Brazilian soccer legend dies

2011-12-04 13:00

Sao Paulo - Former Brazil captain Socrates died on Sunday aged 57 from an intestinal infection, a spokesperson for the Albert Einstein Hospital announced.

Socrates - who in 1982 captained what is widely regarded as the best Brazil side never to have won the World Cup - was taken to the hospital late on Friday after suffering food poisoning.

The hospital said he had gone into septic shock and placed him on a ventilator and a dialysis machine but he was officially announced dead at 06:30GMT.

He had already been hospitalised twice in August and September this year with bleeding in his digestive tract, and admitted after these incidents that he had problems with alcohol, especially during his playing days.

In a recent television interview, Socrates said he had considered alcohol his "companion," adding that its regular use did not affect his performance on the soccer field.

"Alcohol did not affect my career, in part because I never had the physical build to play this game," he recalled.

"Soccer became my profession only when I was already 24," he said. "I was too thin, and when I was young, I did not have the opportunity to prepare myself physically for the sport."

Socrates also played in the 1986 World Cup but was not fully fit and is mainly remembered for missing a penalty in the quarter-final loss to France.

At club level he played for Brazilian giants Corinthians (1978-84) and had an unhappy sojourn in Italy with Fiorentina (1984-85).

While at Corinthians he was one of the founders of a movement known as Corinthian Democracy, which formed in the 1980s.

Under its principles, all decisions made by football clubs, including the contracting of new players and training schedules, had to be approved by a vote of all members.