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December 15, 1956: Ronaldo Boscoli interviews Zezé Moreira

Author: Isaque Argolo | Creation Date: 2021-10-04 17:15:05

Data providers: Isaque Argolo.
Yesterday's Zezé, today's Zezé
Ronaldo Boscoli | 15/12/1956

Zezé started at E.C. Brasil — Being virile and being rude — He was once an americano and belonged to Flamengo — "I wasn't champion of Rio de Janeiro but I was champion of Brazil" — Why he became a coach — Zone marking as it is — Revolution in Brazilian football — "The titles speak for me" — The greatest players in the world.

Alfredo Moreira Júnior is a lesser-known name than Zezé Moreira. Even though it belongs to the same person. Zezé is one of the most contested personalities in the sport, without an effective reason for that. Born with the fate of the man of whom people speak badly Zezé Moreira began his sporting career at Esporte Clube Brasil. He was never an ace, nor was he ever a bad player. He was characterized by virility, "and already at that time they said I was a "horse", I challenge anyone pointing me to a professional companion, who was useless for me. I used this way of playing, because it was innate in me. But I was always loyal". If Zezé's football was not portentous, let's not discuss it, but the fact is that Esporte Clube Brasil was a stage he surpassed, Zezé belonged to América and played for Flamengo before moving to the club that would be the club his heart: Botafogo.
— Many titles as a Botafogo footballer?
Zezé: No. Botafogo's many achievements date back to the split. When I joined General Severiano, the pacification of the sport in Rio was born, and Botafogo never had a chance. In fact, I never managed to get a title as a metropolitan champion. Defending the Rio scratch I won a Brazilian championship, a feat that I register as the greatest joy of my career as an athlete.
— And why did you decide to be a coach?
Zezé: Having chosen the sport by profession and feeling that my time was passing, I decided to dedicate myself to preparing teams. Dori Krueschner — Izidor Kürschner — really excited me. I considered him a wonder in terms of systems. Still playing, I directed Botafogo's secondary teams and I did well. It was a stimulus. I continued studying. I had won two championships when I was invited to command the “squad” of General Severiano in 48. After so many years, Botafogo won this championship.
— And how was it chosen for its systematization: marking by zone?
Zezé: A question of points of view. Nothing contradicted it and I considered many of its advantages. I'm not the one talking, it's the numbers. I directed the Brazil national team twenty-odd times. I have suffered no more than six defeats. And it should be noted that playing against Uruguay in a neutral field, facing Paraguay and other great teams. I got Brazil the Pan-American title. I was champion for Botafogo and Fluminense (51), in addition to having won the Copa Rio for Álvaro Chaves.
— And why did you fail in Botafogo, when you returned to the alvinegra hosts?
Zezé: Nelson Cintra was a man who honored me. With his departure and consequent death I lost the strength I had. And nobody can work in an atmosphere of discontent. They undermined the morale of my followers, the rest followed. I have no complaints. Now, with a cool head, I forget the many injustices that have been done to me. Botafogo is a difficult club, notice how many coaches have been there.
— Do you believe that you have revolutionized Brazilian football?
Zezé: No, because it wasn't me who invented zone marking. I took it from Krueschner — Izidor Kürschner — and adapted it. I guarantee, however, the retreat of the central back (stopper) and the use of the wingers as a connection vehicle were innovations that the system imposed on football. They fought me when I created this special mission for Telê. What are Zagallo, Ferreira and others doing today?
— Even so fought back, would you go back to being a coach?
Zezé: As long as it's on an advantageous basis, yes.
— And would you still adopt zone marking?
Zezé: It would be impossible to solve at once, but I think so. About its rigidity, I guarantee it doesn't exist. It's a variable system, no one has an absolutely restricted function, that much I know, others say yes, what am I going to do?
— And which are the ideal players for your system?
Zezé: Every player considered an ace plays in any system.
— And who are the biggest players you've seen play?
Zezé: I can't even count. Among our players I cite Nilo Murtinho Braga, Romeu, Didi, Leônidas da Silva, Domingos, Julinho, Martim and many others. Among the foreigners I cite Puskás, Czibor, Buzánszky, Di Stéfano and others.
Zezé Moreira is calm, much fatter and still believing in his discussed system. He has not given up on football, he is waiting (he says he has no worries) for an invitation compatible with his personal interests. He will come back then.