Didi in 1958
|Full name||Waldyr Pereira|
|Date of birth||8 October 1928|
|Place of birth||Campos dos Goytacazes, RJ, Brazil|
|Date of death||12 May 2001(aged 72)|
|Place of death||Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil|
|Height||1.70 m (5 ft 7 in)|
|1945||Rio Branco (RJ)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 15 February 2007.
Waldyr Pereira (8 October 1928 – 12 May 2001), nicknamed Didi (Portuguese pronunciation: [dʒiˈdʒi]), was a Brazilian footballer who played as a midfielder. He played in three FIFA World Cups (1954, 1958, and 1962), winning the latter two and was named the tournament's best player in 1958.
Didi is considered to be one of the greatest midfielders in the history sport, and was renowned for his range of passing, stamina and technique. A dead-ball specialist, he became famous for inventing the folha seca (dry leaf) free kicks, notably used by modern-day players such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Juninho, where the ball would swerve downward unexpectedly at a point resulting in a goal.
Born in Rio de Janeiro, he nearly had his right leg amputated when he was 14 due to a severe infection. He recovered and played for some clubs in Campos dos Goytacazes. He became professional playing for Americano de Campos and came to prominence when he joined Fluminense in 1949. During seven seasons with the club he won the Campeonato carioca in 1951 and 1952 Copa Rio.
During the 1954 World Cup he scored goals against Mexico and Yugoslavia, before Brazil's defeat to the favorites Hungary. This match was known as the Battle of Berne; Didi was involved with the brawl that followed this bad-tempered match.
At club level, he moved to Botafogo, winning the Campeonato Carioca (Rio state championship) in 1957. Didi had previously promised to walk from the Maracanã to his house, in the neighbourhood of Laranjeiras (9,4 km), in his kit, if Botafogo won the championship; 5,000 Botafogo fans joined him as he did so.
His greatest achievement came at the 1958 FIFA World Cup where he was player of the tournament. From midfield, he masterminded the first of his two FIFA World Cup successes for Brazil. In 68 international matches he scored 20 goals, including a dozen using his trademark free-kicks.
In 1959 he was signed by Real Madrid of Spain. Despite his great reputation after the 1958 FIFA World Cup, he played only 19 matches with 6 goals for the Spaniards and often clashed with the team leader Alfredo Di Stéfano, who felt offended by the divide in the fans' attention with this newcomer; this situation precipitated his exit from the club. After success at the 1962 FIFA World Cup, he decided to become a coach.
- Brazil Squad
- FIFA World Cup: 1958, 1962
- Copa Oswaldo Cruz: 1955, 1958, 1961, 1962
- O'Higgins Cup: 1955, 1961
- Pan American Games: 1952
- Atlantic Cup: 1956
- Campeonato Carioca: 1957, 1961, 1962
- Torneio Rio – São Paulo: 1962
- State Championship: 1957, 1961, 1962
- Tournament Home: 1961, 1962, 1963
- Colombia International Tournament: 1960
- Pentagonal Club of Mexico: 1962
- Real Madrid
- FIFA World Cup Golden Ball: 1958
- FIFA World Cup All-Star Team: 1958
- IFFHS Brazilian Player of the 20th Century (7th place)
- IFFHS World Player of the 20th Century (19th place)
- The Best of The Best – Player of the Century: Top 50
- Brazilian Football Museum Hall of Fame
After retiring as player he began a coach career with Sporting Cristal, and was called to manage the Peru national team in the 1970 FIFA World Cup. That team included stars like Teófilo Cubillas and Héctor Chumpitaz were eventually defeated in the quarter finals by Brazil. In 1971 he managed the top Argentine club, River Plate, when he accepted a lucrative position, and had his apex in his coaching career with Fenerbahçe, guiding the team to two consecutive Turkish First Division (later named Turkish Premier Super League) titles in 1973–1974 and later in 1974–1975.
On June 16, 1950 in a friendly match involving Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo youth state teams, Didi (aged 21), playing for Rio de Janeiro, scored the first ever goal at the Maracanã Stadium. He is also known as the first person to call the game The Beautiful Game.
- "Kings of the free-kick". FIFA.com. Retrieved 20 May 2014
- Bellos, Alex (2002). Futebol: the Brazilian way of life. London: Bloomsbury. ISBN 0-7475-6179-6.
- Waldir Pereira "Didi" – International Appearances and Goals, RSSSF, 6 September 2006
- "Didi, the unflappable genius". FIFA.com. Retrieved 23 October 2015.
- 100 World Cup heroes (60-41): Sportsmail's countdown continues with Bergkamp, Milla, Batistuta and Banks (making THAT save
- IFFHS' Century Elections
- "The Best of The Best" Retrieved on 17 November 2015
- "Rivaldo on top of the world". FIFA. Archived from the original on 13 December 2006. Retrieved 4 March 2007.
- Maracanã Stadium, Sambafoot
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