Arthur Friedenreich

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Arthur Friedenreich
Arthur friedenreich.jpg
Friedenreich with the Brazilian national team .
Personal information
Date of birth (1892-07-18)18 July 1892
Place of birth São Paulo, Brazil
Date of death 6 September 1969(1969-09-06) (aged 77)
Place of death São Paulo, Brazil
Height 1.70 m (5 ft 7 in)
Playing position Striker
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1909 Germânia
1910 Ypiranga
1911 SC Germania
1912 Mackenzie College
1913–1915 Ypiranga
1916 Paulistano
1917 Ypiranga
1918–1929 Paulistano
1930–1933 São Paulo
1933 Atlético Mineiro
1933–1935 São Paulo
1935 Flamengo
Total 1229 (1329[1])
National team
1914–1925 Brazil 23 (10)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Arthur Friedenreich (18 July 1892 – 6 September 1969) was a Brazilian footballer, who played as a forward. Nicknamed The Tiger, he was arguably the sport's first outstanding mixed race player. He played when brazilian football was still amateur, that lasted until 1933, and he is occasionally stated as one of the all-time top scorers in football history, although this is highly disputable.[2]


Friedenreich was born in São Paulo to Oscar Friedenreich, a German businessman whose father immigrated to Brazil, and Mathilde, an African Brazilian washerwoman and the daughter of freed slaves. Friedenreich was the first professional football player of Afro-Brazilian origin, because at that time football was dominated by Whites and Blacks were not accepted. He faced many barriers because of racism, and he could not attend the same places where white players were, such as swimming pools, tennis courts and parties.[2]

He started his career influenced by his father, playing for SC Germânia, a Brazilian football team composed of German immigrants. After playing with a succession of São Paulo club sides from 1910 onwards, Friedenreich made his debut with the national team in 1914. He played twenty-two internationals, including wins in the 1919 and 1922 editions of the Copa América, scoring ten goals. On Brazil's 1925 tour of Europe, he was feted as the King of Football.

He was not picked by Brazil for the 1930 FIFA World Cup because there was a serious misunderstanding between the football Leagues of the States of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo; only players from Rio travelled. São Paulo stars, like him (who was 38 years old), Filó (who would be 1934 FIFA World Cup champion with Italy) and Feitiço, did not go to Uruguay.

After football[edit]

In the 1930s, Brazilian football was beginning the process of professionalization, and in 1933 it became reality. Friedenreich was against the professionalization of football in the country. Outraged, he refused to continue playing football, and retired playing for Flamengo at 43 years old. His last match was against Fluminense on 21 July 1935 (the game ended in a 2–2 draw; he didn't score that day). Then he started working in a liquor company and retired while there. He lived in a house ceded by São Paulo football club until he died on 6 September 1969 at 77 years old.

Posthumous tributes[edit]

There is a park in the Vila Alpina neighborhood, on the east side of São Paulo, with his name. The park, located at the beginning of Francisco Falconi avenue, is one the biggest of the region. Still on the east side of São Paulo, there is a street with his name. In Rio de Janeiro, there is a school with his name, located within the sports complex of Maracanã, near the main entrance, on the left of Bellini statue.

Controversy in the number of goals[edit]

The exact number of goals that Friedenreich has scored is unknown, due to lack of documentation. There is not a proper number that could be the number of goals he scored, only a few supposed numbers that have come up over the years. The most famous supposed number of goals is 1329, that Friedenreich would have scored in 1229 matches, however this supposition is false, was nothing more than a misunderstanding and lacking of criteria of the Brazilian sports journalist Adriano Neiva da Motta e Silva, known as De Vaney. This mess started with the father of Friedenreich, Oscar Friedenreich, that noted the goals his son scored since the beginning of his career in a little book, and in 1918 this assignment was given to the forward Mário de Andrada, a friend from Friedenreich, that followed his trajectory for more 17 years, recording details of matches until the end of Friedenreich career. And in 1962, Mário de Andrada said to De Vaney he had the files of all Friedenreich matches, that would prove he scored 1229 goals in 1329 matches, however Andrada died before showing the files to De Vaney. Even without proving these files, De Vaney decided to published them, but wrongly he reversed the numbers, becoming 1329 goals scored in 1229 matches. This statistic, however, gained consistency, and ended up circulating around the world.

Some Supposed Numbers[edit]

Between 1909 and 1935

  • 554 goals in 561 matches, 0,99 goal ratio per game.,[3][4] Alexandre da Costa, in the book O Tigre do futebol
  • 558 goals in 562 matches - Orlando Duarte e Severino Filho, in the book Fried versus Pelé
  • 105 goals in 125 matches - Memorial of São Paulo Futebol Clube

As the wrong statistic of the 1329 goals in 1229 matches circulated the world, Alexandre da Costa checked the files of all Friedenreich games using at least two newspapers, "Correio Paulistano" and "O Estado de S. Paulo", and ended up with two surprising numbers: 554 goals in 561 matches. In "Fried Versus Pelé"(Orlando Duarte e Severino Filho), published weeks later of "O Tigre do Futebol", the journalist Severino Filho ends up with another numbers: 558 goals in 562 matches. "There isn't statistical survey that can't be improved", writes the author of "O Tigre do Futebol", and he is right. Even today, with the resources available, the discrepancies proceed by three facts: the first one is because many of the matches that were found did not have the score and consequently who scored the goals, the second one is that in a clearly amateur football of the time, the matches were, sometimes, daily, with a different duration, and the third one is that Friedenreich played a lot of "combined" matches of two or more teams, something common at the time, and many of those matches do not have the record of the score and who scored the goals.

Playing record[edit]


*) just for one match.
clubs with "?" are not definitively identified.

Top scorer[edit]

He was top scorer of the Liga Paulista in the following years:[5]

Year Club Goals
1912 Mackenzie College 12
1914 Paulistano 12
1917 Ypiranga 15
1918 Paulistano 25
1919 Ypiranga 26
1921 Paulistano 33
1927 Paulistano 13
1928 Paulistano 29
1929 Paulistano 16

Because of the internal quarrels and the ensuing split of the league into the LPF and APEA he had to share the top scorer title with the following players in the following years:[5]

Year Player Club Goals
1914 Neco Corinthians 12
1927 Araken Santos 31
1928 Heitor Palestra Itália 16
1929 Feitiço Santos 12





See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Most career goals (football)". 
  2. ^ a b Curi, Martin (2014). "Arthur Friedenreich (1892–1969): a Brazilian biography". Soccer & Society. 15 (1): 19–28. doi:10.1080/14660970.2013.854540. Retrieved 10 July 2014. 
  3. ^ Gustavo Poli; Lédio Carmona. Almanaque Do Futebol. Casa da Palavra; 2006. ISBN 978-85-7734-002-6. Cap. Grandes craques, item Arthur Friedenreich
  4. ^ Editora Abril. Placar Magazine. Editora Abril; June 1999. p. 91.
  5. ^ a b "Campeonato Paulista: Artilheiros da história". Folha Online. 11 February 2008. Retrieved 10 July 2014. 
  6. ^ a b "IFFHS' Century Elections". 

External links[edit]