* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).
Jair da Rosa Pinto (March 21, 1921 – July 28, 2005), or simply Jair, was an association footballer who played offensive midfielder – one of the leading Brazilian footballers of the 1940s and 50s, who is best remembered for his performance in Brazil's 1950 FIFA World Cup campaign. Usually playing as an inside-forward, Jair da Rosa was noted for his free-role style of play and was most known for his pace and technical ability.
Born March 21, 1921 in Quatis, Rio de Janeiro, Jair started his career as a left winger at Madureira (in Rio) in 1938. He made his debut for the Brazil squad just two years later, on the March 5, 1940, in a 6–1 defeat by Argentina, though Jair did score the goal – the first of 24 he was to score for the Brazilian team.
The Brazilian team regularly featured Jair throughout the 1940s, as his club career led him first to Vasco da Gama, then to Flamengo – remaining in Rio. His greatest moment during this time, however, was in 1944, when he scored a hat-trick against Uruguay, in a friendly at São Paulo. Uruguay would come back to haunt him later, but Jair must have enjoyed playing them during the 1940s, as he scored two doubles against La Celeste Olímpica during 1946 and another in 1949 – the year Brazil won the Copa America with Jair scoring (again) two goals in the second leg of the final, a 7–0 victory against Paraguay.
It was the following year, 1950, that Jair’s talents became appreciated on the world stage, when FIFA held their World Cup tournament in Brazil. Along with Zizinho and Ademir, Jair helped to guide Brazil's team through the tournament with great success. They played with pace, flamboyant skills and were deadly in front of goal, winning friends the world over with their attacking play – scoring 22 goals in 6 World Cup games – before falling to Uruguay in a match that was, effectively, the World Cup Final – a game in which Jair hit the post during Brazil’s early domination, but could do nothing to stop Uruguay recovering from an early Friaca goal to triumph 2–1 and send the 200,000 fans in the Maracana Stadium, which had been built especially for the World Cup, home disappointed.
Football has always had special importance in Brazil, indeed, celebrated Brazilian writer Nelson Rodrigues was moved to say of the game “Everywhere has its irremediable national catastrophe, something like a Hiroshima. Our catastrophe, our Hiroshima, was the defeat by Uruguay in 1950” – it was a defeat so devastating that it led to the Brazilian national team changing their shirts to the famous yellow of today and even now is referred to as ‘The Defeat’ in Brazil.
Jair was quoted later as saying “I'll take that loss to my grave”, and he was certainly given time to reflect on The Defeat, cast out of the national side until January 1956 – returning for a 2-game cameo before being replaced by other, bigger names – and moving around the clubs of São Paulo – with longer, more successful spells at Palmeiras and Santos FC than the São Paulo FC and Ponte Preta clubs he represented later in his career before he retired, in 1963, at the age of 42.
When his playing career was over, Jair coached a number of teams, including Santos, Palmeiras and his first club, Madureira and is given credit for, during his playing time at Santos helping to bring the greatest player of them all, Pelé, through into the Santos team.
Jair died of a lung infection on July 21, 2005 at the age of 84, in Rio de Janeiro. He made 49 appearances for the Brazilian national football team, scoring 24 goals.