Jairzinho is number 47 in 90min's Top 50 Greatest Footballers of All Time series. 


​If you didn't know, Brazil are pretty good at football. Some of the finest talents in history have come from Brazil, and the country even boasted perhaps the greatest team of all time in the shape of their 1970 World Cup squad.


By the time that tournament came around, Brazil had already won the World Cup twice. They lifted the trophy in both 1958 and 1962, but they flopped in 1966 and were eliminated in the group stage, which was unheard of for a nation of their magnitude.


1970 felt like a pivotal point in their history. Brazil looked to be washed up in the previous tournament and their reign of dominance looked over. Thanks to Jairzinho, they were soon seen as the greatest once more.

A young Jairzinho played in the 1966 tournament, but was deployed as a left winger. He hated it and so did fans, and something needed to change.


Garrincha's retirement opened up a spot on Jairzinho's preferred right side, and he took it with both hands.


Some were even hesitant about giving Jairzinho such a role. Garrincha had wowed fans with his trickery and typical Brazilian flair out on the touchline, but Jairzinho was a different kind of player. While he still loved the odd trick, he was more about passing, moving and striking with power.


He wanted goals and he wanted success, and he certainly got both in 1970.

Drawn in a group alongside Czechoslovakia, England and Romania, Brazil knew they had a good chance of qualifying. A 4-1 win over Czechoslovakia in their first game was a great way to start, and Jairzinho was the star after getting on the score sheet twice.


One game, two goals.


Their second group game against England, who were the defending champions, would prove to be a much tougher test. Brazil needed a moment of magic, and they got that from Jairzinho.


The winger finished off one of the all-time great team goals to give his side a 1-0 win and book their place in the next round. Tostão and Pelé helped make the goal what it was, but they needed Jairzinho's powerful finish to earn the win.


Two games, three goals.

A meeting with Romania would end the group stage, and Brazil made hard work of it. Pelé opened the scoring, before Jairzinho netted in his third successive game, but they let Romania back in and really had to battle to a 3-2 win.


Three games, four goals.


Their rewards was a meeting with Peru in the knockout stages. Early goals from Tostão and Rivelino gave Brazil an early advantage, and it wasn't long before Jairzinho got himself in on the fun again.


The match ended 4-2, as Brazil's attacking flair simply proved to be far too much for the Peruvians.


Four games, five goals.

Next up was Uruguay. By now, people had started to believe in Brazil and they had started to believe in Jairzinho. The guy was on fire, but surely his hot streak couldn't last forever, right?


After falling 1-0 down to Uruguay, Brazil temporarily looked to be in danger, but they soon put their foot back on the accelerator and dominated once more. Clodoaldo snatched the equaliser, before Jairzinho popped up yet again to give Brazil the advantage. Rivelino added a late third to ensure that Brazil were on their way to the final.


Five games, six goals.


The final test was Italy, a sleeping giant who were looking to get themselves back on the top of the footballing world.


However, Brazil were just too strong. Their attacking flair led them to a comprehensive 4-1 win, and you'll never guess who was on the score sheet yet again.

Jairzinho finished the tournament with seven goals in six games, making him one of just two players to ever score in each round of fixtures in World Cup history, and he had proven to be a core part of the nation's third global triumph.


Standing out alongside the likes of Pelé, Carlos Alberto and Rivelino was never going to be easy, but Jairzinho certainly held his own. He led the team in goals, and while Pelé was the mastermind behind the success, Brazil would not have been there without Jairzinho.


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90min's 'Top 50 Greatest Footballers of All Time' can be found here


Number 50: Luka Modric

Number 49: John Charles

Number 48: Hugo Sanchez