As much as he was undoubtedly South American, Zico could easily have passed for a Southern European player in his style of on-ball exuberance. If you need a modern-era equivalent to serve as a style comparison, then you would perhaps be looking towards Gianfranco Zola.
Zico continues to influence captivated audiences to this day. His is a career of high individual talent, coupled with collective successes during his time with Flamengo and Brazil.
Along with Lionel Messi, Johan Cruyff and Ferenc Puskás, Zico lives alongside the greatest players to be denied a World Cup winner’s medal.
Zico spent the majority of his career with his hometown club, making a total of 504 appearances in all competitions between 1971 and 1983. It was a golden period for the club, including six Rio State titles and three Brazilian Championships. Their most successful year was 1981, which saw Flamengo win both the Copa Liberatadores and the Intercontinental Cup.
For his role, Zico, then arguably the worlds best player, earned numerous individual accolades, including being named man of the match in the '81 Intercontinental Cup Final, for creating all three goals in Flamengo's 3-0 win over Liverpool in Tokyo's National Stadium.
Zico, christened Arthur Antunes Coimbra, came from a lower-middle-class family, in the neighborhood of Quintino, Rio de Janeiro. In common with many Brazilians, he spent much of his youth dreaming of playing professional football. In 1967, while still a teenager, he had a scheduled trial at América, where his brothers were playing at the time. But he caught the attention of the radio reporter and friend, Celso Garcia, who asked Zico's father to take him to a trial at Flamengo instead. Being a fan of Flamengo, Zico had his father's approval, beginning his path towards becoming one of the most admired players in the history of the sport.
When in the right mood and in the right formation, there’s arguably never been a forward as reliable, ruthless or simply riveting as Romario.
Its fair to say that Romario will always be remembered as one of footballs more talented journeymen and in all he had three spells at Flamengo.
But despite being one of the most prolific strikers in football history, once described by Johan Cruyff as "a genius of the goal area”, there was an underlying issue that Romario was apparently part of a generation of hugely gifted Brazilian forwards who were a little too willing to enjoy the fruits of their talents and thus never fully lived up to their immense promise.
Often called the 'White Pelé', he is commonly considered one of the most skilled finishers and one of the best passers ever. He was also known as one of history's greatest free kick specialists, able to bend the ball with pace. According to Pelé, generally considered the best footballer ever, "throughout the years, the one player that came closest to me was Zico".
In December 1989 Zico made his last official appearance for Flamengo. With 731 matches for Flamengo, Zico is the player with the 2nd most appearances for the club. His 508 goals make him the club's top scorer ever.