One of the greatest of Brazilian football has left us. Djalma Santos, who played for Palmeiras 1959-1968, started his rise to international stardom when he made his debut in the 1958 World Cup final against Sweden. With impressive physique, technique and eye for the game, Djalma Santos became the absolute reference for the right-back position for more than a decade, integrating the Brazilian national squad in the four World Cups 1958-1966 (out of which Brazil came out victorious in the first two).
Born in São Paulo on 27 February 1929, Dejalma dos Santos – as his birth certificate reads – started his professional footballing career at Portuguesa in 1948. He signed with Palmeiras in 1959 and completed 498 games in our colours before leaving for Atlético Paranaense in 1968, at the age of 38. He played for an additional four years at Atlético where he also ended his career, without never ever in his life having been sent off the football pitch.
With Palmeiras, Djalma won the São Paulo championships of 1959, 1963 and 1966; the Taça Brasil of 1960 and 1967; the Roberto Gomes Pedrosa tournament of 1967 and the Rio de Janeiro-São Paulo championship of 1965.
Yesterday evening, at the age of 84, Djalma Santos died in hospital from severe pneumonia followed by cardiac arrest.
President of Brasil Dilma Rousseff issued a condolence note this morning.
Thoughts go to his family, friends and legion of fans.