The way Brazilian football presented its quality to the world passed through Didi’s feet. With serenity in the exchange of passes and a good vision of the game, Valdir Pereira left the scene on May 12, 2001, leaving memories of titles and great achievements wherever he went, in addition to having as his great mark the “dry leaf”, collection foul on which the ball takes effect until it rests smoothly on the opponent’s goal.

The playwright Nelson Rodrigues, responsible for giving him the epithet “Príncipe Ethiopian”, was categorical when he spoke about the elegance of the shirt 8.

“Didi is, like a star, an unbeatable virtuoso. He treats the ball lovingly. It looks, at his feet, a rare and sensitive orchid, which must be cultivated with refinement and delight”, he declared, in a chronicle published in “Manchete Esportiva” of April 4, 1959.

However, Didi’s exploits have long enchanted fans.


Didi was marked by his “dry leaf” when charging fouls (Photo: Reproduction)

Photo: Lance!

In Fluminense, champion of Copa Rio in the team that had Castilho and Telê Santana (Photo: Reproduction)

Born in Campos dos Goytacazes, Didi passed through clubs like Americano, Lençoense and Madureira until, in 1949, Fluminense opened its doors to him. Acting alongside Castilho carat players, Telê Santana, Pinheiro, Orlando Pingo de Ouro and Quincas, he paved the way and was soon established.

Over time, he also gained space in the Brazilian team, in which he became champion of the Pan American Games in 1952. At the same time, he had won the 1951 Carioca and the 1952 Rio Cup by the Tricolor das Laranjeiras. The performance at the club ensured his first call for a World Cup in 1954, but the canary scribe bitterly eliminated in the quarterfinals for the overwhelming Hungary.

In 1956, Didi changed his face and left for Botafogo. In General Severiano, a very moving story would come.


‘Everyone was very united and gave us confidence,’ says Amarildo of the quartet Didi, Zagallo, Nilton Santos and Garrincha (Photo: Disclosure / BFR)

Hired by Glorioso, Didi was not long in being part of an emblematic generation. His former colleague in the club and also in the Brazilian national team, Amarildo has great memories of Alvinegro.

– From the goalkeeper to the left wing, the Botafogo team had fantastic players. Didi, Nilton Santos, Mané (Garrincha), Zagallo, Quarentinha … And everyone was always very united, they were confident. This made a difference for us – he recalled, THROW!.

In 1957, Didi was already part of the Rio de Janeiro champion team. But I would have an even bigger dream to fulfill.


‘I was, fatally, behind someone else’s attempts,’ said Nelson Rodrigues of Didi (Photo: Reproduction)

Requested by the Brazilian team, Didi paved the way for the world title. In 1957, the midfielder used the “dry leaf” to declare a 1-0 victory over Peru, in Maracanã, in the decisive game of the World Cup Qualifiers.

With the experience of having already disputed a World Cup, it was up to him to be the balance point of Vicente Feola’s writing. Although he scored only one goal (in the 5-2 defeat of France in the semifinal), Didi led the game and was even in the final, when Brazil saw Sweden open the scoring. Asking the athletes for calm, he contributed to the 5 to 2 turn to be achieved.

The playwright Nelson Rodrigues brought his point of view on the performance of “Príncipe Ethiopian” at the World Cup.

“He didn’t always score goals. But he was, inevitably, behind the goals of others. He was the one who softened the path, who dismantled the enemy defense with his deep shots. With a simple swing of the body, he finished off the scoreboard. that the companions seemed distressed, he, with lucid calm, his clairvoyant métier, held the ball and tried to avoid possible chaos “, he wrote in the” Sports Headline “of July 5, 1958.

The great performance made him attract Real Madrid’s attention. However, Di Stéfano’s jealousy shortened his time at the Merengue club and caused him to return to General Severiano shortly afterwards.

Wearing an alvinegro uniform once again alongside Garrincha, Nilton Santos, Quarentinha and Amarildo, Didi became Rio de Janeiro champion in 1961. At the beginning of the following year, he won the Rio-São Paulo Tournament. However, there was still a new dream to come true.


‘Didi has always been a very affectionate person. I never saw him frowning, ‘said Amarildo (Photo: Reproduction)

Four years after the title in Sweden, Didi landed at a World Cup with the responsibility of being one of the pillars of the Brazilian team in the search for a new title. The striker Amarildo told how was the interaction with the midfielder.

– Didi has always been a very affectionate person. I never saw him frown. In addition, he was always a very polite person. Both in Botafogo and in the Brazilian team, it was a pleasure to enjoy his help on and off the field – he said.

“Possesso”, who during the World Cup in Chile had the mission of replacing Pelé (injured in the goalless draw with Czechoslovakia), said that he won a trump card in this period in Canary Islands.

– The team was formed by many of my colleagues from Botafogo. In addition to Didi, there was Mané (Garrincha), Zagallo, Nilton Santos … And I immediately entered a difficult game, in which Brazil had a chance of being eliminated for Spain. Having colleagues like Didi helped me to be even more confident about going out and playing my game – he said, recalling the game in which he scored two goals in the 2 to 1 victory over the Spaniards.

With the team’s 3-1 win over Czechoslovakia in the final, “Ethiopian Prince” won his second world championship. And, at the end of the year, he savored another title: Carioca, for Botafogo.


‘He was very methodical and objective when passing on what he wanted from us,’ says Héctor Chumpitaz, defender of the Peru team in 1970 (Photo: Reproduction)

After being a “coach-player” in clubs like Sporting Cristal, in Botafogo, in Veracruz (MEX) and hanging up his boots in São Paulo, Didi definitely moved to the edge of the pitch. Back in Peru, he led Sporting Cristal to the national title in 1968, beating Juan Aurich 2-1 in the extra game, with two goals from Alberto Gallardo.

Shortly thereafter, the “Ethiopian Prince” was appointed to lead the Peruvian team in the fight for a place in the World Cup. Then defender of “Los Incas”, Héctor Chumpitaz detailed the intensity of Didi’s work.

– We spent six months concentrated, very committed to achieving the qualification in the qualifiers. Didi was very methodical and objective in passing on what he wanted from us. This, coupled with the intense training period we had, contributed a lot for us to arrive very strongly in the final stretch – he said.

The former defender highlighted how the fight for the Peruvian team went.

– We had beaten Argentina, but stumbled upon Bolivia in La Paz. So we went to the second match against the Bolivians with a lot of ghana. We won 3-0 and that gave us more vibrancy to face the Argentines at Bombonera. We had a strong game against them, Ramírez scored two goals and we just didn’t win because the referee scored a penalty for the Argentines at the last minute. To our relief, the 2-2 tie gave first place in the group – and then ensured:

– Playing in the qualifiers is much more tense than the World Cup. We know how much each game can cost, and the responsibility was greater behind our backs – he added.


‘We were defeated, but the memory of the great team we made was left,’ says former Peruvian defender Chumpitaz (Photo: Reproduction)

In Mexico, the selection led by Didi fell into Group 4, with Bulgaria, West Germany and Morocco. However, the intensity of the team that had names like Ramírez, Gallardo and Cubillas did not take long to appear on the pitch.

– We were quite calloused in the dispute of the Qualifiers. With this, we arrived very strong for our debut against Bulgaria, in which I scored a goal, even (the Peruvians won by 3-2). Didi was instrumental in giving us a winning mentality, a claw and making our team strong – said Chumpitaz.

However, the course of the World Cup put Peru under Didi in the path of the Brazilian team.

– We came from a great performance against Morocco, in which Cubillas scored two goals and we won by 3 to 0. Only that Germany (at the time, West Germany) got the better of us (by 2 to 1) and happened to Brazil face us in the quarterfinals – said the ex-defender.

Chumpitaz told how the technician advised “Los Incas” to face the canary scribe.

– He was a two-time world champion on the field, right ?! He knew the work well, the style of Brazilians. He knew the characteristics of Pelé, Jairzinho, Rivellino … – and the former defender was categorical when talking about the selection of Peru:

– We were defeated, but the memory of a great team that we made remains. So much so that at the time many said that Brazil and Peru was the best match of the Cup, due to the number of goals and the ball not stopping at any time – he added.

Brazil won 4-2 and went on to the third world championship. Didi, in turn, was kept in the history of Peruvian football. After training River Plate, he led Fenerbahçe to the second Turkish championship and commanded Fluminense da Máquina Tricolor to the 1975 state title.

He also rode for clubs like Cruzeiro (where he won another state), Atlético-MG and Alianza Lima. Until, on May 12, 2001, he died of liver cancer. However, its relevance to football was for posterity.

See too:

The players who wore the Barça shirt and you may not even remember