The 1958 World Cup-winning captain, credited for beginning the trend of leaders raising the trophy above their heads, has passed away at the age of 83Brazil is mourning the loss of its first ever World Cup-winning captain following the passing of Hilderaldo Bellini at the age of 83.
Bellini, a tough-tackling central defender, led the Selecao to glory in Sweden and is credited with beginning the tradition of captains raising the trophy aloft in triumph.
His death was confirmed by Sao Paulo hospital Nove de Julho on Thursday evening and has been attributed to complications following a heart attack. CBF have confirmed that Bellini will be buried in his home town of Itapira on Friday.
Bellini was initially called up to the Brazil squad as a reserve for the 1957 South American Championship and never expected it would be the first step on the road to World Cup glory.
He remained back-up for Edson throughout the competition but was handed a chance to impress in a couple of World Cup qualifiers against Peru and, much to his surprise, not only retained his place but became captain of the side in Sweden.
A humble man and one-time owner of a ladies shoe shop in Rio, Bellini once said that few would think of him as a footballer if they were to meet him off the field. He would lose his place and the captain's armband to Mauro Ramos for the 1962 World Cup in Chile.
“Mauro was chosen because he has become a better player than myself,” said Bellini in 1963, in words that capture his humility and class. “The Chile experience remained a great one for me. It is just as worthy to be a whole-hearted supporter from the sidelines, as to appear on the field of play.”
Bellini was capped 51 times by Brazil and also appeared at the 1966 World Cup in England. He leaves behind his wife of 42 years, Giselda, and their children Carla and Junior.