TEL AVIV — Brazilian soccer legend Zico, considered one of the greatest players of all time, is expected in Israel this week to take part in the opening ceremonies of the Maccabiah Games.
Zico, whose real name is Artur Antunes Coimbra, played for Brazil in three World Cup tournaments between 1978 and 1986 and was the leader of the legendary 1982 team, considered by many to be the best in soccer history. He was elected FIFA’s player of the year in 1983.
With his club, Flamengo, Zico won four Brazilian championships, one “Copa Libertadores” title and the Intercontinental Cup in 1981. He scored 508 goals in 731 matches.
Zico, who is not Jewish, will attend the opening ceremonies as the Brazilian delegation’s guest of honour and remain in the country for four days.
“I’m delighted to visit Israel,” he said.
“It will definitely be interesting to be part of this special event, the Maccabiah Games. I feel very close to the Jewish community in Brazil, and especially in Rio, and look forward to marching with the Brazilian delegation in the opening ceremony,” he added.
“I was in Israel once before with CSKA Moscow, but this is the first time I can really visit here together with my son.”
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