Brazilian football is in mourning following the sudden death of Carlos Alberto, the captain of the 1970 World Cup-winning side, at the aged 72 from a heart attack.
Pele and former West Germany captain Franz Beckenbauer led the tributes to their “brother” after confirmation of Alberto’s death was given by the Brazilian Football Federation.
A period of official mourning for three days was announced, as well as flags at the CBF (Confederacao Brasileira de Futebol) headquarters to be flown at half-mast and a minute’s silence ahead of fixtures.
Right-back Alberto had scored one of the most iconic goals in the history of the World Cup, sealing the 4-1 win over Italy in the 1970 final in Mexico City.
It was Alberto who completed a brilliant team move with a powerful angled drive after darting onto Pele’s sideways pass before lifting the Jules Rimet Trophy.
Pele played alongside Alberto for Brazil, Santos and also later as part of a star-studded line-up for the New York Cosmos, which also included Beckenbauer, skipper of the West Germany side which won the 1974 World Cup.
In a post on his official Twitter account, @Pele, the 76-year-old wrote: “I am deeply saddened by the death of my friend and brother @capita70. Dear God, please take care of our “Capitao”. Rest In Peace”. A black-and-white picture of the duo embracing during their time at the Cosmos was attached to the post.
Beckenbauer also paid tribute to Alberto in a post on his official Twitter account, @beckenbauer, which included a photo of the pair together from a charity trip to Brazil in 2013.
“Heidi and me are deeply shocked. Carlos Alberto was like a brother to me, one of my best friends,” the German wrote.
Alberto touched not only his own generation of footballers, but those who would follow him.
Ronaldinho, a member of Brazil’s 2002 World Cup winning squad, said on his official Twitter account, @10Ronaldinho: “An example of leadership on and off the field, a great friend who always treated me with great affection. Rest in peace. Eternal Captain”
The Brazilian Football Federation confirmed the shock news on the official website, www.cbf.com.br.
“It is with huge regret from the CBF (Confederacao Brasileira de Futebol) that the world of football has been surprised by the death of Carlos Alberto Torres on Tuesday (October 25),” a CBF statement read.
“The legend of the Brazilian national team, the captain of the three-time winners of 1970, died in Rio de Janeiro, victim of a heart attack.
“The wake will be held at the CBF building in Barra da Tijuca. Details will be announced soon.
“The president of the CBF, Marco Polo Del Nero, has declared official mourning for three days. The organisation’s headquarters flags are half-mast. All matches in competitions organised by the CBF will have one minute of silence.
“At 72, Carlos Alberto Torres leaves a huge legacy of achievements and significant collaboration for the development of our football.”
The statement concluded: “Thank you, Capita. Your story will forever be with us.”
A message posted on Alberto’s official Facebook page read: “With great regret we inform you that, on the morning of this Tuesday, our eternal captain, Carlos Alberto Torres, passed away in Rio de Janeiro. #Capitaeterno.”
The defender’s former club Santos, for whom he played more than 400 games and helped win the domestic Brazilian title four times between 1967 and 1973, also said there would be three days of official mourning for a player “considered the best right-back in the history of Praiano Alvinegro”.
Alberto won a total of 53 caps for Brazil, retiring from international football in 1978 following a battle against persistent knee problems.
He also helped Fluminense secure domestic trophies before later in his career enjoying a spell with Cosmos in the North American Soccer League.
The Brazilian moved into management at his former club Flamengo, where his side won the Brazilian championship in 1983, as well as spending time in charge at Corinthians and Fluminense.
Alberto also held coaching roles with Nigeria and Oman before being appointed to take over as national boss of Azerbaijan in 2004. His time there included a 2-0 defeat against Sven-Goran Eriksson’s England at St James’ Park 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, including just days before his death.
Local media report Alberto had 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.