Leonidas da Silva, Brazil

Leonidas da Silva, Brazil

Leônidas da Silva was a Brazilian striker born on September 6, 1913 in São Paulo, and died at the ripe old age of 90 in 2004. He was affectionately known as the ‘Black Diamond’ or the ‘Rubber Man’ and perfected the nifty ‘bicycle kick’ move.

Football career
Leônidas began his career at local teams in Rio de Janeiro before joining Peñarol in Uruguay in 1933. He stayed here for one season and then moved back to Brazil to play for Vasco da Gama, where he won the Brazilian Championship. In 1934, da Silva moved onto Botafogo and again won the Brazilian Championship in 1935 before moving on to Flamengo, where he would remain until 1942. Leônidas eventually settled with São Paulo in 1942 and stayed until his retirement in 1950.

World Cup history
Da silva played in the 1934 and 1938 World Cups and was the top goal scorer in the ’38 cup, with eight goals; four coming from a single game against Poland. Brazil was knocked out of that tournament by Italy in the semi-finals, possibly a big mistake by the then Brazil manager, Ademar Pimenta, for resting Leônidas da Silva? He is also accredited with being the first player to score fours goals in a single World Cup match.

Post playing career
Although Leônidas da Silva retired as a player in 1950, he became manager of São Paulo in 1953 and then went on to become a radio reporter, followed by a furniture store owner in São Paulo.

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