The primary Brazilian striker to play for Barcelona scored extra occasions than Ronaldo and Romario mixed, had a greater goals-to-games ratio than Neymar or Rivaldo and acquired the objective that knocked Actual Madrid out of the European Cup for the very first time – earlier than crossing that bitter divide two years later.
For Brazil, he holds a goalscoring report that Pele by no means matched, but was prohibited from taking part in on the 1958 World Cup. As a supervisor, he led 16 totally different groups, together with Iraq, the place he labored alongside Saddam Hussein’s son.
Now aged 87, Evaristo de Macedo Filho appears to be like again on a outstanding profession in soccer – and the extraordinary objective that also defines him as a Barca legend, regardless of everything that adopted.
Born in 1933, Evaristo grew up in northern Rio de Janeiro, removed from the town’s well-known seashores and postcard views. He performed soccer only for enjoyable on the streets, however that modified after he tagged alongside to a good friend’s trial at native membership Madureira in 1950.
The coaches requested him to make up the numbers and handed over a pair of outdated boots. Regardless of the footwear being so tight his toes curled, the 17-year-old impressed and was requested to return the next day.
Inside two years, Evaristo had scored 18 targets in 35 video games for Madureira, together with one towards nationwide crew goalkeeper Castilho’s Fluminense on the Maracana – the identical fabled stadium he had squeezed inside to observe the 1950 World Cup last, alongside 200,000 others.
His performances as an beginner for Madureira led to a call-up for the 1952 Olympic Video games in Helsinki, the place Brazil scored 9 targets in three video games earlier than succumbing to an skilled Germany aspect within the quarter-finals.
The small band of Brazilians, together with future two-time World Cup-winners Vava and Zozimo, returned house with enhanced reputations and contract gives from golf equipment across the nation. Evaristo, a lifelong Flamengo fan, acquired the decision he needed most. Over the subsequent three years he helped his boyhood membership to 3 successive Rio State Championships.
“Flamengo was at all times the crew of my coronary heart,” Evaristo tells BBC Sport from his house in Rio de Janeiro. “I grew up watching them with my uncle so there was solely ever one crew for me. I had gives from Vasco da Gama and Fluminense, however Flamengo gave me a lot and I am eternally grateful.”
Remembered as a bodily and ruthless ahead, a lot of Evaristo’s goalscoring data nonetheless stand to today.
Amongst his 103 targets in 191 video games for Flamengo are a quintet of strikes throughout a 12-2 win over Sao Cristovao – the most important win in Maracana historical past. Equally, on the 1957 South American Championships, taking part in for Brazil alongside the legendary Garrincha and Nilton Santos, he scored 5 in a 9-Zero demolition of Colombia, a feat unmatched even by Pele.
It was whereas taking part in for Brazil, throughout qualifying for the 1958 World Cup, that Evaristo’s path diverted from Flamengo.
Barcelona have been in a interval of rebuilding and Josep Samitier, the membership’s technical secretary, had flown to South America searching for a striker. Conscious Italian groups have been additionally scouting, he made Evaristo’s father a proposal that the participant would later name “not possible to show down”. Spanish media reviews counsel it was within the area of 700,000 pesetas, or £6,000 a yr (about £140,000 as we speak).
“Life in Barcelona was regular, tremendous quiet, and by no means problematic – it felt loads like life in Rio de Janeiro at the moment,” remembers Evaristo, who returned briefly to Brazil after three months to marry his childhood sweetheart, Norma.
“Every participant had a fan membership so we have been in demand, however not like it’s as we speak as a result of there have been no cellphones. The membership offered me with everything: a home, a Mercedes, the lot. In addition they absolutely trusted us, so we may exit and eat paella, drink Spanish wines. It was marvellous.”
Content material off the pitch, Evaristo rapidly tailored to life on it. He performed and scored within the first official match on the Nou Camp in September 1957. Six months later, he grew to become the primary participant to get a hat-trick there. And within the following season he repeated the feat, scoring three towards European champions Actual Madrid en path to Barcelona’s first La Liga title in six years.
A match report printed in Hoja del Lunes de Barcelona describes him as a “battering ram” who performed just like the ball was “glued to his ft”.
The membership’s official web site describes Evaristo as “among the best overseas signings Barca ever made” and a “sometimes silky expert Brazilian with a lethal intuition in entrance of objective, a terrific shot with both foot, a strong head, and the type of pace and braveness that made him an ever-present within the Barca first crew for 5 years”.
In a aspect managed by Helenio Herrera, taking part in alongside Laszlo Kubala and Luis Suarez, Evaristo gained two league titles, a Copa del Rey, and the Gala’s Cup – the precursor to the Uefa Cup – twice. Barcelona’s statistics division relayed by e mail that in official matches he scored 105 targets in 151 video games, whereas the membership’s official web site says he scored 181 in 237.
“Evaristo has extra targets than me for Barcelona. Nonetheless, I’ve extra official targets as he scored many in pleasant matches,” Rivaldo, who scored 129 in 235 between 1997 and 2002, tells BBC Sport.
“He has quite a lot of recognition at Barcelona; there are footage of him within the locker room. He was an awesome participant who did loads for Brazilian soccer and in Barcelona I realised that greatness as a result of so many individuals talked about him.”
No matter whether or not friendlies are included, to today Evaristo retains one of the best goals-to-games ratio of any Brazilian to play greater than 50 video games for Barcelona. And one factor by no means disputed is his most notable contribution.
On 23 November 1960, within the second leg of a good European Cup tie towards Actual Madrid and in entrance of 120,000 followers on the Nou Camp, Evaristo scored a surprising diving header with eight minutes to go. The objective, immortalised in a grainy black-and-white photograph and nonetheless on distinguished show contained in the stadium 60 years on, eradicated Barcelona’s most bitter rivals from that competitors for the primary time, ending their hopes of a sixth successive title.
“There was an awesome rivalry between the 2 cities as a result of Madrid is the capital and Barcelona at all times fought for independence,” says Evaristo.
“Madrid was seen by many as Basic Franco’s crew, so it additionally had this nice political rivalry – though I by no means felt any political interference. That objective broke Madrid’s hegemony. It felt like a title for Barcelona due to the rivalry and the very fact it eradicated Madrid.
“It was loopy. We celebrated loads after that match…”
Actual Madrid much less so. Within the glorious e-book Concern and Loathing in La Liga, writer Sid Lowe writes that, through the post-game banquet, Madrid’s gamers tried to beat up the English referee and his assistants, who had disallowed 4 targets, with Barcelona’s gamers intervening to defuse the state of affairs.
Evaristo is diplomatic. “I do not do not forget that, no,” he says. “Madrid complained loads, however I by no means noticed any threats of violence. The gamers had really performed fairly calmly.”
Barcelona went on to succeed in the ultimate for the primary time within the membership’s historical past, with Evaristo scoring six occasions in whole, together with two within the semis. On the Wankdorf Stadium in Bern, they misplaced 3-2 to Benfica in a match now remembered because the ‘Sq.-Posts Ultimate’.
“It was a really unhappy day for Barcelona as a result of we had everything to be European champions,” says Evaristo. “Everything besides luck. The goalposts have been sq. and we hit them 4 or 5 occasions. In the event that they have been around the ball would have gone in. However Benfica had an awesome crew.”
Inside 12 months of that 1961 last, Evaristo had accomplished the unthinkable and joined Actual Madrid after a dispute with Barcelona relating to naturalisation. But in stark distinction to the notorious switch of Luis Figo 38 years later, the membership’s followers directed their anger not on the participant however on the board.
“Barcelona needed me to turn into Spanish to open the likelihood for them to herald one other overseas participant and I did not need that,” he says.
“In Madrid that wasn’t the case. That is why I moved there, in any other case I would have stayed at Barcelona, which I favored extra.”
It was not the primary time the actions of the Barcelona board in relation to Evaristo had been open to query. When he signed his contract in 1957, there was an settlement that, if chosen to symbolize Brazil on the World Cup the next summer time, Barcelona wouldn’t stand in his approach.
Having performed each minute of the two-legged World Cup qualifier towards Peru and with a complete of eight targets in 14 video games, Evaristo anticipated to be a starter for his nation. However with Spain having did not qualify, the Spanish Cup went forward similtaneously the event in Sweden, and Barcelona reneged on their promise to launch him.
Brazil would go on to win their first World Cup, with a 17-year-old Pele scoring a hat-trick within the semi-final and two extra within the last. Evaristo, who would face the teenager two years later when Santos toured Europe, by no means wore the well-known yellow shirt once more.
“I used to be very upset to not be there, however I adopted the video games on the radio,” he says.
“On the day of the ultimate, I used to be at a coaching camp as a result of Barcelona had a recreation the subsequent day and my dad referred to as to interrupt the news. I used to be very pleased to listen to Brazil gained as a result of it was my pals who have been taking part in – and as I performed the video games that helped us qualify, I really feel a bit like a champion too, you recognize?”
In the end, Evaristo’s absence in 1958 and the very fact his exploits in Barcelona went largely unreported at house left his standing in Brazil considerably understated.
Brazilian journalist Milton Neves wrote of Evaristo: “If that they had TV within the 1960s, he could be regarded like Ronaldo.” Mario Zagallo, who gained the World Cup twice as a participant in 1958 and 1962 and once more as supervisor in 1970, referred to as him “the kind of participant who would have had a spot in any crew of his alternative”.
Rivaldo provides: “Little doubt soccer has modified loads. Right this moment it is simpler for a participant to face out with TV, web and social media. For positive although, if Evaristo had been taking part in in one other period, his fame could be completely totally different from the one he ended up having within the 50s and 60s. He was a particular participant.”
When Evaristo stop Barcelona, he had gives from Italy and France however elected to remain in Spain the place, regardless of a critical knee harm limiting him to simply 19 appearances and 6 targets for Madrid, he continued his behavior of gathering home trophies by including two league titles in two seasons.
Very similar to at Barcelona, Madrid’s official web site lists him as a “soccer legend”, alongside fellow former membership stars Alfredo di Stefano, Ferenc Puskas, and Raul.
Evaristo at all times meant to return to Flamengo and he did so in 1965, including one other league title earlier than retiring a yr later, aged 33.
Throughout a 36-year profession in administration that adopted, he gained varied trophies in Brazil with golf equipment together with Santa Cruz, Gremio and Bahia, gave Dani Alves his skilled debut, and fought with Romario whereas in cost at Flamengo.
In April 1985, Evaristo was named Brazil supervisor and requested to arrange for the next yr’s World Cup in Mexico. However he was dismissed after solely a month following three defeats from six and a cussed refusal to pick any overseas-based gamers. He would nonetheless make soccer’s greatest showpiece although – in unlikely style.
“I wasn’t going to permit the Brazilian Federation to intervene in my squad choice, so I left,” Evaristo says.
“I already had a proposal to teach Qatar anyway, so I went there after which when Iraq wanted a coach for the World Cup, I used to be requested to do it.
“I labored instantly with Saddam Hussein’s son, however I by no means went to the nation. We met in Europe after which went straight to Mexico as a result of Iraq was at conflict on the time.”
Iraq, making their solely World Cup look so far, misplaced all three group matches; their squad disrupted by varied gamers being conscripted to serve within the nation’s battle with Iran.
Since retiring in 2005, Evaristo passes most days watching Flamengo and spending time with household – he grew to become a great-grandfather earlier this yr.
But as he speaks by cellphone from his Ipanema residence surrounded by trophies, photographs and different assorted memorabilia, it’s arguably Evaristo’s three youngsters that greatest symbolize his taking part in profession: Evaristo Jr was born in Catalonia, Luis Augusto in Rio, and Maria Mercedes in Madrid.
“I am very proud to have labored in soccer for 56 years and to have achieved such success,” he says.
“Soccer, Flamengo, household and pals. That’s my life now.”
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