During his playing career, Falcao won three Brazilian Championships for Rio Grande do Sul and one Serie A championship with A.S. Roma. However, when the final game of the European Cup in 1984 against Liverpool resulted in penalty shoot-outs, A.S. Roma were defeated 0-1. This not only marked the end of that period but also the end of the Falcao era.
To reinforce the strong connection between him and the great A.S. Roma, when he arrived to Rome on 10th August 1980 after a contract transfer obtained by Dino Viola on 26th July 1980, Falcao imposed the so-called successful mindset. He opened the doors to a new way of playing football; running and sprinting, thinking carefully about what to do with the ball before kicking it, the importance of essential gestures. One day, during an interview, he unveiled his decree of football: “It’s easy to catch the ball and play for oneself; putting the others in a position to play well is much more difficult. A midfielder can’t play solo, he must make the whole team play, getting the best out of them. A midfielder must run, he can’t simply stay still. He must be free to get a pass, control the ball and distribute. He must kick the ball with the outside and the inside of the foot. The secret of a good pass is to be as simple as possible. My football is intelligence and kicking ability.”
Falcao was the second Euro-Brazilian of Italian football history after Dino Sani, who was Falcao’s inspiration. It was Sani, the famous AC Milan midfielder of the sixties, who launched the Divine in his official debut for Porto Alegre Internacional in 1973. Falcao was twenty years old and was reaping the fruit of his iron will, just like when he was a kid. He picked up empty bottles to earn money so he could buy bus tickets to go to school. As he played and learned, he dreamt of becoming a football player while planning a life as a lawyer. He wanted to be redeemed from his poverty and he made it. He won many prizes and awards, in both Brazil and in Italy. He only missed the World Cup for his national team, which was denied by the Italian national team lead by Bearzot and the three goals scored by Paolo Rossi on that fantastic afternoon in Barcelona on 5th July 1982. Falcao was the last to give in, scoring the second goal after dribbling past three opponents.
Falcao would also be a hero when he lost, even in this, he was really Divine. And it was a divine reason that made him accept the transfer to A.S. Roma, “It was John Paul II. I had met him on 4th July 1980 when he came to Porto Alegre in Brazil. I managed to get close to him, thanks to a friend who let me through a fence. He was blessing the crowd. I was really impressed. I still had doubts about coming to Rome but in a moment they were all gone. I thought I would have seen him every day, blessing the crowd from his window in St. Peter’s Square in Rome.”
- Region 4
- Standard Edition
- 1.33 : 1
- Dolby Digital Surround 2.0
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