Evaristo de Macedo: The record-breaking Brazilian beloved by Barca & Madrid
The primary 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 received the purpose that knocked Actual 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 document that Pele by no means matched, but was prohibited from taking part in 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 seems to be again on a exceptional profession in soccer – and the extraordinary purpose that also defines him as a Barca legend, regardless of all the pieces that adopted.
Born in 1933, Evaristo grew up in northern Rio de Janeiro, removed from the 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 buddy’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. Regardless of the footwear being so tight his toes curled, the 17-year-old impressed and was requested to return the next day.
Inside two years, Evaristo had scored 18 objectives in 35 video games for Madureira, together with one towards nationwide group 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 beginner for Madureira led to a call-up for the 1952 Olympic Video games in Helsinki, the place Brazil scored 9 objectives 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 residence with enhanced reputations and contract presents from golf equipment across the nation. Evaristo, a lifelong Flamengo fan, received the decision he needed most. Over the subsequent three years he helped his boyhood membership to a few successive Rio State Championships.
“Flamengo was at all times the group of my coronary heart,” Evaristo tells BBC Sport from his residence in Rio de Janeiro. “I grew up watching them with my uncle so there was solely ever one group for me. I had presents from Vasco da Gama and Fluminense, however Flamengo gave me a lot and I am eternally grateful.”
Remembered as a bodily and ruthless ahead, a lot of Evaristo’s goalscoring data nonetheless stand to this present day.
Amongst his 103 objectives 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. Equally, on the 1957 South American Championships, taking part in 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 taking part in 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 in quest of a striker. Conscious Italian groups had been additionally scouting, he made Evaristo’s father a proposal that the participant would later name “unimaginable to show down”. Spanish media studies recommend it was within the area of 700,000 pesetas, or £6,000 a 12 months (about £140,000 at present).
“Life in Barcelona was regular, tremendous quiet, and by no means problematic – it felt quite a bit like life in Rio de Janeiro at the moment,” recollects Evaristo, who returned briefly to Brazil after three months to marry his childhood sweetheart, Norma.
“Every participant had a fan membership so we had been in demand, however not like it’s at present as a result of there have been no cellphones. The membership supplied me with all the pieces: a home, a Mercedes, the lot. Additionally they totally trusted us, so we may exit and eat paella, drink Spanish wines. It was marvellous.”
Content material 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 grew to become the primary participant to get a hat-trick there. And within the following season he repeated the feat, scoring three towards European champions Actual Madrid en path to Barcelona’s first La Liga title in six years.
A match report printed in Hoja del Lunes de Barcelona describes him as a “battering ram” who performed just like the ball was “glued to his toes”.
The membership’s official web site describes Evaristo as “among the finest overseas signings Barca ever made” and a “sometimes silky expert Brazilian with a lethal intuition in entrance of purpose, a terrific shot with both foot, a robust head, and the type of pace and braveness that made him an ever-present within the Barca first group for 5 years”.
In a aspect managed by Helenio Herrera, taking part in alongside Laszlo Kubala and Luis Suarez, Evaristo received two league titles, a Copa del Rey, and the Gala’s Cup – the precursor to the Uefa Cup – twice. Barcelona’s statistics division relayed by e-mail that in official matches he scored 105 objectives in 151 video games, whereas the membership’s official website says he scored 181 in 237.
“Evaristo has extra objectives than me for Barcelona. Nonetheless, I’ve extra official objectives as he scored many in pleasant matches,” Rivaldo, who scored 129 in 235 between 1997 and 2002, tells BBC Sport.
“He has lots of recognition at Barcelona; there are photos of him within the locker room. He was an ideal participant who did quite a bit for Brazilian soccer and in Barcelona I realised that greatness as a result of so many individuals talked about him.”
No matter whether or not friendlies are included, to this present day Evaristo retains the perfect 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.
On 23 November 1960, within the second leg of a decent European Cup tie towards Actual Madrid and in entrance of 120,000 followers on the Nou Camp, Evaristo scored a surprising 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 an ideal rivalry between the 2 cities as a result of Madrid is the capital and Barcelona at all times fought for independence,” says Evaristo.
“Madrid was seen by many as Basic Franco’s group, so it additionally had this nice political rivalry – though I by no means felt any political interference. That purpose broke Madrid’s hegemony. It felt like a title for Barcelona due to the rivalry and the very fact it eradicated Madrid.
“It was loopy. We celebrated quite a bit after that match…”
Actual Madrid much less so. Within the wonderful e-book Concern and Loathing in La Liga, creator Sid Lowe writes that, throughout the post-game banquet, Madrid’s gamers tried to beat up the English referee and his assistants, who had disallowed 4 objectives, with Barcelona’s gamers intervening to defuse the scenario.
Evaristo is diplomatic. “I do not do not forget that, no,” he says. “Madrid complained quite a bit, however I by no means noticed any threats of violence. The gamers had truly performed fairly calmly.”
Barcelona went on to succeed in the ultimate for the primary time within the membership’s historical past, with Evaristo scoring six instances in complete, together with two within the semis. On the Wankdorf Stadium in Bern, they misplaced 3-2 to Benfica in a match now remembered because the ‘Sq.-Posts Remaining’.
“It was a really unhappy day for Barcelona as a result of we had all the pieces to be European champions,” says Evaristo. “All the things besides luck. The goalposts had been sq. and we hit them 4 or 5 instances. In the event that they had been around the ball would have gone in. However Benfica had an ideal group.”
Inside 12 months of that 1961 closing, Evaristo had finished the unthinkable and joined Actual Madrid after a dispute with Barcelona relating to naturalisation. But in stark distinction to the notorious switch of Luis Figo 38 years later, the membership’s followers directed their anger not on the participant however on the board.
“Barcelona needed me to turn out to be Spanish to open the chance for them to usher in one other overseas participant and I did not need that,” he says.
“In Madrid that wasn’t the case. That is why I moved there, in any other case I might have stayed at Barcelona, which I favored extra.”
It was not the primary time the actions of the Barcelona board in relation to Evaristo had been open to query. When he signed his contract in 1957, there was an settlement that, if chosen to symbolize Brazil on the World Cup the next summer time, Barcelona wouldn’t stand in his means.
Having performed each minute of the two-legged World Cup qualifier towards Peru and with a complete of eight objectives in 14 video games, Evaristo anticipated to be a starter for his nation. However with Spain having didn’t qualify, the Spanish Cup went forward similtaneously the match in Sweden, and Barcelona reneged on their promise to launch him.
Brazil would go on to win their first World Cup, with a 17-year-old Pele scoring a hat-trick within the semi-final and two extra within the closing. Evaristo, who would face the teen two years later when Santos toured Europe, by no means wore the well-known yellow shirt once more.
“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 recreation the subsequent day and my dad referred to as to interrupt the information. I used to be very pleased to listen to Brazil received as a result of it was my mates who had been taking part in – and as I performed the video games that helped us qualify, I really feel a bit like a champion too, you understand?”
Finally, Evaristo’s absence in 1958 and the very fact his exploits in Barcelona went largely unreported at residence left his standing in Brazil considerably understated.
Brazilian journalist Milton Neves wrote of Evaristo: “If that they had TV within the Sixties, he could be regarded like Ronaldo.” Mario Zagallo, who received the World Cup twice as a participant in 1958 and 1962 and once more as supervisor in 1970, referred to as him “the kind of participant who would have had a spot in any group of his selection”.
Rivaldo provides: “Little doubt soccer has modified quite a bit. In the present day it is simpler for a participant to face out with TV, web and social media. For certain although, if Evaristo had been taking part in in one other period, his status could be completely completely different from the one he ended up having within the 50s and 60s. He was a particular participant.”
When Evaristo give up Barcelona, he had presents from Italy and France however elected to remain in Spain the place, regardless of a severe knee harm limiting him to simply 19 appearances and 6 objectives for Madrid, he continued his behavior of accumulating home trophies by including two league titles in two seasons.
Very similar to at Barcelona, Madrid’s official website lists him as a “soccer legend”, alongside fellow former membership stars Alfredo di Stefano, Ferenc Puskas, and Raul.
Evaristo at all times meant to return to Flamengo and he did so in 1965, including one other league title earlier than retiring a 12 months later, aged 33.
Throughout a 36-year profession in administration that adopted, he received numerous trophies in Brazil with golf equipment together with Santa Cruz, Gremio and Bahia, gave Dani Alves his skilled debut, and fought with Romario whereas in cost at Flamengo.
In April 1985, Evaristo was named Brazil supervisor and requested to organize for the next 12 months’s World Cup in Mexico. However he was dismissed after solely a month following three defeats from six and a cussed refusal to pick out any overseas-based gamers. He would nonetheless make soccer’s largest showpiece although – in unlikely vogue.
“I wasn’t going to permit the Brazilian Federation to intrude in my squad choice, so I left,” Evaristo says.
“I already had a proposal to educate 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 labored instantly with Saddam Hussein’s son, however I by no means went to the nation. We met in Europe after which went straight to Mexico as a result of Iraq was at conflict on the time.”
Iraq, making their solely World Cup look to this point, misplaced all three group matches; their squad disrupted by numerous 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 grew to become a great-grandfather earlier this 12 months.
But as he speaks by telephone from his Ipanema house surrounded by trophies, photographs and different assorted memorabilia, it’s arguably Evaristo’s three youngsters that greatest symbolize his taking part in profession: Evaristo Jr was born in Catalonia, Luis Augusto in Rio, and Maria Mercedes in Madrid.
“I am very proud to have labored in soccer for 56 years and to have achieved such success,” he says.
“Soccer, Flamengo, household and mates. That’s my life now.”