Two-time Brazilian World Cup-winning midfielder Zito dies at 82

Former Brazil midfielder Zito, who played at the heart of the sides that won the 1958 and 1962 World Cups, has died at the age of 82.

Zito, full name Jose Ely de Miranda, played 52 times for Brazil, mostly as a defensive midfielder.

He spent his entire club career with Sao Paulo club Santos, playing 733 games and scoring 57 goals.

As Santos’ captain, he was team-mate to Pele, who at the time was considered the world’s greatest football talent.

But it was at international level that Zito really shone, forming a formidable partnership with Didi.

Their presence at the heart of midfield in the 1958 tournament allowed the attacking talents of Garrincha, Vava and Pele to shine in back-to-back 5-2 wins over France in the semi-final and hosts Sweden in the final.

Four years later in Chile, Zito was named named in Fifa’s team of the tournament. He scored the second goal in the final against Czechoslovakia as Brazil – without the injured Pele – came from behind to win 3-1.

In recent years Zito, who had been unwell since suffering a stroke last year, was a director at Santos.

He was credited with spotting the talent of Barcelona and Brazil star Neymar, signing him for the Sao Paulo club in 2003 when aged just 11.

Neymar tweeted an image of the two of them together, along with the message: “I have no words to describe this guy. I simply thank him for everything he’s done for me. #RIPZito.”

Zito’s death means Mario Zagallo and Pele are now the only surviving members of the Brazil XI that contested the 1958 World Cup final.

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