Nickname: "The Encyclopedia of Football"
Growth type: Standard/Lasting
A powerful attacking left fullback who could play anywhere down the left wing. He was instrumental in adding balance and putting even greater pressure on defenses who had enough to contend with in Pele, Didi and Garrincha.
Nicknamed he Encyclopaedia for his incomparable technique, his superb reading of the game, actical knowledge of the his great fair play on the pitch, Nilton Santos always played at Botafogo FR, the club where he started his footballing career in 1948, when he was already 21. He started as a forward, and maybe he owes his great technical skill to it, but then Carlito Rocha and Zeze Moreira, respectively manager and coach of Botafogo FR, turned him into a back. The first halfback who was able to attack starting from backline was born, maybe, from the idea to move Nilton Santos backward.
With Botafogo he won four Rio de Janeiro State leagues (in 1948, the first one after 13 years, then in 1957, 1961 and 1962), two Rio-Sao Paulo tournaments (in 1962 and 1964), a Copa America (in 1949) and the Pan-American Games (in 1952) thanks also to the contribution of other champions such as legendary Garrincha (a great friend of his also out of the pitch), Didi, Amarildo and Zagallo. To Nilton Santos Botafogo was his club for life, the only shirt he ever wore apart form Brazil's.
He made his debut with the Brazilian national team in 1949, in the Copa Americavictory against Colombia (5-0) and only one year later he played the first of the four World Cups with the Seleção After the unlucky experiences (in Uruguay) in 1950 and (in Switzerland) in 1954, Nilton Santos took part in the victorious campaigns in Sweden in 1958 and in Chile in 1962, those were the first two world titles gained in Brazil's football history. He became famous for scoring a magnificent goal in the 1958 tournament when Brazil played Austria. Dribbling his way through the whole field, he finished with a superb shot, driving his coach Vicente Feola crazy (he kept on insisting for Nilton to retreat to the defensive field, but was ignored until the goal was scored). With right back Djalma Santos he formed one of the strongest defensive pairs in the history of football.
In 1998 he was chosen by the journalists from all over the world to be part of the century's best team and In 2006 the IFFHS (International Federation of Football History & Statistics) mentioned him with Elias Figueroa, Jose Nasazzi, Hector Chumpitaz and Daniel Passarella as the best five South American defenders ever. An absolutely great player worldwide.
FIFA World Cup Winner (1958, 1962)
1958 FIFA World Cup All-Star Team
1998 FIFA World Team Of Century
Brazil Football Museum Hall Of Fame
FIFA World Team of the 20th Century
http://www.goldenfoot.com/acm-on-line/H ... a2637.html
http://www.fifa.com/worldfootball/stati ... yer=44604/