Gilmar, the most popular Brazilian goalkeeper

It is said that Brazil had and has the best offensive players in the history, but some people try to prove that the South-Americans also have great footballers in defense and especially between the posts. It’s impossible for you to not hear of goalkeepers such are Taffarel, Dida and now, Julio Cesar. All of them are good, but can’t measure their value with only one man: Gilmar dos Santos Neves, simply because he was World Champion twice.

He only played 94 games for Brazil, with seven less than Taffarel, but won two World Cups: in 1958 and in 1962, retiring from football with only one year before Selecao won its’ third title, in 1970. Born on 22nd of August 1930 in Santos, Gilmar didn’t begin playing at the powerful local club, but at the historical rivals from Sao Paolo: Corinthians, where he arrived in 1951, staying here exactly 10 years in which he gathered 486 matches! From Corinthians he got his first national cap in 1953 and by 1958 became first option in Brazils’ goal. Despite having just 1.81 meters he couldn’t be replace, helped of course by the fact that in those years very tall goalkeepers weren’t necessary popular. After he became in 1958 first time World champion, he repeated the performance four years later, in Chile and he is, until your days, the only goalkeeper that won twice the World Cup from the starting position.

Despite playing an impressive number of matches for Corinthians he didn’t win a single important trophy, so he decided to move to another club. And not just any club, but Santos, the team from his native town, that in those years became one of the most successful from the entire history. Santos won five national championships between 1961 and 1965, two Copa Libertadores in 1962 and 1963 and two Intercontinental Cups, in the same two seasons, all alongside with a famous team mate: the legendary Pele, with whom he also shared the performances from the national squad. Until the end of his spell here, he appeared in 266 games. The lack of results from the next years, cumulated with the more and more advanced age, determined Gilmar to retire from football in 1969, with only one year before Brazil won its third World Cup. Previously, the goalkeeper played in the same competition in 1966, but then, Brazil left the competition very early, from the group stage, forced a bit by Peles’ injury.

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