Djalma Santos

Djalma Pereira Dias dos Santos known simply as Djalma Santos (Brazilian Portuguese: [diˈʒawmɐ ˈsɐ̃tus]; also spelled Dejalma Santos), (27 February 1929 – 23 July 2013) was a Brazilian footballer who started for the Brazil national team in four World Cups, winning two, in 1958 and 1962. Santos is considered to be one of the greatest right-backs of all time. While primarily known for his defensive skills, he often ventured upfield and displayed some impressive technical and attacking skills.[1]

Djalma Santos
Djalma Santos.jpg
Santos with the Jules Rimet Trophy in 2008
Personal information
Full name Djalma Pereira Dias dos Santos
Date of birth (1929-02-27)27 February 1929
Place of birth São Paulo, Brazil
Date of death 23 July 2013(2013-07-23) (aged 84)
Place of death Uberaba, Brazil
Height 1.73 m (5 ft 8 in)
Position(s) Right-back
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1948–1959 Portuguesa 434 (11)
1959–1968 Palmeiras 498 (10)
1969–1970 Atlético Paranaense 32 (2)
Total 964 (23)
International career
1952–1968 Brazil 98 (3)
*Club domestic league appearances and goals

Along with Franz Beckenbauer and Philipp Lahm, he is one of only three players to be included into three FIFA World Cup All Star teams (in 1954, 1958 and 1962). He was unrelated to his frequent defensive partner Nilton Santos. He was named by Pelé as one of the top 125 greatest living footballers in March 2004. He is also one of the few footballers to have made over 1,000 professional appearances in his career.[2]

Djalma Santos made history in the three big clubs he played for. Djalma was an idol at Palmeiras, where he played 498 games for nine years and won several titles, at Portuguesa, where he emerged in professional football and played 510 games, and at Atlético Paranaense, where he ended his career. Known as an exemplary player, he was never sent-off from the field.[3]

Club careerEdit

Djalma Santos started his career in his hometown with Portuguesa. He initially played in the centre of defence, but was later moved to the right side of defense. He was part of one of the best Portuguesa teams of all time, where alongside players like Pinga, Julinho Botelho and Brandãozinho he won the Rio-São Paulo Tournament in 1952 and 1955 and the Blue Ribbon in 1951 and 1953. He is the second largest record holder of games played by the club, 434 in total, between the years 1949 and 1958, second only to Capitão, with 496 games.

At Palmeiras, with 498 games, he is the seventh player who wore most the "alviverde" {Green and White} jersey. He was featured in the first academy alongside stars such as Ademir da Guia, Julinho Botelho, Djalma Dias and Vavá. It was at Palmeiras that he won the greatest number of titles of his career: the Paulista Championship in 1959, 1963 and 1966; the Brazilian Championships of 1960, 1967 (Robertão) and Brazil Cup of 1967. In addition, he won the Rio-São Paulo Tournament in 1965.

For Atlético Paranaense he played until the age of 42, another unusual brand for soccer players.

Despite having only defended three clubs in his career, Djalma Santos once wore the jersey of São Paulo, even though he belonged to Palmeiras at the time. On November 9, 1960, he played as an honor guest in the celebrations of the inauguration of the Morumbi Stadium, in the victory over Nacional do Uruguay, by 3–0, with goals from Canhoteiro and Gino.

International careerEdit

Brazilian footballers Djalma Santos (left), Pelé (weeping) and Gilmar after winning the 1958 World Cup. Behind Pelé there's Didi, while on the right side Orlando Peçanha.

Santos made 98 official appearances for Brazil between 1952 and 1968, and was in the squad for four consecutive World Cups between 1954 and 1966. He made his first appearance against Peru in the Panamerican Championship. The match was drawn 0–0. He also made two unofficial appearances for Brazil.[2]

1954 World CupEdit

Santos made his World Cup debut in a 5–0 win against Mexico, and played in all of Brazil's matches during the tournament. He scored his first goal for Brazil from the penalty spot in a 4–2 defeat against Hungary (also known as the "Battle of Berne").

1958 World CupEdit

Santos had lost his place in the side after being dropped in favour of De Sordi, and did not play until the final against Sweden. Brazil won the match 5–2, with Santos being one of the outstanding performers. As a result, despite only playing one match in the tournament, he was included in the tournament's All-Star Team.

1962 World CupEdit

Santos was once again a regular in the starting lineup, playing in all of Brazil's games. In the final against Czechoslovakia he set up the final goal for Brazil. Noting that the Slovak goalkeeper Viliam Schrojf was somewhat off his line, Santos lofted a long, massive, high arcing ball, into the goalmouth aided by the glare of the afternoon sun. Schrojf mishandled the cross, and Brazilian striker Vavá hammered the ball into goal.

1966 World CupEdit

Santos, now at the age of 37, was selected for a fourth consecutive World Cup. The inclusion of Santos in the squad was a surprise to some, with Carlos Alberto expected to be selected instead.[4] Santos played the first two games, but was dropped after the 3–1 defeat to Hungary. Brazil were knocked out of the tournament in the next game against Portugal.

Style of playEdit

After beginning his career in midfield, Santos found much success as a defender due to his composure, as well as his excellent and consistent displays in this position, and is regarded as one of the greatest right-backs of all time; he was also capable of playing as a centre back.[5] Santos was a quick and physically strong defender, who was known for his stamina, marking, and tackling ability; he was also effective in the air.[2][3] In addition to his defensive ability as a right-back, which earned him the nickname Muralha (the wall) from the Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano, Santos was also known for his excellent technique and offensive capabilities, which saw him contribute to the development of the role; being gifted with excellent ball control, good dribbling skills, creativity, and accurate distribution, he often took on opponents with the ball when under pressure in one on one situations, even in risky situations inside his own penalty area, and he was also one of the first full-backs to venture forward and make overlapping attacking runs down the flank in order to contribute to his teams' offensive plays.[2][3][6] Santos was also an accurate penalty kick and set-piece taker, and was known for his ability to take long throw-ins.[2][3] In addition to his ability as a footballer, Santos was also known to be an extremely fair and correct player, as well as an exemplary professional, who stood out for his work-rate, longevity, discipline in training, and correct behaviour; throughout his entire, extensive career, he was never once sent off.[3]


Santos died on 23 July 2013 in hospital in Uberaba, where he had lived for two decades.[5] He died due to pneumonia and severe hemodynamic instability, culminating with cardiac arrest, having been hospitalized since 1 July 2013.[2][7]







  1. ^ Melinda C. Shepherd. "Djalma Santos". Encyclopædia Britannica. Archived from the original on 15 September 2015. Retrieved 14 November 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Djalma Santos: Footballer who won the World Cup with Brazil". The Independent. 23 August 2013. Archived from the original on 26 August 2013. Retrieved 23 October 2013.
  3. ^ a b c d e Darwin Pastorin (2012). "SANTOS, Djalma". Treccani: Enciclopedia dello Sport (in Italian). Archived from the original on 12 November 2018. Retrieved 10 June 2017.
  4. ^ "Carlos Alberto - the Beautiful Team". Archived from the original on 23 July 2011. Retrieved 2 August 2010.
  5. ^ a b "Brazil legend Djalma Santos dies". FIFA. 24 July 2013. Archived from the original on 31 July 2013. Retrieved 24 October 2013.
  6. ^ "Brazil's greatest defenders". Sky Sports. 2 July 2010. Archived from the original on 16 November 2015. Retrieved 1 February 2017.
  7. ^ "Djalma Santos, bicampeão mundial, morre em Uberaba aos 84 anos" (in Portuguese). Globo Esporte. 23 July 2013. Archived from the original on 27 September 2013.
  8. ^ Ídolo eterno do Verdão, Djalma Santos morre aos 84 anos em MG Archived 30 October 2016 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ "ERIC BATTY’S WORLD XI – THE SIXTIES" Archived 9 August 2013 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved on 26 November 2015
  10. ^ FIFA XI´s Matches - Full Info Archived 17 November 2015 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ "The Fifa 100". The Guardian. 4 March 2004. Archived from the original on 19 May 2014. Retrieved 9 June 2015.
  12. ^ "The Best of The Best" Archived 26 January 2010 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved on 17 November 2015

External linksEdit