The brilliant Brazilian loved by both Barca & Madrid

Evaristo de Macedo at Camp Nou
Evaristo, now aged 87, pictured at Barcelona’s Nou Camp in 2015

The first Brazilian striker to play for Barcelona scored extra instances than Ronaldo and Romario mixed, had a greater goals-to-games ratio than Neymar or Rivaldo and obtained the purpose that knocked Real Madrid out of the European Cup for the very first time – earlier than crossing that bitter divide two years later.

For Brazil, he holds a goalscoring file that Pele by no means matched, but was prohibited from enjoying on the 1958 World Cup. As a supervisor, he led 16 completely different groups, together with Iraq, the place he labored alongside Saddam Hussein’s son.

Now aged 87, Evaristo de Macedo Filho appears to be like again on a outstanding profession in soccer – and the extraordinary purpose that also defines him as a Barca legend, regardless of all the things that adopted.

Short presentational grey line

Born in 1933, Evaristo grew up in northern Rio de Janeiro, removed from town’s well-known seashores and postcard views. He performed soccer only for enjoyable on the streets, however that modified after he tagged alongside to a pal’s trial at native membership Madureira in 1950.

The coaches requested him to make up the numbers and handed over a pair of previous boots. Despite the footwear being so tight his toes curled, the 17-year-old impressed and was requested to return the next day.

Within two years, Evaristo had scored 18 targets in 35 video games for Madureira, together with one in opposition to nationwide staff goalkeeper Castilho’s Fluminense on the Maracana – the identical fabled stadium he had squeezed inside to observe the 1950 World Cup closing, alongside 200,000 others.

His performances as an newbie for Madureira led to a call-up for the 1952 Olympic Games in Helsinki, the place Brazil scored 9 targets in three video games earlier than succumbing to an skilled Germany aspect within the quarter-finals.

The small band of Brazilians, together with future two-time World Cup-winners Vava and Zozimo, returned house with enhanced reputations and contract affords from golf equipment across the nation. Evaristo, a lifelong Flamengo fan, obtained the decision he wished most. Over the following three years he helped his boyhood membership to 3 successive Rio State Championships.

“Flamengo was always the team of my heart,” Evaristo tells BBC Sport from his house in Rio de Janeiro. “I grew up watching them with my uncle so there was only ever one team for me. I had offers from Vasco da Gama and Fluminense, but Flamengo gave me so much and I’m eternally grateful.”

Evaristo, pictured as a Flamengo player in the 1950s
Evaristo is a Flamengo membership legend

Remembered as a bodily and ruthless ahead, a lot of Evaristo’s goalscoring information nonetheless stand to today.

Among his 103 targets in 191 video games for Flamengo are a quintet of strikes throughout a 12-2 win over Sao Cristovao – the most important win in Maracana historical past. Similarly, on the 1957 South American Championships, enjoying for Brazil alongside the legendary Garrincha and Nilton Santos, he scored 5 in a 9-0 demolition of Colombia, a feat unmatched even by Pele.

It was whereas enjoying for Brazil, throughout qualifying for the 1958 World Cup, that Evaristo’s path diverted from Flamengo.

Barcelona had been in a interval of rebuilding and Josep Samitier, the membership’s technical secretary, had flown to South America looking for a striker. Aware Italian groups had been additionally scouting, he made Evaristo’s father a proposal that the participant would later name “impossible to turn down”. Spanish media reviews counsel it was within the area of 700,000 pesetas, or £6,000 a yr (about £140,000 in the present day).

“Life in Barcelona was normal, super quiet, and never problematic – it felt a lot like life in Rio de Janeiro at that time,” recollects Evaristo, who returned briefly to Brazil after three months to marry his childhood sweetheart, Norma.

“Each player had a fan club so we were in demand, but not like it is today because there were no mobile phones. The club provided me with everything: a house, a Mercedes, the lot. They also fully trusted us, so we could go out and eat paella, drink Spanish wines. It was marvellous.”

Evaristo de Macedo
Evaristo stayed at Barca till 1962 – when he joined arch rivals Real Madrid

Content off the pitch, Evaristo shortly tailored to life on it. He performed and scored within the first official match on the Nou Camp in September 1957. Six months later, he turned the primary participant to get a hat-trick there. And within the following season he repeated the feat, scoring three in opposition to European champions Real Madrid en path to Barcelona’s first La Liga title in six years.

A match report revealed in Hoja del Lunes de Barcelona describes him as a “battering ram” who performed just like the ball was “glued to his feet”.

The membership’s official web site describes Evaristo as “one of the best foreign signings Barca ever made” and a “typically silky skilled Brazilian with a deadly instinct in front of goal, a terrific shot with either foot, a powerful head, and the kind of speed and courage that made him an ever-present in the Barca first team for five years”.

In a aspect managed by Helenio Herrera, enjoying alongside Laszlo Kubala and Luis Suarez, Evaristo gained two league titles, a Copa del Rey, and the Fairs Cup – the precursor to the Uefa Cup – twice. Barcelona’s statistics division relayed by electronic mail that in official matches he scored 105 targets in 151 video games, whereas the membership’s official web site says he scored 181 in 237.

“Evaristo has more goals than me for Barcelona. However, I have more official goals as he scored many in friendly matches,” Rivaldo, who scored 129 in 235 between 1997 and 2002, tells BBC Sport.

“He has a lot of recognition at Barcelona; there are pictures of him in the locker room. He was a great player who did a lot for Brazilian football and in Barcelona I realised that greatness because so many people talked about him.”

Regardless of whether or not friendlies are included, to today Evaristo retains one of the best goals-to-games ratio of any Brazilian to play greater than 50 video games for Barcelona. And one factor by no means disputed is his most notable contribution.

La Vanguardia newspaper cutting of interview with Evaristo, featuring a photo of his diving header against Real Madrid
In a 2002 interview with La Vanguardia, Evaristo recalled his well-known diving header

On 23 November 1960, within the second leg of a good European Cup tie in opposition to Real Madrid and in entrance of 120,000 followers on the Nou Camp, Evaristo scored a shocking diving header with eight minutes to go. The purpose, immortalised in a grainy black-and-white picture and nonetheless on distinguished show contained in the stadium 60 years on, eradicated Barcelona’s most bitter rivals from that competitors for the primary time, ending their hopes of a sixth successive title.

“There was a great rivalry between the two cities because Madrid is the capital and Barcelona always fought for independence,” says Evaristo.

“Madrid was seen by many as General Franco’s team, so it also had this great political rivalry – although I never felt any political interference. That goal broke Madrid’s hegemony. It felt like a title for Barcelona because of the rivalry and the fact it eliminated Madrid.

“It was loopy. We celebrated rather a lot after that match…”

Real Madrid less so. In the excellent book Fear and Loathing in La Liga, author Sid Lowe writes that, during the post-game banquet, Madrid’s players tried to beat up the English referee and his assistants, who had disallowed four goals, with Barcelona’s players intervening to defuse the situation.

Evaristo is diplomatic. “I do not keep in mind that, no,” he says. “Madrid complained rather a lot, however I by no means noticed any threats of violence. The gamers had truly performed fairly calmly.”

Barcelona went on to reach the final for the first time in the club’s history, with Evaristo scoring six times in total, including two in the semis. At the Wankdorf Stadium in Bern, they lost 3-2 to Benfica in a match now remembered as the ‘Square-Posts Final’.

“It was a really unhappy day for Barcelona as a result of we had all the things to be European champions,” says Evaristo. “Everything besides luck. The goalposts had been sq. and we hit them 4 or 5 instances. If they had been around the ball would have gone in. But Benfica had a fantastic staff.”

Evaristo pictured playing for Barcelona and Real Madrid in a collage photo that also includes two more recent images, pictured at home wearing the scarves of both sides
Evaristo remains to be remembered fondly at both Barcelona and Real Madrid

Within 12 months of that 1961 final, Evaristo had done the unthinkable and joined Real Madrid after a dispute with Barcelona regarding naturalisation. Yet in stark contrast to the infamous transfer of Luis Figo 38 years later, the club’s fans directed their anger not at the player but at the board.

“Barcelona wished me to turn out to be Spanish to open the chance for them to herald one other international participant and I did not need that,” he says.

“In Madrid that wasn’t the case. That’s why I moved there, in any other case I’d have stayed at Barcelona, which I appreciated extra.”

It was not the first time the actions of the Barcelona board in relation to Evaristo had been open to question. When he signed his contract in 1957, there was an agreement that, if selected to represent Brazil at the World Cup the following summer, Barcelona would not stand in his way.

Having played every minute of the two-legged World Cup qualifier against Peru and with a total of eight goals in 14 games, Evaristo expected to be a starter for his country. But with Spain having failed to qualify, the Spanish Cup went ahead at the same time as the tournament in Sweden, and Barcelona reneged on their promise to release him.

Brazil would go on to win their first World Cup, with a 17-year-old Pele scoring a hat-trick in the semi-final and two more in the final. Evaristo, who would face the youngster two years later when Santos toured Europe, never wore the famous yellow shirt again.

“I used to be very upset to not be there, however I adopted the video games on the radio,” he says.

“On the day of the ultimate, I used to be at a coaching camp as a result of Barcelona had a sport the following day and my dad referred to as to interrupt the information. I used to be very pleased to listen to Brazil gained as a result of it was my associates who had been enjoying – and as I performed the video games that helped us qualify, I really feel a bit like a champion too, you understand?”

Evaristo, pictured as Brazil manager in 1985
Evaristo, pictured as Brazil supervisor in 1985. He took cost of Iraq for the 1986 World Cup.

Ultimately, Evaristo’s absence in 1958 and the fact his exploits in Barcelona went largely unreported at home left his standing in Brazil somewhat understated.

Brazilian journalist Milton Neves wrote of Evaristo: “If they’d TV within the Sixties, he can be regarded like Ronaldo.” Mario Zagallo, who won the World Cup twice as a player in 1958 and 1962 and again as manager in 1970, called him “the kind of participant who would have had a spot in any staff of his alternative”.

Rivaldo provides: “No doubt soccer has modified rather a lot. Today it is simpler for a participant to face out with TV, web and social media. For positive although, if Evaristo had been enjoying in one other period, his status can be completely completely different from the one he ended up having within the 50s and 60s. He was a particular participant.”

When Evaristo quit Barcelona, he had offers from Italy and France but elected to stay in Spain where, despite a serious knee injury limiting him to just 19 appearances and six goals for Madrid, he continued his habit of collecting domestic trophies by adding two league titles in two seasons.

Much like at Barcelona, Madrid’s official site lists him as a “soccer legend”, alongside fellow former club stars Alfredo di Stefano, Ferenc Puskas, and Raul.

Evaristo always intended to return to Flamengo and he did so in 1965, adding another league title before retiring a year later, aged 33.

During a 36-year career in management that followed, he won various trophies in Brazil with clubs including Santa Cruz, Gremio and Bahia, gave Dani Alves his professional debut, and fought with Romario while in charge at Flamengo.

In April 1985, Evaristo was named Brazil manager and asked to prepare for the following year’s World Cup in Mexico. But he was dismissed after only a month following three defeats from six and a stubborn refusal to select any overseas-based players. He would still make football’s biggest showpiece though – in unlikely fashion.

Evaristo and Messi
Evaristo pictured assembly with Barca’s Lionel Messi in 2015

“I wasn’t going to permit the Brazilian Federation to intervene in my squad choice, so I left,” Evaristo says.

“I already had a proposal to teach Qatar anyway, so I went there after which when Iraq wanted a coach for the World Cup, I used to be requested to do it.

“I worked directly with Saddam Hussein’s son, but I never went to the country. We met in Europe and then went straight to Mexico because Iraq was at war at the time.”

Iraq, making their solely World Cup look thus far, misplaced all three group matches; their squad disrupted by varied gamers being conscripted to serve within the nation’s battle with Iran.

Since retiring in 2005, Evaristo passes most days watching Flamengo and spending time with household – he turned a great-grandfather earlier this yr.

Yet as he speaks by cellphone from his Ipanema house surrounded by trophies, pictures and different assorted memorabilia, it’s arguably Evaristo’s three youngsters that greatest symbolize his enjoying profession: Evaristo Jr was born in Catalonia, Luis Augusto in Rio, and Maria Mercedes in Madrid.

“I’m very proud to have worked in football for 56 years and to have achieved such success,” he says.

“Football, Flamengo, family and friends. That is my life now.”

Evaristo de Macedo with his wife and granddaughter
Evaristo, pictured along with his spouse and child great-granddaughter at house

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