Debut. One steps down, another steps in. Marcos Evangelista de Morais debuted in 1989.
We know him as Cafu and he made records, but that was in the unknown future in 1989, when he was made his shaky start with Sao Paulo. He was both like and unlike Socrates and not because of the position he played: unlike Socrates, Cafu was not highly educated boy from middle-class family, but the typical Brazilian story – a poor boy from the favela, growing up surrounded by drugs and crime, not by books of the Greek philosophers. One of six children, Cafu was born on June 7, 1970 and raised in the Sao Paulo’s Jardim Irene favela and pretty much the only escape from impoverished life was football. But it was not easy… Cafu was rejected by youth teams of Corinthians, Palmeiras, Santos, Atletico Mineiro, Portuguesa… and that was perhaps the reason he was involved with futsal for two years. Rejection seemed to be his fate even after Sao Paulo eventually took him and he made the youth squad winning Copa Sao Paulo – he was noticed, invited to the first team, and… placed on the bench in 1988. As the number on his shorts shows, Cafu was a winger at the time. As winger, he was found unsatisfying – and his chances of playing were almost zero. But Tele Santana coached Sao Paulo at the time, and that was sheer luck – the original problems for Cafu were not lack of skill, but physicality and endurance. Cafu, however, responded with somewhat un-Brazilian toughness and determination – he put big effort in physical preparation, eventually reaching a point that his work output on the field was impossible to ignore. Tele Santana considered that and suggested move from winger first ti midfield and shortly after to right full-back position. Cafu agreed and everything changed. Not right away, but still somewhat suddenly – in 1988 Cafu was firm reserve with no chance to get more than occasional game or two as substitute. 1989 was still like that at first, but… in 1990 Cafu was invited to the Brazilian national team. Since 1990 and what followed was unknown in 1989, the year only records the difficult debut of Cafu. Like Socrates, he was not recognized at once and his debut at 19 years of age was not instant spark of emerging mega-star.
Unlike Socrates, the boy form the favela worked so hard, he reached the national team in less than an year after his professional debut. And soon number 11 will be replaced for good.