Hilderaldo Bellini is the World Cup icon whose trophy celebration has influenced everyone from Jordan Henderson at Liverpool to Sergio Ramos at Real Madrid

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Hilderaldo Bellini is the World Cup icon whose trophy celebration has influenced everyone from Jordan Henderson at Liverpool to Sergio Ramos at Real Madrid

Whatever the sport, this lot changed the game and here, talkSPORT.com looks at those pioneering men and women every week. Here, it is Brazil captain Hilderaldo Luiz Bellini, whose iconic celebration offered something different.

It’s trophy season – at least it should be – with May and June usually the time of year when fans make the trip to Wembley and captains have the chance to lift silverware.

A new show on talkSPORT, ‘Re-commentated’ is even reliving the great 2006 FA Cup clash – dubbed ‘The Gerrard final’ on 23 May from 5pm on what would have been FA Cup final day.

A statue of Bellini in his famous pose can be found outside the iconic Maracana stadium in Rio

An uncompromising centre-half on the pitch and a gent off it, the 1958 World Cup skipper was the first player to start the tradition of lifting a trophy above your head – a gesture thought to be a tad extravagant back then.

Author Alex Bellos, in his book, Futebol, suggested the game changing celebration was the result of some short photographers.

Brazil’s snappers, vying for the best picture with their Swedish counterparts, are said to have shouted ‘Lift it higher’ creating the iconic photograph that has since been repeated every year since in an array of sporting victories.

Brazil won the first of their five World Cups in 1958 with Bellini as captain and a 17-year-old Pele (centre, bottom row) in attack

Brazil won the first of their five World Cups in 1958 with Bellini as captain and a 17-year-old Pele (centre, bottom row) in attack

When he died in 2014 at the age of 83 from complications of a heart attack, Brazil’s president at the time, Dilma Rousseff wrote on Twitter: “Bellini forever won a place in the heart of every Brazilian by lifting the Cup with both hands.”

A statue of him holding the Jules Rimet trophy above his head stands outside the Maracana.

Bellini may not have been kind to the attackers who tried to take him on, but his personality provided help to his side’s blossoming talents such as a teenage Pele.

The man known as the greatest to ever play, was Bellini’s teammate in 1958 and said the captain had given him ‘much guidance’.

“I was 17 years old, was too young and everything was new to me. It is a great loss for Brazilian football,” he said.


Ms Rousseff said Brazil had lost an ‘icon of the strength of Brazilians in overcoming adversity’.

He didn’t’ receive his first international cap until he was 26, but he was the backbone to keeping his teammates – who included Garrincha, Pele and Djalma – calm when Sweden took the lead in the final and Brazil scored four unanswered goals in an eventual 5-2 win.

Bellini’s wife, Giselda, said he deserved ‘to be remembered for his humility’.

This is perhaps best conveyed by the story of him being dropped by his country four years later in 1962 and replaced by Mauro.

Team captains in many sport, such as Steven Gerrard, pictured here lifting the 2006 FA Cup, have all celebrated in the same way

Team captains in many sport, such as Steven Gerrard, pictured here lifting the 2006 FA Cup, have all celebrated in the same way

It is said days before the opening World Cup game against Mexico, Mauro made his case to start in his Bellini’s place.

He got his wish and was even given the armband.

And when word reached the press, they rushed to get Bellini’s reaction, but there was no bitterness, as Sam Walker explains in The Captain Class: The Hidden Force Behind the World’s Greatest Teams. “It’s fair. Now it’s Mauro’s turn,” Bellini responded.

So when Jordan Henderson is eventually handed the Premier League trophy – and hoists it above his head in front of absolutely nobody – he will be following a tradition stretching back 62 years.


Saturday 23 May would have been FA Cup final day, so talkSPORT – from 5pm – looks back at one of the greatest Wembley clashes of the modern era between Liverpool and West Ham in a new show called ‘Re-commentated’ with former club players Dean Ashton and Danny Murphy




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