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Garrincha

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Garrincha

Brazil | Midfielder

Achievements: World Cup winner 1958, 1962

As a child Garrincha's legs were so badly twisted that he underwent surgery just to allow him to walk.

Yet, despite having a right leg six centimeters shorter than his left, he developed into one of the game's greatest wingers and a star of Brazil's World Cup-wining sides in 1958 and 1962.

Garrincha, which means "Little Bird," was famous for his tricks and dribbling skills.

Away from the field he could also be mischievous and he was missing from the Brazilian side at the start of the 1958 World Cup after falling out with coach Vicente Feola.

But after two matches a delegation of players persuaded Foela to bring Garrincha and the 17-year-old Pele into the side. The rest of the tournament belonged to Pele but Garrincha also played a key role in Brazil's success, setting up two goals for Vava with slaloming runs in the final.

Garrincha's tournament came four years later in Chile. With Pele battered out of the competition, Garrincha became Brazil's key player. By then he was a more complete player, adding a swerving and powerful shot to his winger's repertoire.

Against England in the quarterfinals he scored two and he was rampant in Brazil's 4-2 win over the host nation in the semifinals, scoring two more.

Sent off for punching an opponent, he was allowed to play in the final against Czechoslovakia after FIFA ruled he had been provoked, and Brazil duly defended their title with a 3-1 win.

Garrincha bowed out at the 1966 finals with a thunderbolt freekick against Bulgaria but Brazil crashed out in the first round.

Away from the field, Garrincha's life was complicated by marital, tax and drinking problems and he died from alcohol poisoning at the age of 49.

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