World Cup in their own living room from Brazil.

The score was knotted at 1-1 after a tense first half, and Zagallo's pep talk would change the tide. The demons of 1950 had been exorcised thanks to a revitalized second-half performance that resulted in a 3-1 victory.

The final would be a far more relaxed affair, thanks to Zagallo's meticulous attention to detail, which made it one of the most one-sided World Cup finals ever.

Zagallo's team finally realized the benefits of their three-week pre-tournament boot camp, which took place at almost 2,000 feet above sea level. Brazil thrashed their Italian opponents 4-1 because they were fitter, stronger, and generally superior.

Carlos Alberto's fourth goal in the game is one of the most replayed and discussed goals in history. It was the ultimate way to crown Zagallo's greatest managerial triumph, from the methodical build-up play to Pelé's slow, precisely measured pass, and the finely timed run and thundering finish.

An important fact about Mario Zagallo is that he went on to captain Brazil to the 1974 World Cup semi-finals before moving on to Al-Hilal and Kuwait.

After that, he led the UAE to their first-ever World Cup in Italia 90. Zagallo's ability to work with the best football skill while also motivating players to realize their full potential is possibly his most valuable quality.

Brazilian football slipped into slumber at this time, as the glory years of 1958, 1962, and 1970 faded away. They hadn't advanced beyond the semi-finals since that night in Mexico City, and they'd need Zagallo's help once again in 1994.

A notable fact about Mario Zagallo is that he returned to America like a great time traveler, come to teach lesser football heads the wisdom of how to win.

Carlos Alberto Parreira was in charge, and he enlisted the help of Zagallo. Samba football would rule supreme once again in a more organised Brazil team, with


patrolling the midfield and sprinkling of gold dust in Romário and Bebeto.

After a goalless 120 minutes in the final against Italy, Roberto Baggio went up to take a penalty, keeping the Azzurri's hopes alive. The tournament's best player, Italy's Andrea Pirlo, missed his effort, giving Brazil a record-tying fourth championship. Zagallo had won a medal in each of them, which was incredible.

Despite being the assistant manager, Zagallo's effect on the 1994 squad is extensively documented. The triumph in the World Cup ushered in a rebirth in Brazilian football, which Zagallo would lead for the next four years.

His most important duty was to lead the national team in defending their championship in France after winning the Copa América and Confederations Cup in 1997. Those competitions in 1997 were a watershed moment in a young Ronaldo's international career.

He scored nine goals in the Confederations Cup final against Australia, including a hat-trick, and was poised to shine in the World Cup the following year.

Brazil shone brightly in France, scoring 14 goals on route to the final. Ronaldo scored four of them, and he seemed to be on track to repeat his electric performance in the 1997 final at the Stade de France. It wasn't to be, of course.

El Fenomeno's status in the squad was questioned when he had a seizure on the morning of the final. Ultimately, Ronaldo played, but a France led by

Zinedine Zidane

cruised to a deserving 3-0 victory. While Ronaldo and his teammates would go on to sweep the globe in Japan and Korea four years later, Zagallo's last significant act as Brazil's manager would come in Paris.

When you evaluate the timeframe in which the guy from Maceió accomplished his accomplishment, you can see his full genius. France 1998 arrived 40 years after his first World Cup victory as a player and 28 years after he repeated the feat as a manager.

Zagallo embodies the characteristics that have made Brazilian football so addicting over time. Samba beats tap from his toes, strategies churn in his mind, and he has an insatiable thirst for achievement and a natural capacity to win. Mário Zagallo is a goliath of the game, despite his tiny stature of five foot six inches.

Mario Zagallo legacy as a player and a coach

By many accounts, he is the greediest guy in football, having been so successful at both playing and managing that he has kept the rest of the globe from even approaching success for so long.

Yes, Zagallo has four World Cup victories to his credit. Two times as a player, one time as a manager, and one time as an assistant manager. When it comes to success in this competition, the Brazilian blasts everyone else out of the water, and his name will be permanently linked to it for a variety of reasons.

Zagallo won it as a player in 1958 and 1962, and he played in a fantastic front line with Pele in each of those tournaments, scoring in the 1958 final alongside the renowned striker.

However, it was eight years after his second World Cup victory that the world came to a halt in amazement to behold what is rightfully regarded as the greatest football squad ever assembled. At the very least, it should be.

Zagallo returned to the national team after a short term in command in 1967-68 to take on, perhaps, the most demanding position in international football. It was here that the pages of history were written. It was here that the model for fast-paced football was created.

Zagallo moulded a Brazilian aspect to a style that has become synonymous with the nation here. Brazil in 1970 was the best the world had ever seen.

The Seleço were in a state of flux at this period. Former manager Joo Saldanha was fired following a dispute with Brazil's president Emlio Garrastaz Médici about the deployment of specific players.

Zagallo walked in. He had just one goal in mind, despite the ongoing off-field troubles, and that was to figure out how to put Brazil's wealth of skill into one roster.

After keeping the previous coach's 4-2-4 formation, Zagallo began about figuring out how to combine his plethora of exceptional number tens into one side.

Rivellino had been neglected by Saldanha, who had relegated him to the bench on many occasions. Zagallo, on the other hand, recognized him for what he was: a refined dribbler with a tremendous left foot. There was also Jairzinho, who was lightning fast with the ball in his hands and had the power and dexterity to go one-on-one with anybody.

Gerson was the puppet master in the middle of midfield, pulling all the strings and had a range of pass that no other player in global football possessed. There was also Pele and Tosto to consider. Who could anyone forget?

Felix was in goal for the back four, which included captain Carlos Alberto, Piazza, Brito, and Everaldo. Clodoaldo was the only player that was absent, since he was the ideal partner for Gerson in midfield, where the two united to function as the pivot in the middle of the pitch, from which the strikers could weave their magic.

Zagallo's ability to play both Pele and Tosto was crucial, and he made a lot of tactical adjustments to make it work for the tournament. Pele would go a notch deeper than Tosto, serving as the primary playmaker and possibly the closest thing to a natural 10.

This meant Tosto was the starting number nine, albeit he was more of a false nine, roving around the front line and dropping deep to dislodge defenders and create space out wide.

When Tosto made a run, the centre backs would follow, allowing Pele or Jairzinho to cut in from the right side. Saldanha had been worried by Rivellino's mystery, but Zagallo chose to play him as an unconventional winger, sliding towards the center to form a three-man midfield with Clodoaldo and Gerson. Zagallo, on the other hand, would give him the freedom to rush forward and join up with Pele in attacking situations, allowing him to utilize his deadly left foot.

Piazza, Brito, and Everaldo would be on the defensive. The former was originally a defender, but his re-imagining in the position was yet another example of Zagallo's tactical foresight, as he knew his better ball-handling abilities would help the Seleço's build-up play. Carlos Alberto, who was supposed to blast down the right wing whenever Brazil was in control - which was practically all of the time - is missing from the back four.

These side changes were groundbreaking. Other teams had played with some of the components Zagallo used, but none had done so successfully.

Despite all of his efforts, all that was instilled in the side tactically were only instructions. These were the finest players on the globe, and their particular abilities enabled them to break out and form 'Joga Bonito.'

When the competition began, a group consisting of England, the defending world champions, Czechoslovakia, and Romania presented a formidable challenge. Four years ago, European steel and hostility were the factors that finally ousted Brazil from the World Cup; however, no such difficulties would appear this time.

Brazil was about to amaze the globe as it had never been seen before. The world looked back in wonder, marveling as the Seleço demolished Czechoslovakia, with the public viewing in color for the first time. After falling down in the 11th minute, they came back to win 4-1 with a magnificent performance of team spirit, flair, and ruthlessness.

Then came their toughest test. England awaited Zagallo's men, but an injury to Gerson in the first game caused concerns, with such a crucial piece of the Brazilian puzzle having deserted them.

They were on the verge of taking the lead, only to be stopped by Gordon Banks' best save of all time. Brazil persisted in finding ways to break through

Bobby Moore

's stalwart defense. With 30 minutes left, Pele supplied Jairzinho for the game's sole goal, ensuring that Brazil had passed their toughest test without losing a key piece in their machine.

Rivellino was rested for the last group game against


, but Zagallo nevertheless urged his team to delight the world, which they dutifully did to earn a quarter-final match against Peru.

They not only defeated, but also schooled the Peruvians with Gerson back in the lineup.

For 90 minutes, they used every imaginable method of attack and did all that could be done on a football surface. They showered down on the South American side from every angle, with the confidence and audacity to do unstoppable flips and tricks the whole time. With a 4-2 victory, Uruguay awaited in the semi-finals.

Another difficult test, made considerably more difficult when Brazil went down to a 19th-minute effort. However, they stormed back, leaving 11 players whimpering in terror as wave after wave of penetrable strikes ripped holes in their defense.

Meanwhile, back home, fans were treated to a display of footballing magnificence that had never been seen before. Brazil would win the game 3-1, and they would face Italy in the final.

The world's most deadly offensive force was pitted against Europe's most strong defense, which successfully counterattacked.

On paper, this was an intriguing matchup. A World Cup final that ended up being one of the most one-sided in history. Aware of the Italians' tactics, Zagallo instructed his team to wear them down by repeatedly passing the ball across midfield to avoid man-marking. Oh, my goodness, did it work.

The first goal came from a throw in, demonstrating their ability to score from almost any position. Rivellino took the ball short and lofted it into the air for Pele to head home his country's 100th goal in World Cup events.

Before halftime, Zagallo's men were leveled thanks to a defensive blunder that enabled Roberto Boninsegna to punish his team. They didn't have to show up for the second half.

This was not a competition. Football was elevated to a real art form by the indomitable Brazilians. They were the embodiment of everyone's football fantasies both before and after. Before Carlos Alberto, the captain, clinched the deal, Gerson scored the second goal and Jairzinho added his sixth goal of the tournament.

It is one of the most talked-about and replayed goals in history. It was the right way to cap off Zagallo's greatest managerial triumph, from the methodical build-up play through Pele's sluggish but sublimely poised pass, and Carlos Alberto's wonderfully timed run and thunderous finish.

He made history by being the first person to win the World Cup as both a player and a manager. An honor that has subsequently been equaled, but never surpassed.

In 1994, he won the title as an assistant, and in 1998, he led Brazil to the final for the second time. Nothing, however, could compare to the year 1970. Zagallo had created a style of football that was swift, inventive, and full of personality. Potent, fluid, and unstoppable, yet strategically unrivaled. It was authentic 'Joga Bonito.'

Some quick facts about Mario Zagallo:

Mario Zagallo managed Brazil in 1974 (fourth place) and 1998 (second place), as well as serving as a technical assistant in 2006. He is the first of three men to win the World Cup as a player and manager, joining Germany's

Franz Beckenbauer

and France's

Didier Deschamps

, and the only one to do so more than twice.

For his contributions to football, Zagallo was awarded the FIFA Order of Merit in 1992, FIFA's highest honor. In 2013, World Soccer Magazine rated him the 9th Greatest Manager of All Time.

An important

fact about Mario Zagallo

is that he began his football career in 1948 with América and eventually went on to play for Flamengo and Botafogo. As a player for Brazil, he won the World Cup in 1958 and 1962. Zagallo was a Flamengo player at the time of the 1958 tournament, but by the 1962 edition, he had switched to Botafogo.

Between 1958 and 1964, he earned 33 caps for Brazil. Zagallo was a small-framed left winger who was recognized for his technical abilities and great defensive work-rate, as well as his ability to make offensive runs from deeper parts of the field. He could also play as a striker, either as a central striker or as an inside forward.

A notable

fact about Mario Zagallo

is that he won the World Cup with Brazil as a manager in 1970 and as an assistant coach in 1994.

He was the first individual to win the World Cup in both player and management roles. At the age of 38, he became the second youngest coach to win a World Cup, following Alberto Suppici, who won with Uruguay in 1930 at the age of 31.

Because of his tactical expertise and imposing presence on the bench, Zagallo was called The Professor by his players throughout his coaching career. Due to his surname "Lobo," which means "wolf," he was also known as Velho Lobo ("Old Wolf").

In 2005, Zagallo was one of the three judges of the sports reality show Joga 10, presented by Rede Bandeirantes.

Mario Zagallo career honors

  • Rio de Janeiro State Championship (1967, 1968, 1972, 2001)

  • Taça Brasil (1968)

  • FIFA World Cup (1970)

  • FIFA Confederations Cup (1997)

  • Copa America (1997)

  • Copa dos Campeões (2001)

Mario Zagallo social media


Mario Zagallo social media

, it should be mentioned that he does not have any pages on any social media platforms.

Mario Zagallo body measurements

Speaking about

Mario Zagallo body measurements

, it should be mentioned that the former coach is 167 cm and 61 kg.

Mario Zagallo net worth and salary

Mario Zagallo's net worth

is believed to be between $13 million and $14 million dollars. From his major profession as a soccer player and coach, he has amassed a substantial fortune.

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source: SportMob

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