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Nílton Santos

Nilton Santos
Personal information
Full nameNílton Reis dos Santos
Date of birth16 May 1925(age 91)
Place of birthRio de Janeiro, Brazil
Height1.80 m
Playing positionLeft back

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Nílton Reis dos Santos (born 16 May 1925) is a Brazilian former association footballer who played defender. Born in Rio de Janeiro, he was a pioneering left back, being one of first full backs to participate in the offensive game.

He was called "The Encyclopedia" because of his knowledge of the sport of football. He was world class both at defending and attacking and possessed very good technique. Nílton was a key player in defence during the 1954, 1958 and 1962 World Cup finals (he was also in the Brazilian squad for the 1950 finals, but made no appearances) and became famous for scoring a magnificent goal in the 1958 tournament when Brazil played Austria. Dribbling his way through the whole field, he finished with a superb shot, driving his coach Vicente Feola crazy (he kept on insisting for Nílton to retreat to the defensive field, but was ignored until the goal was scored).

Pelé named him in his "top 125 greatest living footballers" in March 2004.

Nílton Santos played for only 2 teams in his professional career; Botafogo de Futebol e Regatas and the Brazilian national team collecting 75 caps and scoring 3 goals; he is regarded as the best left wingback in the history of the game.

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