Socrates’ professional career began in 1974 when he joined Botafogo as an attacking midfielder. He made 57 appearances for the club over the next four years before joining Corinthians, where he played for six years, his longest stay at any club in his career. During his stint at the Sao Paulo club, he was part of the team that won the Campeanato Paulista in 1979, 1982 and 1984. He was also named South American Footballer of the Year in 1983. He left Corinthians for Fiorentina in 1984, after 297 appearances and 172 goals.
Socrates stayed at Fiorentina for one year before returning to Brazil in 1986 to play for Flamengo. He stayed in his home country for the rest of his career, joining Santos after Flamengo. His stints at these two clubs spanned from 1986 until 1989, but only included 16 appearances over this time.
On an international level, Socrates was capped 60 times for Brazil, making his debut in May 1979 and having his final appearance in June 1986. He scored 22 goals for his country and appeared in the 1982 and 1986 World Cups, captaining the side in ’82.
In 2004, he joined Garforth Town on a one month deal as player-coach. He only made one appearance for the club, coming on a substitute for twelve minutes against Tadcaster Albion.
Away from football, Socrates was also a doctor, earning his medical degree at the Faculdade de Medicina de Ribeirão Preto. More impressive than this accomplishment was the fact that he gained the degree while playing professionally at the same time. He also co-founded the Corinthians Democracy Movement during his time at the Sao Paulo club. This was in protest to the military government’s treatment of footballers at the time.
Known as a great intellectual, Socrates was also reknowned for his heavy smoking and drinking, habits which contributed to his decline in health following retirement. In August 2011 he was admitted to hospital with gastrointestinal bleeding. He died in December 2011 from septic shock.
Socrates is a member of the Brazilian Football Museum Hall Of Fame and was named by World Soccer as the 61st best player of the 20th century.
Socrates was inducted into the SportsMission Hall Of Fame on December 10th 2011.