South American Football - Brazil's first World Cup winning captain Bellini dies

Hilderaldo Luiz Bellini, the first Brazilian to lift the World Cup as captain of the triumphant 1958 side, has died in Sao Paulo aged 83, local media reported on Thursday.

Reuters
South American Football - Brazil's first World Cup winning captain Bellini dies
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A statue depicting Brazilian footballer Hilderaldo Bellini --the team captain in the 1958 and 1962 World Cup that Brazil won-- outside the Maracana stadium, in Rio de Janeiro, on June 16, 2010 (AFP)

He had been suffering from Alzheimer's for many years.

Bellini led a side including players such as Garrincha, Mario Zagallo and a 17-year old Pele. The Brazilians beat hosts Sweden 5-2 in the final to win the first of a record five World Cup titles.

Bellini was part of the squad that lifted the trophy in Chile four years later although he never played in that tournament. He got the last of his 51 caps at the 1966 World Cup in England.

After a stint with the youth team of his hometown club Itapirense, he made his name at Vasco da Gama, where he stayed for nine years. He also had spells at Sao Paulo and Atletico Paranaense.

He is perhaps best remembered for the iconic way he hoisted the Jules Rimet trophy high above his head with two hands - and successive Brazilian captains have repeated the gesture.

A statue built outside Rio de Janeiro's Maracana stadium, which will host the World Cup final on July 13, shows him holding aloft the trophy with his right hand.

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