The four-time World Cup winner picked out his compatriots as the finest exponents of football ever seen, while singling out the Netherlands 1974 team as worthy of special praise
Speaking in an interview to mark the landmark anniversary, the former Brazil player and coach was asked which side had impressed him the most during his long career on and off the pitch. Zagallo had no hesitation in naming two teams in which he played a key role, as well as Johan Cruyff's iconic Netherlands outfit of 1974.
"It would be a secret but I am going to tell you. The Selecao which won the World Cup in 1958, and the one which lifted the trophy in 1970," he told SportTV from his home.
"Outside of Brazil, it was the 'Clockwork Orange', where everyone was on the move, every player was intelligent. I had the chance to see them play against Uruguay [in 1974] and I had that feeling.
"In today's football I think it is hard for a team to play in the same way as Holland of 1974."
Born in Maceio in the north east of Brazil, Zagallo went on to represent his nation 33 times as an inside forward between 1958 and 1964; and his time in the Canarinha coincided with the team's first two World Cup triumphs.
Further victories followed in 1970 and 1994 for the legendary figure, ensuring that he became the first man to win football's premier trophy as player, coach and assistant coach.