Yesterday, on the day he reached his 77th birthday, legendary former defensive midfielder Dudu was graced with the highest reward: being immortalized through a bronze bust in front of the Allianz Parque.
Olegário Tolói de Oliveira – nicknamed Dudu – was born in Araraquara, state of São Paulo, on 7 November 1939. He arrived at Palmeiras in 1964. Twelve years later, he had played a total of 609 games for the club, scored 25 goals, and won nine titles, including five Brazilian championship titles. Upon retiring as a player in 1976, he gave coaching a go, winning the São Paulo state championship for the club that same year.
“I’m prettier (the bust) than in person *laughs*. What the directors of Palmeiras are doing for me, I have no words to thank them, to thank my friends, relatives and former colleagues for their presence. I feel great joy today, this actually rocked me a bit. Which is very rare, for something to rock me, but today is very emotional for me” said Dudu at the uncovering of the bust, in the presence of president Paulo Nobre, vice-president Maurício Galiotti, Ademir da Guia and other invited.
In addition to Dudu, only five players have received the honour: Junqueira, Waldemar Fiúme, Ademir da Guia, Oberdan Cattani and Marcos. Dudu’s bust was positioned right next to Ademir’s, which makes perfect sense: Dudu and “The Divine” played back-to-back for most of their time at Palmeiras.
No one deserves the bust better. CONGRATULATIONS, DUDU!