UltimateXI Profile: Zico

By April 28, 2020
Zico Zico

Brazilian midfielder Arthur Antunes Coimbra, better known as Zico, was a creative playmaker, with excellent technical skills, vision, and an eye for goal.

Considered one of the most clinical finishers and best passers ever, Zico is regarded as the best player in the world between the 1970s and early 1980s. He was a world-class playmaker and free-kick specialist, able to bend the ball in all directions.

With 68 goals in 94 official appearances for Brazil, Zico is fifth highest goal scorer for his national team.

He represented Brazil in the 1978, 1982 and 1986 World Cups but did not win any of them, even though the 1982 squad is considered one of the greatest Brazilian national squads ever. As such, Zico is seen as one of the best players in football history not to have been on a World Cup-winning squad.

He was Player of the Year in 1981 and 1983.

In 1999, Zico came eighth in the FIFA Player of the Century grand jury vote, and in 2004 was named in the FIFA 100 list of the world's greatest living players

Between 1971 and 1983, while at Flamengo, Zico was a key player during the most glorious period of the team's history. He led the team to victory in the 1981 Copa Libertadores, the 1981 Intercontinental Cup, and four national titles (1980, 1982, 1983, and 1987).

In the 1983–84 Serie A season, Zico scored 19 goals for Udinese, one fewer than top scorer Michel Platini, having played four fewer matches.

In 1987, two years after returning to Flamengo in 1985, he led the club to the Copa União title.


Playing Career

Full name            Arthur Antunes Coimbra

Date of birth       3 March 1953 (age 67)

Place of birth      Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Height   1.72 m (5 ft 8 in)

Playing position(s)   Attacking midfielder


Club Career


Years                    Team               Apps        (Gls)

1971–1983          Flamengo            212        (123)

1983–1985          Udinese                39          (22)

1985–1989          Flamengo              37          (12)

1991–1994          Kashima Antlers      46          (35)




  • Flamengo - Campeonato Carioca: 1972, 1974, 1978, 1979, 1979 (extra), 1981, 1986; Campeonato Brasileiro Série A: 1980, 1982, 1983; Copa União: 1987; Copa Libertadores: 1981; FIFA Club World Cup: 1981
  • Kashima Antlers - J.League Suntory Series: 1993

International Career

Brazil: 1976-1986


  • FIFA World Cup Third place: 1978
  • Copa América Third place: 1979


  • Bola de Ouro: 1974, 1982
  • Bola de Prata: 1974, 1975, 1977, 1982, 1987
  • Campeonato Carioca top scorer: 1975 (30 goals), 1977 (27 goals), 1978 (19 goals), 1979 (26 goals), 1982 (21 goals)
  • South American Footballer of the Year: 1977, 1981, 1982
  • South American Footballer of the Year Silver Ball: 1976, 1980
  • Brazilian season top scorer: 1976 (63 goals), 1977 (48 goals), 1979 (81 goals), 1980 (53 goals), 1982 (59 goals)
  • FIFA XI: 1979, 1982
  • Campeonato Brasileiro Série A top scorer: 1980 (21 goals), 1982 (21 goals)
  • Copa Libertadores Best Player: 1981
  • Copa Libertadores top scorer: 1981
  • Intercontinental Cup MVP Award: 1981
  • FIFA World Cup Bronze Boot: 1982
  • FIFA World Cup All-Star Team: 1982
  • World Soccer Player of the Year: 1983
  • Chevron Award: 1984
  • Serie A Player of the Year: 1984
  • FIFA Order of Merit: 1996
  • FIFA 100: 2004
  • Golden Foot Legends Award: 2006
  • Brazilian Football Museum Hall of Fame: 2010
  • IFFHS 3rd Best Brazilian Player of the 20th century
  • IFFHS 7th Best South American Player of the 20th century
  • IFFHS 14th Best Player of the 20th century
  • FIFA 7th Best Player of the 20th century (FIFA Magazine and Grand Jury vote)
  • France Football 9th Best Player of the 20th century
  • World Soccer Magazine 18th Greatest Player of the 20th century
  • Placed 16th Best Player of the 20th century
  • IFFHS Legends


  • Top scorer in Flamengo's history – 508 goals
  • Top scorer in Maracanã Stadium – 333 goals
  • Japan Soccer League record for goals scored in straight matches – 11 goals in 10 matches (1992)
  • Flamengo record holder – Top scorer in a single season – 81 goals (1979)


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