Lifestyle & Belief

Brazilian goalkeeper Felix dies at 74


A Haitian man sells flags of Brazil, one of the countries taking part in the World Cup soccer in South Africa on June 10, 2010 in the streets of Petion-ville, Haiti.


Thony Belizaire

SÃO PAULO, Brazil — Brazil's 1970 World Cup-winning goalkeeper Felix died of complications from emphysema on Friday. He was 74.

Felix Mieli Venerando was born in Caratinga, Minas Gerais, and was on team Brazil from 1965 to 1970, reported Agence France-Presse. He played alongside Pele when his country beat Italy 4-1 in the 1970 World Cup final in Mexico City.

Captain of the winning team Carlos Alberto, who also scored a famous goal in the final, said Felix had been struggling with his health for a while.

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"He smoked a lot. The other day, I was aware he was not well," Alberto told AFP. "I am very sorry. It was thanks to him we won the title in Mexico."

According to Reuters, Felix played in all six of Brazil's matches in the 1970 tournament and made several key saves for a team considered to be the greatest of all time. Some fans considered him the weak link in the team, but his teammates insisted they could not have won the tournament without him.

Felix played for Portuguesa and Juventus during his career, but his main club was Rio de Janeiro's Fluminense, reported the Associated Press. The Brazilian soccer federation said there would be a minute of silence in honor of Felix before every Brazilian league match this weekend.