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Jairzinho, birth name Jair Ventura Filho (born December 25, 1944) is a former Brazilianmarker footballer. A quick, powerful winger, he was a member of the legendary Brazilian national team that won the 1970 FIFA World Cup, during which he scored in every game Brazil played. In doing so, he became one of only 3 players - the others being Alcides Ghiggia and Just Fontaine - in the history of the World Cup to have scored in every game of the tournament. He was listed at number 27 in World Soccer Magazine's list of the 100 greatest players of the 20th century, one place ahead of Zinedine Zidane.

Due to the economic and political situation of the time, as well as the Sport Legislation, he played most of his club football in South America where he spent eleven years at Rio de Janeiromarker club Botafogo. He went on to play in Europe during the final years of his career, a common pattern for South American players until the 1980s, when the economic and political situation changed. Jairzinho replaced his footballing idol Garrincha in both the Botafogo and Brazil teams, and played in three consecutive World Cups.

Biography

Jairzinho was born in Rio de Janeiromarker, where he went through the youth setup at local club Botafogo. He made his professional debut with the club as a striker at the age of fifteen. His hero Garrincha, whom he would eventually replace for both club and country, also played at Botafogo, albeit in Jairzinho's preferred position on the right wing. This resulted in Jairzinho spending most of his early games playing on the left wing or as a centre forward. However, he would fill in as a right winger, by far his strongest position, when Garrincha was injured.

He made his international debut as a 19 year old in 1964 against Portugal, again when Garrincha was injured. He played in the 1966 FIFA World Cup in Englandmarker, however, and with Garrincha back in the side, he played as a left winger. Jairzinho struggled to be effective in this position, and he couldn't prevent Brazil from exiting the competition at the first round. When, after the tournament, Garrincha announced his retirement from international football, Jairzinho finally took over his idol's role for Brazil on the right wing.

Now in his favourite position, Jairzinho became a far more effective and consistent performer for both his club and country. At the 1970 FIFA World Cup in Mexicomarker, Jairzinho was one of Brazil's star players, and made history by scoring in every game for the Seleção, for which he received the epithet "Furacão da Copa" (World Cup Hurricane). He scored his seventh goal of the tournament in Brazil's 4-1 defeat of Italy in the final. However, his impressive goals tally at the finals were not enough to win the Golden Boot, which went to Germany's Gerd Müller, who scored ten goals. However Jairzinho has claimed that FIFA awarded him a "best body on the planet" prize for his athleticism. Following his display in Mexicomarker, Jairzinho moved to Europe to play for Frenchmarker side Marseille. However, he struggled with Marseille and soon returned to Brazil to play for Cruzeiromarker, with whom he won the Copa Libertadores in 1976. The Cruzeiro team at the time included the likes of Nelinho and Dirceu Lopes.

Jairzinho scored two goals in the 1974 FIFA World Cup, which would prove to be his last World Cup for Brazil. He did, however, continue to play for Brazil for another eight years. His final game was on March 3, 1982 against Czechoslovakia in a game which Brazil drew 1-1. He scored 33 goals in 82 games during his international career.

Jairzinho finished his career playing for Portuguesa in Venezuelamarker, making it one of the greatest teams in Venezuelan history, helping Portuguesa win a record 16 games in a row and their fourth of five championships. Following his retirement Jairzinho became a coach and coached the Gabon national team. However, Jairzinho was sacked by Gabon's Football Federation after a crushing defeat against Angola in a World Cup 2006 Qualifier held in Luandamarker. Perhaps his greatest achievement as a coach was spotting Ronaldo as a 14 year old whilst he was coaching São Cristóvão. He kick-started the career of the future three-time FIFA World Player of the Year by recommending him to Cruzeiro, his former side, and the Brazil youth team.

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