There are many known stories involving the glorious career of this football phenomenon already told by journalists. But the one that I´m about to tell I´m sure that almost everybody didn´t read or heard yet. It´s a curious memory of our childhood that I consider very important for the formation of character of the man that is an example to be followed today. A real citizen of the world.
Quintino´s Juventude, Lucinda Barbosa Street´s team, has a beautiful and rich history to be told. Only the people that took part in it know the value of that sincere and true friendship between good men, still in our hearts until today.
In the football fields or courts in the Rio neighborhoods, Juventude was well-known by te quality of the players, many victories and a lot of trophies in a period of the pure romantic football without any kind of professionalism.
As the smaller of all, the youngest of the team and the family of six brothers, Zico couldn´t play all the time with Juventude. His participation was considered physically risky because of his boldness.
There was, however, an unforgettable moment that an ´enemy´ figure was sensible enough and inspired in the sports integration to take action in favor of the human kindness and respect for another human being, in despite of his age. Unfortunately, I forgot the name of this person that was the responsible for the first cry of a crowd for Zico.
Don´t ask me what was the year, because I will not remember, but I believe that Zico was between 12 and 14 years old, or less, I really don´t know... His technical condition, since his early days, was always incredible. He look like a grow man playing football and not a child or a teenager.
Well... Take a glance in this situation!
Cascadura Tennis Club, futsal´s Rio de Janeiro state champions, great name in the sport, a really closed club at that point, invited us to play a friendly match disseminating that the crowd would watch two great teams in a high level game. Juventude was an amateur squad, but a reference in Rio de Janeiro.
As it used to happen, before the main match, an appetizer with the game between the aspiring players of both teams. The rainy and cold Monday night was another motivation to represent our neighborhood. An episode, however, almost took off the bright of the event in the main entrance of the club: the little Zico was prevented from entering in the club because a director said that he was too young, it was late and his parents were not there. And worst... the man said that he couldn´t play in the preliminary match of the night.
Well... free his entrance was not hard because many adults of the team presented themselves as responsible and they were accepted after a lot of talk with the dour and stubborn director. The hard job was convincing Zico to not play and another dead-lock was created.
Sitting in the locker room door, Zico cried uncontrollably, surprising whoever came to watch the match, sad to see that boy that had his will to demonstrate his joy and pleasure of playing football against adversaries much older than him. That was the main reason of the disagreement: a child wanting to play against adults.
It was understandable the opinion of the majority against his entrance in the court, the resistance was broken by one of the players of the Cascadura´s main squad, their greatest idol, that, sensitized with the situation, convinced the other players to accept it, ordering them for only play football without using extra physical force.
Tears, many tears, mixed with rain drops falling in his blond hair formed a picture of rare commotion. Increasing the fact that he had walked on foot, beside his teammates from Quintino to Cascadura, through 3 km... or even more.
From disappointment to happiness, a great jump of moral quality and a mad run to change the clothes. He came back with the yellow an red uniform to enter in the gymnasium to the warm-up. It was unusual to watch that little guy in the middle of tall players.
The surprised crowd was vibrating, but they could not realize that were about to watch a real show of that small athlete, also known as ´Pascoal´ in those days, because of a prominent sign in his head, as the famous hill, Mount Pascoal, the first land viewed when Brazil was discovered in 1500.
Zico was so perfect and did so many wonderful plays that the crowd was festive with hallucinating cries of pure joy and happiness. The club´s neighbors started to come from every direction to know what was happening in there. The club was crowded then.
One goal here (he scored twice), other right after and Juventude B was winning easily the preliminary match and causing frisson and admiration of the local players as well. They were not reacting to the great and organized plays of the Quintino´s five.
A detail, a curiosity: when Juventude scored - and it happened many times - the scorer pointed to Zico and, right after, to the director that tried to prevent his participation in the game in an ironic joke, because he stirred the pride of the Quintino´s golden boy.
And the biggest surprise happened when the enthusiastic cries started in the crowd toward only one player: we don´t know how it began, but, until today, I can´t forget everybody screaming very loud in the gimnasium: Ziiiiico!! Ziiiico! Ziiiico!
There were lacking only a few minutes to the end, he asked to be substituted, but the crowd didn´t let him go. And even the director this time prevented him to leave the court with people screaming even louder: Stay! Stay! Stay!!!
What a beautiful image I´m carrying since that day of art moments and sportive brotherhood!
The second match was not shiny as the preliminary in its 40 minutes. Cascadura and Juventude, both winners, but the most important victory was learning and understanding that it´s important to fight for we know that we are able to do, showing people moments of sportive joy without violent rivalries.
It was created there the most natural way to praise that little guy qualities that later would be heard in every stadium in the world where he went: Ziiico! Ziiico! Ziiiico!
For divine intervention and thanks to the individual effort, he has the record of goals scored in Maracanã and he is an idol for every football lover in Brazil because of his character and professional perseverance.
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