ESPN explores ‘The Myth of Garrincha’ (2014)

ESPN 30 for 30 logo (2014)

The Myth of Garrincha is a 22 minute episode in ESPN’s 30 for 30 Soccer Stories, currently available on ESPN+. Garrincha was Pelé’s peer, and as long as they were on the field together, Brazil never lost a World Cup.

The documentary shows how Garrincha was extremely well-loved by the Brazilian people and his second wife, samba singer Elza Soares. He suffered some backlash after he left his first wife and their 8 daughters to marry Soares. But even after driving drunk, killing Soare’s mother in the accident, Soare and the country stuck by him. He was, however, a life-long alcoholic who died penniless at age 49, some 5 years after Soares left him. The documentary has video demonstrating the impact of his funeral.

The docudrama Garrincha, Estrella Solitária covers much of the same material but with more sex and more flare. If you only have 22 minutes to learn about Garrincha, then the documentary might be the easiest way to go, and you will see video footage that demonstrates his famous feints and his handsome visage. 

However, the FIFA DVD set Gold Stars is the only place where I was able to clearly see the difference in Garrincha’s leg lengths. It is unbelievable to me that he could run, feint, kick and do all the things he did with that deformity.

Garrincha’s footballing legacy continues

I last researched Garrincha back in 2012, so since then there have been reports about his surviving son, reported to be Ulf Lindberg, who is half-Swedish and grew up there in an adoptive family. Ulf has a footballer son who played on Sweden’s U19 team.

6 Soccer Movie Mom Rating = 6