By Issy Ronald, CNN
After playing in two World Cup winning teams in 1958 and 1962, he went on to win the tournament in 1970 as head coach, masterminding an all-conquering Brazil widely regarded as one of the greatest teams in history.
With that success, he became the first ever person to win the tournament as both a player and a coach, before he added a fourth trophy in 1994 as assistant coach to Carlos Alberto Parreira.
“It is with great sadness that we inform you of the death of our eternal four-time world champion Mário Jorge Lobo Zagallo,” the statement on his Instagram said.
“A devoted father, loving grandfather, caring father-in-law, faithful friend, successful professional and a great human being. A giant idol. A patriot who leaves us a legacy of great achievements.
“We thank God for the time we were able to spend with you and we ask the Father that we find comfort in the good memories and the great example you leave us.”
Deeply involved in four of his country’s five World Cup wins – and serving as an advisor for its fifth win in 2002 – Zagallo became emblematic of the Seleção with his successful record and infectious patriotism.
“My passion for the national team started when they didn’t have players or a coach. Yellow would never leave my head,” he told FIFA for a documentary celebrating his 90th birthday.
After his death, the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) announced a seven-day mourning period “in honor of the memory of its eternal champion,” and a minute’s silence at all matches in the first round of the Northeast Cup Qualifiers.
“The CBF and Brazilian football mourn the death of one of its greatest legends, Mário Jorge Lobo Zagallo. The CBF expresses its condolences to his family and fans in this moment of grief for the departure of this idol of our football,” said CBF president Ednaldo Rodrigues in a statement.
Zagallo had barely played for Brazil before the 1958 World Cup, but he became an integral member of the team during the tournament, allowing coach Vicente Feola to switch formations, and scored a goal in the final, according to the FIFA documentary. He was the last surviving member of that legendary team’s starting line-up that played in the 1958 World Cup final.
As the head coach in 1970, Zagallo harnessed the attacking talent within Brazil’s team to great effect, a performance capped with arguably the greatest goal in a World Cup final, scored by Carlos Alberto after nine of the 10 outfield players had some role in the goal’s creation.
His ability to read a game and tactical nous earned him the nicknames “Old Wolf” and “The Professor,” while his superstitious love of the number 13 and passionate outbursts further endeared him to the Brazilian public.
In a statement, FIFA President Gianni Infantino paid tribute to Zagallo as “a man whose impact on the FIFA World Cup is unparalleled” and who exerted a “supreme” influence on soccer, both inside and outside Brazil.
Brazil and Real Madrid star Éder Militão was also among those paying tribute to Zagallo, posting on X, formerly known as Twitter, “Thank you for everything you did for Brazilian football!”
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