He’s universally known in our household, a nickname for my son Charlie since before he could walk. Aged nearly 5 at the time, who knows, I might have even witnessed his famous goal live on TV from the Azteca on midsummer’s day 1970. Sadly I can’t remember it, probably because the only football my Dad ever watched had to involve Glasgow Rangers (a very rare occurrence growing up in South London) and his interest was purely Sectarian rather than for the sake of the beautiful game. I knew a friend at University whose younger brother had the rather romantic middle name Jairzinho, a homage from his father to the great Brazilian winger.
If you have a spare moment, watch some of the highlights of the Brazil v Italy final and other games from that tournament. England, reigning champions, had arguably an even stronger team than 1966 and had been tipped to go all the way. Take a look at the quarter final against West Germany: I have never seen any England team playing with so much poise, confidence, style and, well, looking like a proper football team, even though they did lose after extra time.
But it’s for Brazil’s fourth goal, sealing their victory against Italy, that Carlos Alberto Torres will be remembered for. You can never grow tired of seeing that goal, crowned by the late genius’ thunderbolt of a shot. Now that’s definitely a goal to watch again and again on a continuous loop if your faith in the game wavers. Pele’s beautifully weighted final ball, prompted by Tostao’s spiritual presence of mind.
My favourite part, which for me sums up everything Brazilian, is played by midfielder Clodoaldo. Brazil win back the ball after Italy lose possession and Clodoaldo decides to dribble past and beat four Italian players in his own half and then, wait for it, passes the ball about 3 metres with the end of his toe. Do that and you have to be World Champions.