Families in Football: Raí and Sócrates

Raí and Sócrates

Welcome to Last Word on Football’s ‘Families in Football’ series. Over the next few weeks, we take a look at siblings, cousins and even parents and children that have played the beautiful game. Some have played cup finals together while others have been on opposing sides. Today, we focus on Brazilian brothers, Raí and Sócrates.

Families in Football: Raí and Sócrates


One of Brazil’s most talented footballers in the early 1980s, Sócrates enjoyed a hugely successful career in the game.

He began his professional career in 1974 for Botafogo-SP, where the attacking midfielder scored 35 times from 99 appearances. He also won the Torneio Vicente Feola during his time at the Estádio Santa Cruz.

In 1978, he left to join Corinthians. He scored 172 in 297 matches for Timão and won the Campeonato Paulista (Brazilian First Division) three times.

It was during his time with Corinthians that he made his Brazil debut. He went on to earn 60 caps for Seleção, scoring 22 times, and captaining his country in the 1982 World Cup. He also came runner up in the 1983 Copa America before being named South American Player of the Year in the same summer. Sócrates also achieved third place at the same tournament four years earlier.

In 1984, Sócrates moved to Italy and joined Fiorentina. He spent one season in Florence before returning to Brazil to join Flamengo. He won the Taça Rio and Campeonato Carioca in 1986 before switching to Santos. He returned to Botafogo-SP and retired shortly after.

Sócrates captained arguably the greatest ever Brazil side that failed to win the World Cup and it was the one trophy that his younger sibling did manage to secure some years later.


Younger brother to Sócrates, fellow attacking midfielder Raí also enjoyed a hugely successful career and even went one better on the international stage by winning the 1994 World Cup.

Like his brother, he began his career at Botafogo-SP in Brazil but he made his name when he transferred to Sao Paolo in 1987.

Despite only netting once during his first season with Tricolor Paulista, he scored an impressive 28 times as Sao Paolo won the regional Campeonato Paulista and the National Championship.

The following year, Raí was part of the club’s first-ever Copa Libertadores triumph before beating Barcelona in the Intercontinental Cup, where he scored both goals In a 2-1 victory. This form propelled him and he was named the 1992 South American Footballer of the Year.

The following season, the midfielder helped Sao Paolo regain the Copa Libertadores before leaving Brazil to join Paris Saint-Germain in 1993.

His duration in France was littered with success, both at club and international level. He won the Division 1 title, the Coupe de France and the Coupe de la Ligue twice along with the Tropée des Champions and UEFA Cup Winners Cup. He also lifted the World Cup with Brazil in 1994 but didn’t feature in the knockout rounds.

He returned to Sao Paolo and stayed for two seasons before retiring in 2000.

Interesting Facts

Former Brazilian footballer Pelé named Sócrates in the FIFA 100 list of the world’s greatest living players in 2004. He was also named as one of the 100 best footballers in history by World Soccer.

During his playing career, Sócrates earned a degree to become a physician while he was still playing football. Upon his retirement, he practised medicine in Ribeirão Preto.

There is a myth that Sócrates studied medicine in Dublin and, at the same time, won a Sigerson Cup for University College Dublin. However, the story has been denied by the Dublin college despite some newspapers publishing the story.

In 2004, more than a decade after retiring, Sócrates joined Northern Counties East Football League side Garforth Town on a one-month player-coach deal. The then 50-year-old made one appearance, coming on as a substitute against Tadcaster Albion.

Main Photo

Embed from Getty Images