Obituary: Carlos Alberto, footballer who captained Brazil to World Cup glory in 1970

Carlos Alberto, World Cup-winning captain of Brazil. Born: 17 July 1944 in Rio de Janeiro. Died: 25 October 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, aged 72.

Carlos Alberto holds up the golden Jules Rimet trobpy after Brazil defeated Italy in the 1970 World Cup final. Picture: AP Photo/Gianni Foggia
Carlos Alberto holds up the golden Jules Rimet trobpy after Brazil defeated Italy in the 1970 World Cup final. Picture: AP Photo/Gianni Foggia

Carlos Alberto, captain of Brazil’s 1970 World Cup winning side, was a “great character” and “outstanding footballer”, according to former England international Francis Lee, who played against the defender in Mexico.

Brazilian football is in mourning following the sudden death of Alberto, at the age of 72, following a heart attack in Rio on Tuesday.

Right-back Alberto scored one of the most iconic goals in the history of the World Cup, when he sealed the 4-1 win over Italy in the 1970 final in Mexico City.

Alberto completed a brilliant team move with a powerful angled drive, after darting on to Pele’s sideways pass, that has been shown repeatedly on TV screens ever since.

Before going on to lift the Jules Rimet Trophy for a then-record third time at the Estadio Azteca, Brazil faced holders England during the group stage in Guadalajara.

In a game dubbed “the final that might have been”, Brazil beat Sir Alf Ramsey’s side 1-0 at the Estadio Jalisco.

The encounter saw a world-class save from England goalkeeper Gordon Banks, who somehow deflected Pele’s downward header at the far post up over the crossbar after a ball in by winger Jairzinho, who had been set off down the right flank by a raking pass inside full-back Terry Cooper from Alberto.

Forward Lee – who was playing for Manchester City at the time and would win a total of 27 England caps, scoring 10 goals – is in no doubt where Alberto ranks among the game’s greats.

“Carlos was a tremendous player playing in arguably the world’s greatest football team,” Lee, 72, said in a statement released to Press Association Sport.

“We are all so sorry to see him pass away. Not only was he an outstanding footballer, but he was a great character as well and he will be sadly missed.”

Pele and former West Germany captain Franz Beckenbauer, who Carlos Alberto played alongside in a star-studded New York Cosmos team late in their careers, led the tributes to their “brother” after his death was confirmed by Brazilian football’s governing body (CBF) on Tuesday.

“I have so many good memories of our time together as team-mates and champions at Santos FC, the Brazil national team and New York Cosmos,” a post on Pele’s Facebook page read.

“We had a winning partnership, and even after football we remained very close. I send my sincere condolences to his family and may his soul Rest in Peace. Dear God, please take care of our ‘Capitao’.”

Former Argentina captain Diego Maradona, who led his country to victory when the World Cup returned to Mexico in 1986, paid tribute to the “captain of the unforgettable Brazil 1970”.

“I had the good fortune to face him on several occasions,” Maradona said. “He was a great person and a great player.”

FIFA president Gianni Infantino believes Alberto will never been forgotten.

“FIFA and the world football community are deeply saddened by the death of Carlos Alberto Torres, the great captain of the ‘tri’ in Mexico,” Infantino told

“‘Capita’ will be missed both as an amazing player and a great leader. We will forever remember him lifting the Jules Rimet Trophy and we send our deepest condolences to his family and friends.”

The CBF announced a three-day mourning period, while flags will be flown at half-mast at its headquarters, while a minute’s silence is set to be observed ahead of fixtures.

Alberto won a total of 53 caps for Brazil, retiring from international football in 1978 following a battle against persistent knee problems.

A later spell in management saw him take over as national boss of Azerbaijan in 2004, and during his time there was in charge for a 2-0 defeat against Sven-Goran Eriksson’s England at St James’ Park, Newcastle, in March 2005.

The World Cup-winning skipper remained a popular figure in Brazil, recently working as a commentator for broadcaster TV Globo on the SporTV cable channel, right up until just days before his death.

Alberto had reportedly fallen ill at his home in the Barra da Tijuca district of Rio before being taken to the Hospital Rio Mar, where it is said he suffered a cardiac arrest.