Four WC winners inducted into Mexico’s football Hall of Fame

Pachuca (Mexico): Four players who were part of World Cup-winning teams — Rivellino, Cafu, Carlos Salvador Bilardo and Juan Alberto Schiaffino — are among the new inductees into Mexico’s football Hall of Fame.

Rivellino, a member of the Brazilian team that won the 1970 World Cup in Mexico, and Cafu, world champion in both 1994 and 2002, both travelled to this central Mexican city to receive their honours, reports Efe.

Colleagues of the 80-year-old Bilardo, who coached Argentina to the World Cup title in 1986 but could not attend for health reasons, and the late Schiaffino (1925-2002), a midfielder who helped lead Uruguay to its second World Cup triumph in 1950, hailed their contributions to the sport during Tuesday’s ceremony.

“I feel honoured to be a part of such a select group. I’m receiving this honour while I’m still alive, and that’s wonderful. I feel happy because I feel at home in Mexico and have fond memories of how Mexicans treated Brazil in Guadalajara and Mexico City during the 1970 World Cup,” the 72-year-old Rivellino said.

The 48-year-old Cafu, the most internationally capped Brazilian player of all time and the only soccer player in history to play in three consecutive World Cup finals, said he was grateful to be among the eighth class of inductees.

Other inductees on Tuesday were Roberto Baggio, a prolific goal scorer for Juventus in the early 1990s and a key member of Italy’s national team for more than a decade.

Silvia Neid, who coached the German women’s soccer team to the gold medal at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro; and Brazilian Arlindo Dos Santos Cruz, who scored the first goal in the history of Mexico City’s Estadio Azteca, also were part of the eighth class of Hall of Fame inductees.

Among the Mexicans honoured in this eighth induction ceremony were Aaron Padilla Gutierrez, who competed for El Tri at the 1966 and 1970 World Cups; Fernando Bustos, who was part of the Mexican squad that finished fourth at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City; and Miguel Mejia Baron, who coached Mexico at the 1994 World Cup.

Previous inductees into the soccer Hall of Fame in Pachuca, a place to recognize outstanding achievement in the sport by global and domestic football figures, include legends such as Pele, Diego Maradona, Lev Yashin and Johan Cruyff.

Pachuca is considered the cradle of Mexican soccer because the country’s first club was founded there in 1901.