Fri, Jun 02, 2017 - Page 16 News List

Garrincha remains mystery grips Brazil

AFP and Reuters, RIO DE JANEIRO

Mane Garrincha, the Brazilian soccer genius renowned for leaving defenders in confusion, is now baffling his many fans from beyond the grave with the ultimate mystery — where are his bones?

The question, three decades after he was buried in 1983 at the age of 49, was revealed by Brazilian media on Wednesday.

Turns out that while the graveyard in Mage, north of Rio de Janeiro, is known, the location of the 1958 and 1962 FIFA World Cup winner’s remains is not.

Globo reported that there are two tombs marked with his name, about 200m apart, but that he might or might not be in either one.

“From what people have found out, it’s not certain that he’s buried. We have information that the body was exhumed and taken to a wall vault, but there is no documentation to prove this,” Globo quoted cemetery administrator Priscila Liberio as saying.

Rosangela Santos, one of Garrincha’s daughters, told the UOL news Web site that the supposed exhumation took place some years ago without the family’s permission.

“We have no document. We don’t know what happened to him,” Santos said. “It’s indecent to think that someone did this and did not inform anyone.”

The bizarre mystery only came to light, Brazilian reports said, because Mage Mayor Rafael Tubarao had been preparing an event to mark Garrincha’s birthday in October, when he would have been 84.

Officials are expected to ask Garrincha’s family to provide DNA samples to help them confirm the bones in one of the plot’s are Garrincha’s.

Santos said that a gravedigger at the cemetery informed her that her father’s remains were likely to be in one of the two graves.

“We don’t know for sure where he is,” she said. “The mayor has promised him a mausoleum, but they need to find him first. It’s very upsetting not knowing where he is.”

Garrincha was one of Brazil’s most unusual and loved players, a rival with Pele for title of the nation’s greatest of all time.

Born with disfigured legs, his career as an athlete looked improbable, yet he turned into an unpredictable and supremely mobile dribbler, credited during the 1962 FIFA World Cup in Chile with masterminding Brazil’s victory.

His personal life, including serial marital problems and multiple children born out of wedlock, veered from colorful to tragic as health problems and a liking for alcohol took over, dooming him to an early death.

He was born Manuel Francisco dos Santos, but known to all by his childhood nickname, Garrincha, which is Portuguese for “wren.”

This story has been viewed 1457 times.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top