By Chris Wright
After dabbling in Brazilian politics for a couple of years, Zico came out of retirement at the age of 37 in 1991 after accepting a lucrative deal to go over to Japan and help rebuild a club from the roots up.
Having joined while it was still the ‘in-house’ team of Sumitomo Metal Industries, Zico’s new side subsequently morphed into the Kashima Antlers when the J. League was shut down, rebranded, professionalised and relaunched in 1993.
Despite being relatively small and largely unfancied at the outset, Zico’s influence saw the Antlers finish J. League runners-up in their inaugural season of existence before going on to become the country’s most successful team to date, with an unmatched seven league titles to their name.
As a mark of esteem for the man who proved the catalyst for all of their future success (he even returned as manager in 1999), the Antlers plonked a statue of Zico outside their stadium – a statue which bears the suitably reverential moniker “God of Soccer”.
It’s really only the kind of nickname you can earn for yourself if you do this kind of thing on a regular basis…
If Zico says it’s the best goal Zico ever scored, then we’re willing to take that as gospel.
This way for plenty more Random Great Goals on Pies.
If you’ve got a bygone wonder goal you’d like to see featured in Random Great Goals, give us a nudge at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll give it a shufty.