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Title: Sócrates  
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Subject: Paulo Roberto Falcão, Euclid of Megara, Diogenes of Sinope, Parmenides, Plato
Collection: 1954 Births, 1979 Copa América Players, 1982 Fifa World Cup Players, 1983 Copa América Players, 1986 Fifa World Cup Players, 2011 Deaths, Acf Fiorentina Players, Anti-Fascists, Associação Desportiva Cabofriense Managers, Association Football Midfielders, Botafogo Futebol Clube (Sp) Managers, Botafogo Futebol Clube (Sp) Players, Brazil International Footballers, Brazilian Columnists, Brazilian Expatriate Footballers, Brazilian Expatriates in Ecuador, Brazilian Expatriates in Italy, Brazilian Footballers, Brazilian Physicians, Campeonato Brasileiro Série a Players, Clube De Regatas Do Flamengo Footballers, Deaths from Infectious Disease, Expatriate Football Managers in Ecuador, Expatriate Footballers in England, Expatriate Footballers in Italy, Fifa 100, Garforth Town F.C. Players, Ldu Quito Managers, People from Belém, People from Ribeirão Preto, Santos Futebol Clube Players, Serie a Players, South American Footballer of the Year Winners, Sport Club Corinthians Paulista Players, University of São Paulo Alumni
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Sócrates in 2005
Personal information
Full name Sócrates Brasileiro Sampaio S. V. Oliveira
Date of birth (1954-02-19)19 February 1954
Place of birth Belém, Pará, Brazil
Date of death 4 December 2011(2011-12-04) (aged 57)
Place of death São Paulo, Brazil
Height 1.93 m (6 ft 4 in)
Playing position Attacking midfielder
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1974–1978 Botafogo-SP 269 (101)
1978–1984 Corinthians 297 (172)
1984–1985 Fiorentina 25 (6)
1986–1987 Flamengo 25 (6)
1988–1989 Santos 23 (7)
1989 Botafogo-SP 0 (0)
2004[1] Garforth Town 1 (0)
Total 640 (292)
National team
1979–1986 Brazil 60 (22)
Teams managed
1990 Botafogo-SP
1996 LDU Quito
1999 Cabofriense
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Sócrates Brasileiro Sampaio de Souza Vieira de Oliveira, MD (19 February 1954 – 4 December 2011), simply Sócrates, was a Brazilian footballer who played as an attacking midfielder. His doctorate in medicine and his political awareness, earned him the nickname "Doctor Socrates".

Easily recognizable for his beard and headband, Sócrates became the "symbol of cool for a whole generation of football supporters".[2] He was a technical playmaker, known for great through passes and his vision on the field, as well as his physical strength. He was also a two-footed player and a prolific goal scorer. His ability to read the game was highly valued, and his signature move was the blind heel pass.[3] He was considered to be one of the greatest midfielders ever to play the game.[4] In 1983, he was named South American Footballer of the Year. In 2004 he was named by Pelé in the FIFA 100 list of the world's greatest living players.[5]

Sócrates played for Brazil for seven years, scoring 22 goals and representing the nation in two World Cups. He captained the team in the 1982 FIFA World Cup; playing in midfield alongside Zico, Falcão and Éder, considered one of the greatest Brazilian national teams ever.[6] He also appeared in the 1979 and 1983 Copa América. At club level, Sócrates played for Botafogo-SP before joining Corinthians in 1978. He moved to Italy to play for Fiorentina, returning to Brazil in 1985 to end his career.


  • Playing career 1
    • Club career 1.1
    • International career 1.2
  • Statistics 2
    • Club 2.1
    • Brazil 2.2
  • Honours 3
  • Personal life 4
  • Politics 5
  • Legacy and death 6
  • Myths 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9

Playing career

Club career

Sócrates was born in Belém do Pará.[2] He began playing football professionally in 1974 for Botafogo-SP in his native Ribeirão Preto, but spent the majority of his career (1978 to 1984) with Corinthians, scoring 41 goals in 59 Série A games, and 172 goals in 297 matches in total.[7]

In 1984–85, aged 30, Sócrates had his first experience abroad, playing in Serie A with Fiorentina. He returned to his country after that sole season, representing Flamengo, Santos and former club Botafogo-SP, and retiring in 1989.[7]

In 2004, more than a decade after retiring, 50-year-old Sócrates agreed to a one month player-coaching deal with Garforth Town of the Northern Counties East Football League in England.[8] He made his only appearance for the club on 20 November, against Tadcaster Albion, coming on as a substitute twelve minutes from time.[9]

International career

Sócrates was capped 60 times for Brazil between May 1979 and June 1986, scoring 22 goals.[9] He captained the national team at the 1982 FIFA World Cup, and also appeared in the 1986 World Cup in Mexico.[7] In the latter edition, he scored twice, starting with the game's only goal against Spain in the group stage.[10] he added another in the round-of-16 4–0 win over Poland, shooting his penalty kick without running; in the following game, against France, he tried to convert it in the same fashion, but had his shootout attempt saved by goalkeeper Joël Bats.[11]

Sócrates also represented the country at the 1979 and 1983 Copa América tournaments. In the latter he appeared in only one game, the second leg of the final against Uruguay (1–1 home draw, 1–3 aggregate loss).[12]



Club performance League Cup Other Continental Total
Season Club League Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Brazil League Copa do Brasil State League South America Total
1973 Botafogo-SP 0 0
1974 0 0
1975 0 0
1976 Série A 19 5 15 19 20
1977 16 9 16 9
1978 22 10 0 0 22 10
1978 Corinthians Série A 0 0 20 0 20
1979 0 0
1980 Série A 16 13 16 13
1981 1 1 1 1
1982 9 5 9 5
1983 20 15 20 15
1984 13 7 13 7
Italy League Coppa Italia Supercoppa Europe Total
1984–85 Fiorentina Serie A 25 6 1 4 2 29 9
Brazil League Copa do Brasil State League South America Total
1985 Flamengo Série A 0 0 0 0
1986 11 3 11 3
1987 0 0 0 0
1988 Santos Série A 5 2 0 0 5 2
1989 Botafogo-SP Série B 0 0 0 0
England League FA Cup FA Vase Europe Total
2004–05 Garforth Town NCEFL 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
Total Brazil 132 70 35 0 0 132 105
Italy 25 6 1 4 2 29 9
England 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
Career total 158 76 1 0 35 4 2 162 114


Brazil national team
Year Apps Goals
1979 6 5
1980 8 2
1981 15 6
1982 9 4
1983 8 2
1984 0 0
1985 5 1
1986 9 2
Total 60 22


Personal life

Sócrates lived in Ribeirão Preto with his wife and six children. He was a columnist for a number of newspapers and magazines, writing not only about sports, but also politics and economics. He frequently appeared on Brazilian TV programmes as a football pundit. At the time of his death, Sócrates was writing a fictional book about the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.[16]

Sócrates was a doctor of medicine, a rare achievement for a professional footballer (he was a graduate of the Faculdade de Medicina de Ribeirão Preto).[17] Even rarer is the fact that he earned the degree while concurrently playing professional football. After retiring as a player he practised medicine at Ribeirão Preto.[2]

He was also noted for being an intellectual, a heavy drinker and a smoker.[11] His younger brother Raí was also a footballer and an attacking midfielder, being a member of the Brazilian team that won the World Cup in 1994, notably playing for São Paulo and for Paris Saint-Germain.[18][19][20]


During his time at Corinthians, Sócrates co-founded the Corinthians Democracy movement, in opposition to the then-ruling military government. Sócrates and his team mates protested against the regime's treatment of footballers, and showed support to the wider movement for democratisation, by wearing shirts with "Democracia" written on them during games.[21] Sócrates has stated that three of his childhood heroes were Fidel Castro, Che Guevara and John Lennon.[22] "Lula was good, he said, but earned a mere seven or so out of ten for how he had governed Brazil."[23]

Legacy and death

Pelé named Sócrates in the FIFA 100 list of the world's greatest living players in March 2004 and World Soccer named him one of 100 best footballers in history. In October 2008, he was inducted into the Pacaembu Brazilian Football Museum Hall of Fame.

The Brazilian's health started to deteroriate, on 19 August 2011, Sócrates was admitted to intensive care in the Albert Einstein Hospital in São Paulo with gastrointestinal bleeding secondary to portal hypertension and was discharged nine days later.[24] The following month he spent 17 days in hospital with a liver ailment.[25] On 1 December 2011, he was hospitalised with food poisoning which developed into septic shock and he was put on life-support.[26] He died on 4 December 2011 at the age of 57.[27] He was survived by his wife and six children.[28]

President of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff, paid tribute, saying Brazil had lost "one of its most cherished sons". "On the field, with his talent and sophisticated touches, he was a genius. Off the field... he was active politically, concerned with his people and his country."[4]

Corinthians fans held up signs in tribute and there was a moment of silence before the team's match against Palmeiras (a 0–0 draw which secured Corinthians their first Brazilian title for six years).[4] The result matched a professed desire of Sócrates, who had once stated his wish "to die on a sunday when Corinthians won a trophy".[29] Fiorentina held a minute's silence before their league match against Roma, and the players wore black armbands in tribute.[4]

Former Brazil striker Ronaldo tweeted: "Sad start to the day. Rest in peace Dr. Socrates."[4] Zico called him "unique".[4] Italy's Paolo Rossi described the death as "a piece of our history that's broken off and gone away".[4] Garforth chairman Simon Clifford paid tribute to the "great grace" of Sócrates.[1]


There is a persistent myth that Sócrates studied medicine in Dublin, Ireland, and that during this time he played reserve football for University College Dublin. The rumour gained some credibility following articles in several newspapers apparently confirming it, in one case even citing a confirmation by a named source within the Football Association of Ireland.[30][31] The story is, however, untrue, and has been debunked in other newspaper articles,[32][33][34] and denied by the Dublin college.[35]


  1. ^ a b "Garforth chairman pays tribute to Brazil legend Socrates".  
  2. ^ a b c Jurejko, Jonathan (4 December 2011). "Obituary: Socrates". BBC Sport. Retrieved 4 December 2011. 
  3. ^ "The Greatest Offensive Midfielders of All-Time – Xtratime Community". Xtratime. Retrieved 4 December 2011. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g "Brazil football legend Socrates dies at 57".  
  5. ^ "Pele's list of the greatest". BBC Sport. 4 March 2004. Retrieved 22 November 2013. 
  6. ^ Daniel Pearl (3 April 2006). "No flair please, he's Brazilian". London: BBC. Retrieved 3 July 2006. 
  7. ^ a b c Glanville, Brian (4 December 2011). "Sócrates: Formidable captain of the Brazilian team in the 1982 World Cup".  
  8. ^ "Samba stars to join Garforth Town". BBC Sport. 27 October 2004. Retrieved 4 December 2011. 
  9. ^ a b "Brazil World Cup captain Sócrates: a factfile". The Guardian (London). 4 December 2011. Retrieved 4 December 2011. 
  10. ^ Spain – Brazil 0–1 (0–0); Planet World Cup, 1 June 1986
  11. ^ a b Henderson, Jon (21 May 2009). "Seven deadly sins of football: Socrates, the smoking supremo". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 4 December 2011. 
  12. ^ "Copa América 1983". RSSSF. Retrieved 28 March 2013.
  13. ^ a b "Sócrates". National Football Teams. Retrieved 12 March 2013. 
  14. ^ "Socrates Brazilian Série A stats".  
  15. ^ "Socrates career stats". Football Retrieved 12 March 2013. 
  16. ^ Bellos, Alex (13 June 2010). "'"Sócrates: 'Everyone who comes to Brazil falls in love with someone. The Guardian (UK). Retrieved 7 June 2011. 
  17. ^ "Greatest Who Never Won a World Cup". Life. Retrieved 4 December 2011. 
  18. ^ Ramil, Tatiana (4 December 2011). "Former Brazil captain Socrates dies at 57". Reuters India. Retrieved 11 January 2012. 
  19. ^ "Europe's surprising challenge to the latin game". The New York Times. 9 July 1994.
  20. ^ "Where are they now? Rai". The Guardian. 22 June 2008.
  21. ^ "Sócrates – midfielder and anti-dictatorship resister". Libcom. 12 July 2007. Retrieved 7 June 2011. 
  22. ^ Mitten, Andy (25 February 2010). "Andy Mitten Column: Interview with Socrates". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 4 December 2011. 
  23. ^ "Sócrates".  
  24. ^ "Former Brazil captain Socrates discharged from hospital". BBC Sport. 27 August 2011. Retrieved 4 December 2011. 
  25. ^ Reuters (4 December 2011). "Former Brazil captain Sócrates dies in hospital at the age of 57". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 January 2012. 
  26. ^ "Sócrates on life support in hospital after suffering from septic shock". The Guardian (London). 3 December 2011. Retrieved 4 December 2011. 
  27. ^ "Breaking news: Brazil legend Socrates dies aged 57".  
  28. ^ "Former Brazil Soccer Captain Socrates Dies at 57". TSN. 4 December 2011. Retrieved 4 December 2011. 
  29. ^
  30. ^ Sean Ingle (13 September 2000). "Knowledge Unlimited". The Guardian (UK). Retrieved 7 June 2011. 
  31. ^ Ingle, Sean; Murray, Scott (10 January 2002). "Shooting from the hip". The Guardian (UK). Retrieved 7 June 2011. 
  32. ^ Jaycarax (30 June 2009). "1. UCD Legends Debunked: Sócrates". UCD Hidden History Wordpress. Retrieved 7 June 2011. 
  33. ^ Enda McEvoy and Kieran Shannon (16 April 2006). "Will Socrates Myth Ever Be Put To Bed?". Tribune. Retrieved 7 June 2011. 
  34. ^ "All in the game".  
  35. ^ "History". UCD Soccer. 1 January 2010. Retrieved 7 June 2011. 

External links

  • Sócrates – FIFA competition record
  • Sócrates at
  • Garforth debut photo gallery at BBC
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