Sports - February 5, 2024

Fio Maravilha: A Journey Between Brazilian, American Fields and the Music

At the intersection of soccer and music lies the story of João Batista de Salles, known as Fio Maravilha, a masterpiece that transcends the playing field. Graduating from Flamengo, one of most traditional brazilian soccer clubs, Fio became an iconic figure from 1965 to 1973, scoring 84 goals in 294 games. His unique journey took him to the United States, where the striker played for New York Eagles, Monte Belo Panthers, and San Francisco Mercury.

The pinnacle of his career unfolded on January 15, 1972, during a friendly match between Flamengo and Benfica at Maracanã. Initially on the bench and on the verge of leaving the club, Fio took the field upon the fervent request of the fans. The result? A magnificent goal, dribbling past defenders and the goalkeeper, immortalized in the song “Filho Maravilha.”

The song, composed by Jorge Ben Jor after witnessing Fio’s brilliance, became an eternal anthem of Brazilian soccer and became so famous that it endend up gaining recognition even in the nights of Paris. Immortalized in Brazilian Popular Music (MPB) and being part of brazilian soccer history, the melody made its debut on the world stage at a festival, voiced by Maria Alcina. It garnered significant success with Alcina and Jorge, ranking among the most played tracks. However, in 1973, a copyright lawsuit against the composer became headline news.

At the time, the athlete was unaware of the unfolding events, as his lawyer and friend took unilateral action. A true mishmash of information led Jorge Ben Jor to sing the music with another name for many years.

The embarrassment surrounding the situation was eventually clarified, and the song returned to its original version.

Fio also left his mark on various Brazilian clubs, playing for Paysandu, Ceub, Desportiva, Avaí and São Cristóvão. In the early 1980s, after receiving a good offer, he moved to the United States where he played for the New York Eagles. However he played for the team for a half a season (four months) and after that he received an invitation to play for a semi-professional team in Los Angeles, the Monte Belo Panthers. His last team was the Mercury from San Francisco, where he decided to stay there even if he had to leave his career. Today, already retired, Fio Maravilha continues to be an emblematic figure embodying the fusion of soccer and music. His unorthodox style and unique skills transcended the field, making him a timeless icon in the rich tapestry of Brazilian sports. His story inspires not only sports enthusiasts but anyone who values the authenticity and cultural expression that Fio brought to the world of soccer.

Check out and listen the song composed by Jorge Ben Jor:

Title: Fio Maravilha
Music and Lyrics by Jorge Ben Jor

It was a goal from an angel, a true masterpiece
That the grateful crowd sang in this way
It was a goal from an angel, a true masterpiece
That the grateful crowd sang in this way
Fio Maravilha,
We like you
Fio Maravilha,
Score one more for us to see
And once again, he arrived
With inspiration
With much love, with emotion, with an explosion into the goal
Shaking the crowd at the 33rd minute
Of the second half
After making a celestial play into the goal
He exchanged passes, dribbled two defenders
Gave a touch, dribbled the goalkeeper
He only didn’t enter with the ball and all
Because he showed humility in the goal
It was a classy goal where he displayed
His cunning and his determination
It was a goal from an angel, a true masterpiece
That the grateful crowd sang in this way
Fio Maravilha,
We like you
Fio Maravilha,
Score one more for us to see.

Photomontage: By Jakson Santos

Images taken from Google.com

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