Early Sunday night (22/8), one of the greatest players ever to wear Palmeiras’ jersey left us. Valdemar dos Santos Figueira, known as Valdemar Carabina, died in a hospital in Salvador, Bahia. Carabina, who during his five last years fought Alzheimer’s disease, was born in São Paulo on the 28 January 1932. He reached the age of 78.
Carabina played his first game for Palmeiras on the 16 May 1954 and stayed in the club for a total of twelve years. As a defender, he incorporated the marvellous team of 1965 – baptised “The Academy” – which in a memorable moment on the 7 September that same year represented Brazil in a friendly against Uruguay, beating them 3-0.
With Palmeiras, Carabina was three times São Paulo Champion (1959, 1963 and 1966), in addition to a Taça Brasil (1960) and a Rio-São Paulo tournament (1965). He played a total of 584 games in Palmeiras’ colours; 333 wins, 116 draws and 135 losses. For the Brazilian National Team, he played 2 official games. During a period in 1987, after having retired as a player, Carabina also acted as coach of Palmeiras (last picture of the three below).
Valdemar only scored nine goals for Palmeiras, but it was exactly one of those – a spectacular and extremely hard shot – that earned him his nickname. At the time, famous radio commentator Mário Moraes commented that the shot was superior to that of a rifle (carabina).
Condolences to Valdemar’s family and friends. Carabina, you will be missed by palmeirenses and football lovers alike.