Sports Nicknames - Garrincha



When one pictures the great Brazilian World Cup winners of the 50s and 60s, the first name that might come to mind is Pele. However, the other major player that those outside of Brazil don't often consider is Manuel Francisco dos Santos, also known as Garrincha.

The name Garrincha translates to "little bird", which sums up the playing style of the Brazilian perfectly. He is widely considered one of the greatest dribblers of the ball to ever play the game, Yet, he could also put the ball into the back of the net as well. In the 1962 World Cup, he finished as the Golden Boot winner, with his goals only complimenting his Golden Ball award.

His club career almost never left Brazil, playing the majority of his career for the Rio de Janeiro-based club Botafogo. When he started to decline in the later half of the 60s, he was sold to Corinthians and then Colombian team Atletico Junior. He ended his career at Flamengo.

Garrincha made his name known worldwide thanks to his World Cup performances. He nearly signed a joint deal with Juventus, AC Milan and Internazionale in Italy, but the unique deal never went through. Among older fans in Brazil, Garrincha is considered by many to even be better than Pele himself.

Unfortunately, Garrincha was plagued by off-pitch issues including alcoholism and road accidents. In 1983 he died of an alcoholic coma in Rio. However, he remained so highly regarded in Brazil that the multi-use stadium in Brasilia was named the Estadio Mane Garrincha in his honour.