Back in the 1980s, when I was working for my PhD at the European University Institute in Fiesole, I would occasionally get to go to Fiorentina‘s Campo di Marte stadium. With the likes of blonde genius Giancarlo Antognoni playing, Pontello’s purple shirts were an attractive if mercurial team and it was in this period that they signed the Brazilian captain, Socrates, who had so impressed in the 1982 World Cup (where Brazil were put out 3-2 by Italy in a memorable quarter final where Paolo Rossi scored a hatrick), for the 1984/85 season. Socrates was something special. He was a doctor of medecine and he smoked (notoriously, including at half-time) and drank. For as much as the Florentines admired his footballing intelligence they were scandalised by his lack of attention to physical perfection. (He couldn’t understand why smoking on the team bus was such a big deal, for example.) We only saw flashes of his brilliance during his year in Florence (six goals in twenty-five appearances) and yet he was undoubtedly one of the greatest midfield players of all time. As Paolo Rossi aptly put it, despite his strength and brilliance, Socrates seemed like a player from another, amateur, era and now, sadly, he is gone.