Name: TELÊ SANTANA da Silva

Born: July 26th 1931, Itabirito, Brazil

Best Achievements

1992 and 1993 – Libertadores Cup (São Paulo)

1992 and 1993 – Intercontinental Cup (São Paulo)

1971 – Brazilian League Champion (Atl. Mineiro)

1991 – Brazilian League Champion (São Paulo)


Telê Santana had a peculiar career, with a strong beginning, a frustrating but outstanding middle way, and a brilliant end for more than 25 years at high level. He was a quality player that conquered a very respectable status at Fluminense, the club where he started his coaching career. He won a regional title there, the Carioca Championship in his first year, but moved to Atlético Mineiro after short time, and he won the Brazilian title with them, a great achievement. After this he entered within a period with less success, changing clubs but winning just a regional trophy with Grémio in 1977. Then he was invited to become Brazil National team coach 1979 and he lead the team during the next two world cups (1982 and 1986). It´s amazing that the page of his career that it´s best well known worldwide is the 1982 World Cup that he lost in a dramatic way to Paolo Rossi´s Italy. Brazil had a lots of high profile players at the time, as usual and he build an attacking tactic model that conquered the world and could integrate and get good performances from Zico, Socrates, Falcão and Cerezo (the magic square). With some defensive weaknesses, the team was not balanced enough to win the Cup, but he created a treasure to the football fans that get some joy and inspiration when they remember the five games from that team during the tournament. He deserved a 2nd and he lead again the national team at 1986 World Cup, but a dramatic penalty shootout ended Telê glory hopes again against Platini´s France. But the best was yet to come…he was appointed São Paulo coach in 1990 and the following years were epic with the club becoming number one in the world for two consecutive years. With a 4-2-2-2 tactic with high ball possession, Raí as the leader, first he won the Brazilian Championship (1991), then the Libertadores Cup (1992) and finally the Intercontinental Cup (1992) against the powerful Barcelona. Next year (1993) he won all the trophies again, including the South America Recopa! The European victim now, was AC Milan, in a 3-2 epic game. What a finish to his career, shortened by health problems a couple of years after this. The Telê career had a fantastic start with a national championship in 1971 and a brilliant end, two decades after, in 1991, with another national championship and all the continental and international trophies. In the middle of the career, the frustrating but spectacular world cup campaigns, that made history also. He is one of the greatest, winning or losing he did something special of his football journey with a positive attitude to the game, called “O Jogo Bonito”.

Personal Memories

I was too young during the 1982 World Cup, but I remember seeing the 1986 one and the notion of respect about Telê and Brazil team was immense. But the São Paulo early 90s team is my best memory from this great manager. What a mystique and strength that these team had, with so many players appearing to the football world, Raí, Cafú, Palhinha. As a person that wants to know more about the football history, of course I´ve seen the 1982 World Cup greatest games and moments and I can say I admire Telê for the amazing attacking football moments that his 1982 Brazil team produced.   Famous Quotes I’d rather lose the game than tell my team to foul, kick the opponents or win with an illegitimate goal” “Football is art, it’s enjoyment and it’s not about hoofing the ball upfield.”


Always remembered by Brazilian fans like the all time National Team reference coach, his fame and name is bigger and popular than other coaches that won the cup like Parreira or Zagalo. Cafu or Raí, World Cup Champions said about him “He was a great man, a great friend and a father-like figure, who kept giving us great advice” – Cafu “He represented a watershed in my career and made me see that I could give a lot more, that I needed ambition to bring out the best in me” – Raí


Author: Rui Marques

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