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Brazil football legend Socrates dies aged 57

He was known for his elegant style on the field and his deep involvement with Brazilian politics. Now one of football’s legends — Socrates — has died of septic shock. He was 57.

The former great, who captained Brazil at the 1982 World Cup, passed away yesterday after he was rushed to the Albert Einstein hospital in Sao Paulo where he was treated for food poisoning.

The former midfield master had been in critical condition in an intensive care unit, breathing with the help of a ventilator.

Socrates was twice admitted to intensive care in the last few months, most recently in September. Both times he was admitted for haemorrhage caused by high pressure in the vein that carries blood from the digestive system to the liver.

Speaking after his first hospitalisation in August, Socrates revealed his poor condition was the result of alcohol abuse.

He acknowledged being a heavy drinker, even when he starred as a player in the 1980s, but said he stopped earlier this year after his stints in hospital.

Socrates was above average both on and off the field. He became a doctor after retiring from soccer and later became a popular TV commentator and columnist, always with unique and controversial opinions. He never denied his fondness for drinking, from the time he was a player until his final days.

Since his time as a player, Socrates never kept his political ideas to himself and often wrote about the subject in his newspaper columns. Known as Dr Socrates, he was the main commentator on a weekly TV sports programme and was constantly in demand from media for interviews on varied subjects.

With Brazilian club Corinthians, Socrates spearheaded a movement called the Corinthians Democracy, in which players protested against the long periods of confinement required by the club before matches. It quickly became a broader protest that coincided with Brazil's fight to overturn a military regime in the 1980s.

Socrates captained Brazil in the 1982 World Cup in Spain and was a member of the squad in 1986 in Mexico. The 1982 Brazilian team became widely known as the best not to win a World Cup.

Socrates was included in FIFA's list of the best 125 living soccer players in the world, a list compiled by countryman Pele.

He is survived by his wife and six children.

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Socrates is regarded as one of the greatest players of his generation, a cultured midfielder who won 60 caps for Brazil, scoring 22 goals. He captained the ‘Selecao' at the 1982 World Cup and played at the 1986 tournament in Mexico, but never managed to win football's biggest prize.

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