Fiji Times Logo

Fiji Time: 5:13 AM on Thursday 31 July

/ Front page / Sport

First Brazil WC winning skipper laid to rest

Afp
Monday, March 24, 2014

RIO DE JANEIRO - Hundreds of Brazilians yesterday bade a fond farewell to the country's first World Cup-winning skipper, Hilderaldo Luiz Bellini.

Bellini died on Thursday after a long illness at the age of 83 but remains an iconic figure in the five-time winners' World Cup history.

The former defender was laid to rest in his home city of Itapira in Sao Paulo state after hundreds had filed past to pay their respects.

His body had been taken overnight to the Morumbi stadium of Sao Paulo, for whom he played for six years after starting out with Rio's Vasco da Gama.

Fans saluted Bellini's coffin, draped in the national flag as well as his clubs' colours, as the funeral cortege made its way to the cemetary.

"He was honest, a friend, serious, a great person," said former Sao Paulo teammate Baba.

Bellini had battled Alzheimer's in recent years and died in a Sao Paulo hospital three years after he suffered a stroke which left him unable to speak.

Brazilian football historian Juca Kfouri credits the defender with being the first World Cup skipper to lift the trophy high into the air — the gesture has become an integral part of the winning ceremony.

A 1960 statue of Bellini, who won 51 caps for his country, shows him holding the original Jules Rimet trophy aloft — one-handed — outside the Maracana Stadium.

After starring alongside a teenage Pele in Sweden, Bellini won the trophy again in Chile four years later, though by then the son of an Italian truck driver was just a squad member.


Fiji Times Front Page Thumbnail

Kaila Front Page ThumbnailFiji Times & Kaila Frontpage PDF Downloads

Use the free Acrobat Reader to view.

Today's Most Read Stories

  1. Iliesa Delana explains
  2. Help pours in
  3. Love from within
  4. Gaskell on trial for the murder of his Fijian wife
  5. Plea to save school
  6. Parents thank lucky stars
  7. Focus remains on education
  8. Call for intervention
  9. No water, no school
  10. Roadworks

Top Stories this Week

  1. Fijian woman jailed for stealing millions in NZ Sunday (27 Jul)
  2. Illegal Fijians in Tonga Friday (25 Jul)
  3. Hero's tale Tuesday (29 Jul)
  4. 10 degrees lowest yet Monday (28 Jul)
  5. Warning for teachers Thursday (24 Jul)
  6. New United formation Monday (28 Jul)
  7. Groenewald: Brutality video under investigation Thursday (24 Jul)
  8. Tafunai confident Friday (25 Jul)
  9. Sevens schedule revealed Thursday (24 Jul)
  10. Misleading phone deals Monday (28 Jul)