Jair Ventura Filha, better known as Jairzinho, was born in the northern Rio suburb of Duque de Caxias on Christmas Day in 1944.
The coaches quickly spotted his prodigious speed and strength on the ball at Botafogo, where he signed as an amateur in 1961 at sixteen.
He turned professional shortly after winning a gold medal for Brazil’s national team in the 1963 Pan-American Games.
Little Jair, The The Hurricane
At Botafogo, he was first called Jairzinho, ‘little Jair.’ The name distinguished him from the more famous international Jair da Rosa Pinto of Portuguesa.
On the terraces of Maracana stadium, he won his distinctive nickname furacao, ‘The Hurricane.’
With Gerson, Tostao, and Brito, Jairzinho had been one of the new generations to witness the humiliation of Goodison Park firsthand.
He played in all three matches in England in 1966 but offered little or no evidence of the greatness to come.
By 1970, however, his star was in the ascendant. He had scored freely in the eliminators and developed a good understanding with Gerson and Pele.
Only Rogerio offered a severe threat to his position on the right wing. But, by the final warm-up in Rio against Austria, his rival’s indifferent form and injury problems had effectively ended his challenge.
Jairzinho arrived in Mexico determined to make amends for 1966. He was one of the players to benefit most from the Cooper Tests and Captain Coutinho’s disciplinarian training regime.
All Round Athlete
Photographs of a shirtless Jairzinho at the training camps reveal a heavily muscled upper body and a powerfully built all-around athlete.
He was comfortably the quickest of the 22-man squad over 50 metres in the sprinting tests.
From the opening match against the Czechs, the quiet man of the squad did his talking on the pitch.
Jairzinho scored twice, first collecting a Gerson probe, flicking the ball over Viktor’s head before volleying extravagantly home, then crowning an irresistible, barnstorming run down the right with a perfectly placed shot inside the right-hand post.
From then on, he could not lose the goalscoring habit.
He scored against England and Romania in the group matches and Peru in the quarter-final.
In Gerson’s absence, Rivellino and Paulo Cezar had taken over the provider role.
Both provided passes that gave him the half-a-yard headstart he required to skin defenses alive. Only Bobby Moore, with the most perfectly timed tackle of the tournament, worked out a way of curbing him.
Jairzinho Was Known For His Power And Pace
Yet there was much more to Jairzinho’s game than sheer bullish power and pace. No one suffered more from the Uruguayan tackling in the semi-final.
It was a measure of the restraint Zagalo had instilled in him that he failed to react once.
Instead, he replied in the best manner possible, latching on to an impeccable through ball from Tostao to outrun Mujica and score the decisive goal in the match.
His contribution to the 1970 World Cup Final illustrated his abilities without the ball.
Against Italy, Jairzinho’s most compelling work was drawing his man-marker Facchetti out of position in the middle of the soccer field. Carlos Alberto wreaked carnage in his wake.
The reward for his selflessness came in the seventieth minute. As he forced Pele’s knock-down over the line, Jairzinho’s place in history was assured.
No player before or since has matched the flying furacao’s record of scoring in every World Cup finals stage match. In the cat-and-mouse climate of modern World Cups, it is hard to see how anyone ever will.
Jairzinho Facts And Figures
Full Name: Jair Ventura Filho
Birthplace: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
- Botafogo 1961–1974
- Marseille 1974–1975
- Kaizer Chiefs 1975
- Cruzeiro 1976
- Portuguesa 1977
- Noroeste 1978–1979
- Fast Club 1979
- Jorge Wilstermann 1980–1981
- Botafogo 1981–1982
National Team Career:
- Brazil National Team 1964–1982 (81 appearances, 33 goals)
- Al-Wehda 1988–1989
- Kalamata 1997–1998
- Gabon National Team 2003–2005
- 1961, 1962, 1967, and 1968: Campeonato Carioca Champions
- 1964 and 1966: Torneio Rio – Sao Paulo
- 1967, 1968,and 1970: Torneio de Caracas
- 1968: Taca Brasil
- 1976: Copa Libertadores
Brazil National Team
- 1970: FIFA World Cup Silver Boot
- 1970: FIFA World Cup All-Star Team
- Brazilian Football Museum Hall of Fame
Rhett is an Australian-born, globe trotter who is a UEFA ‘A’ Licence Soccer Coach. With his family, he has traveled and coached soccer in more than 30 countries, while attending World Cups, European Championships, and some of the biggest local derbies in the world!