Former Brazilian coach Mario Zagallo is seen before the start of the Fifa Confederations Cup final between Brazil and Spain, at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro June 30, 2013. — AFP pic
Thursday, 28 Jul 2022 5:30 AM MYT
RIO DE JANEIRO, July 28 — Iconic Brazilian football player and coach Mario Zagallo has been admitted to hospital with a respiratory infection, the clinic that admitted him said on Wednesday.
The 90-year-old, who was the first person to win the World Cup as both a player and a coach, was admitted to intensive care at a hospital in Rio de Janeiro on Tuesday.
He is currently “lucid, breathing spontaneously, without the help of apparatus,” said the Barra D’or hospital in a statement.
Zagallo was tested for Covid-19 but that came back negative, the clinic said.
Soon to turn 91, the “Old Wolf” as he is known in Brazil, regularly posts souvenir photos of his career on Instagram, where he has 115,000 followers.
Just four days ago, he posted a picture of himself at the barber shop.
As a forward he was part of the Brazil sides that won the World Cup in 1958 and 1962 alongside Pele.
He was then the coach for Brazil’s 1970 title, assistant coach for the Selecao’s victory in 1994, and coach again in 1998 when Brazil lost in the final to France.
The only others to win the World Cup as both player and coach are Germany’s Franz Beckenbauer (1974 and 1990) and Didier Deschamps of France (1998 and 2018).
Zagallo’s zenith was undoubtedly the 1970 World Cup in Mexico.
Despite only recently being named coach, his team cruised to the title playing a spectacular brand of football making players such as Jairzinho, Tostao, Gerson and Rivellino household names the world over, alongside the team’s talisman Pele.
“My great friend @zagallooficial, I know you’re going through a difficult moment, but I want you to know that I am sending you positive energy for your recovery,” said Pele on Instagram.
The 81-year-old Pele has himself suffered health issues in the last three years, being twice hospitalized due to colon cancer and another time to have a kidney stone removed.
Back in 2014 he spent time in intensive care due to a urinary tract infection that forced him to undergo dialysis on his left kidney, after the right one was removed in the 1970s due to an injury when he was still a player.
He also had hip problems that limited his mobility and forced him to use a wheelchair. — AFP