Socrates is Brazilian World Cup captain who once played non-league football

Legendary Brazilian midfielder Socrates once played for west Yorkshire side Garforth Town in the ninth-tier of English football.

The elegant playmaker was one of the finest talents of his generation while playing for Corinthians and the Brazil national team, where he won 60 caps and captained them during the 1982 World Cup.

Socrates officially hung up his boots in 1990 but came out of retirement in 2004 to trade sunny Brazil for Yorkshire on a one-month deal.

He only made one appearance under the management of Simon Clifford in front of a crowd of 1,000, coming on in the 78th minute in gloves, knee-length shorts and a large shirt.

His decision to join came due to Clifford’s success in building up a worldwide network of Brazilian soccer schools which earned him many contacts within the game, and 50-year-old Socrates joined the side to promote the businessman’s academies.

Socrates said: “I’m here because I was invited by Simon to see his children’s project which I find very interesting.

“He’s using sport, particularly football, to help the children to socialise and to help the physical condition.

“The point is not playing football. The point is Simon’s project and I’ve fallen in love with it.”

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Unfortunately, Socrates’ impact in Yorkshire was not as momentous as his past displays, with the match finishing 2-2 and fans only seeing him in action for 12-minutes before he returned to Brazil to resume his TV career.

He bore the No.6 jersey as he ambled around the pitch, largely being well off the pace aside from a powerful strike which tested the opposition goalkeeper.

Socrates said after the match: “It was far too cold, the second I got out there I had an incredible headache. I’m just not used to it.

“It was much faster than the type of football I’m used to. It was a lot more competitive and keenly fought, but I really enjoyed it and it was an interesting experience.”

Club manager and owner Clifford later revealed on BBC Radio 5 Live the Brazilian maestro had been keen to play more games, but that he had decided against it.

Clifford said: “I decided not to play him in the next game because his warm-up had consisted of drinking two bottles of Budweiser and three cigarettes which we had in the changing rooms.

“I didn’t think it was a good idea for him to carry on playing too much more though he was keen to.”

While the late Socrates’ performance was a shadow of what he had once demonstrated in front of 80,000 at the Maracana, the club was lifted by his presence and went on to secure promotion.

Clifford added: “Socrates brought a kind of magic. The club was almost bankrupt, but he became part of our crusade for promotion.

“He showed great grace in playing for me. He took no money for playing, and he will always be special to us.”

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