Brazil football legend Zito dies

Sao Paulo, June 15 (IANS) Legendary Brazilian footballer, Jose Ely de Miranda, popularly known as Zito, has died.

Zito was a member of Brazil’s World Cup winning side in 1958 and 1962. He breathed his last here on Sunday. He was 82.

He played 52 times for Brazil, mostly as a defensive midfielder. He spent his entire club career with Sao Paulo-based club Santos FC, playing 733 games and scoring 57 goals.

He won the Copa Libertadores football championship in 1962 and 1963 which catapulted him to be one of the most emblematic figures of the club team alongside fellow legend Pele.

Zito is also credited with spotting the talents of current Brazil team’s heartthrob Neymar, signing him for Santos in 2003 when he was aged just 11, while he was the chief manager of Santos.

Neymar, at present on national duty featuring in the Copa America football tournament in Chile, paid rich tributes to Zito.

“I have no words to describe this guy, just appreciate everything you’ve done for me. Thanks ZITO,” he wrote on social networking site Twitter on Sunday.

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