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“It’s not just about the game itself,” Socrates said before the competition began. “Before anything, (football) is a psychological battle, the human aspect plays a significant role.”

Socrates, whose full name is Socrates Brasileiro Sampaio de Souza Vieira de Oliveira, also played for Flamengo and Santos.

Socrates was included in FIFA’s list of the best 125 living soccer players in the world, a list compiled by countryman Pele. Socrates played 63 matches with the national team, scoring 25 goals.

He was known for his great vision on the field. Always clever with the ball at his feet, his trademark move was the back-heel pass, and he set up and scored many goals with it throughout his career.

Socrates briefly coached and played for Garforth Town in England in 2004.

Socrates’ younger brother Rai was another great Brazilian midfielder, and he helped Brazil win the 1994 World Cup in the United States.

Funeral services will take place in his home town of Ribeirao Preto, in the interior of Sao Paulo state.

He is survived by his wife and six children.

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Associated Press sports writer Andrew Dampf in Rome contributed to this report.

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Tales Azzoni can be followed at http://twitter.com/tazzoni