Zito (footballer)

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Zito 2008.jpg
Zito in 2008
Personal information
Full name José Ely de Miranda
Date of birth 8 August 1932
Place of birth Roseira, São Paulo, Brazil
Date of death 14 June 2015 (aged 82)
Place of death Santos, Brazil
Height 1.79 m (5 ft 10 12 in)
Playing position Midfielder
Youth career
1948–1950 Roseira
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1950–1952 Taubaté 117 (41)
1952–1967 Santos 727 (57)
National team
1955–1964 Brazil 52 (3)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

José Ely de Miranda (8 August 1932 – 14 June 2015), commonly known as Zito, was a Brazilian footballer who played as a midfielder.

His club career was spent mostly in the service of Santos, captaining a side including Pelé to domestic and international successes. He was also part of the Brazilian squads which won the World Cup in 1958 and 1962.

After his retirement as a player, Zito remained at Santos as a director and youth coordinator, developing several young future international players.

Early life[edit]

Born in Roseira, São Paulo, Zito initially intended to become a schoolteacher, and attended technical schools in his hometown, before pursuing a career as a footballer.[1]

Playing career[edit]

Zito joined Santos in 1952, after finishing his formation at hometown amateur club Roseira FC, and spending two years at Taubaté.[2] He made his debut for Peixe on 29 June 1952 in a 3–1 friendly win against Madureira.[3]

Zito appeared regularly for Santos in the following 15 years, playing 733 games and scoring 57 goals. He was the captain of the Os Santásticos team of the late 1950s and 1960s, playing alongside Pelé, Pepe and other Brazilian stars.[4]

Zito (standing, third from left) lining up for the 1958 FIFA World Cup Final

Zito was nicknamed Gerente (manager in Portuguese) by the media during his playing days, due to helping the manager Lula while outfields.[5] Despite missing the two last games of 1963 Intercontinental Cup due to an injury, he acted as Lula's assistant during both matches as his team won the second title in a row.[5]

Zito played his last match on 7 November 1967, a 5–0 win against a mix between Ferroviário and Fortaleza at the Estádio Presidente Vargas.[3]

At international level, he earned 52 caps for Brazil. He partnered Didi in midfield, and was part of the squad which won the 1958 FIFA World Cup Final against hosts Sweden; after starting the tournament as a reserve, he finished it as an undisputed starter.[6] In the 1962 edition in Chile, he was named in the Team of the Tournament.[4] In the final of that tournament, Zito headed Brazil into the lead as they came from behind to win 3–1 against Czechoslovakia with Pelé absent through injury.[7]

Style of play[edit]

A strong, commanding and influential midfielder, known for his leadership, Zito usually played in a supporting role as a wing-half or half-back, serving as a defensive foil to his more offensive minded teammates. An intelligent and highly organised player, he was known for his ability to win back possession with his tackling, and subsequently set the tempo in midfield through his movement off the ball and precise passing; although he was competent in possession, he preferred to play the ball to other more creative and skilful midfielders rather than carry it forward himself. He was also capable of starting attacking plays after winning the ball by quickly distributing the ball forward with simple, yet neat and efficient passes.[1][8][9]

Life after football[edit]

After retiring Zito was a vice-president at Santos between 1978 and 1982. After one year away from the club, he was named director of football by president Milton Teixeira, but left the post in 1987. In 2000, he was named a youth coordinate, helping the club to promote youngsters Robinho and Diego to the first team.[10]

Zito was credited with bringing 11-year-old Neymar to the club in 2003.[4] With Gabriel, he was also the scout who saw the player and brought him to the club's youth system.[10]


Zito suffered from Alzheimer's disease and had memory lapses.[11] Following a stroke the year before, Zito died on 14 June 2015 aged 82 in Santos, São Paulo, leaving Pelé, Pepe and Zagallo as the last three living Brazilian veterans of the 1958 World Cup final.[4][9]

In his honour Santos decided to use the "Z" letter in the captain's armband, instead of the regular "C" used by most teams.[1]








  1. ^ a b Brian Glanville (15 June 2015). "Zito obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 February 2017.
  2. ^ "De Roseira para o mundo: veja fotos de Zito antes e depois dos gramados" [From Roseira to the world: see photos of Zito before and after the field] (in Portuguese). A Tribuna. 15 June 2015. Retrieved 15 June 2015.
  3. ^ a b "A história do maior capitão do Santos FC" [The history of the greatest captain of Santos FC] (in Portuguese). Santos' official website. 15 June 2015. Retrieved 15 June 2015.
  4. ^ a b c d "Zito: Two-time Brazilian World Cup-winning midfielder dies at 82". BBC Sport. 15 June 2015. Retrieved 15 June 2015.
  5. ^ a b "'Gerente', Zito deu broncas em Pelé e ria com apelido de 'chulé'" ['Manager', Zito told off Pelé and laughed with nickname of 'cheesy feet'] (in Portuguese). NE10. 15 June 2015. Retrieved 15 June 2015.
  6. ^ "Após 50 anos, Zito derruba lenda sobre jogadores e Feola" [After 50 years, Zito brings down myth about players and Feola]. Folha de S. Paulo (in Portuguese). 29 June 2008. Retrieved 15 June 2015.
  7. ^ "Brazil flying high with 'Little Bird' Garrincha". FIFA. Retrieved 15 June 2015.
  8. ^ Ivan Ponting (5 August 2015). "Zito: Commanding midfielder who helped to guide Brazil to consecutive World Cup triumphs". The Independent. Retrieved 21 February 2017.
  9. ^ a b c "Zito, leader of Brazil's World Cup-winning teams in 1958 and 1962, dies at 82". The Washington Post. 15 June 2015. Retrieved 21 February 2017.
  10. ^ a b "Além de história e títulos, Zito moldou quatro gerações de ídolos do Santos" [Aside from history and title, Zito made four generations of idols of Santos] (in Portuguese). Terra. 15 June 2015. Retrieved 15 June 2015.
  11. ^ "Morre Zito, um dos maiores da história do futebol brasileiro" [Dies Zito, one of the greatests of Brazilian football] (in Portuguese). ESPN Brasil. 14 June 2015. Retrieved 15 June 2015.
  12. ^ "ERIC BATTY’S WORLD XI – THE SIXTIES" Retrieved on 26 November 2015

External links[edit]