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Leonidas

Written by Sebastien on 08 April 2013. Posted in World Cup Legends

Leonidas also known as Leônidas da Silva, was born in Rio de Janeiro, on 6 September 1913. He passed away on Cotia, 24 January 2004 at the age of 90. He was an association footballer and a professional commentator. Leonidas was to be one of the most important players of the first half of the 20th century. He played for Brazil in two World Cup Tournaments, and in the 1938 World Cup, he gained the honors of being the top scorer.

He gained the nicknames of Black Diamond, and Rubber Man, which was due to his elasticity, and speed. He was the only player in the world to make the only bicycle goal kick in World Cup history.

He started his career at São Cristóvão. In 1931 and in 1932, he played for Bonsucesso. However, being a black player, he had to deal with constant prejudice and racism claims but this did not deter his efforts to play professionally. He later joined Peñarol, Uruguay in 1933. He later returned to Brazil to play for club Vasco da Gama. He helped the team to clinch the Rio State Championship. He represented the country in the 1934 World Cup and thereafter joined club Botafogo and won Rio State Championship in 1935. He later joined Flamengo, and won the state championship in 1939, therefore left this club in 1940.

He played 19 times for the Brazilian national team, scoring 21 goals. He scored twice during his debut on the football team, something which gave him instant recognition and the adoration of the masses. In 1938, he was the World Cup's top scorer with 7 goals, scoring at least three times in the highly contested match, in the 6–5 extra time win over Poland. During his time, he became one of the notable players to win championship titles and recognitions in all clubs they represented.

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