Leônidas da Silva


This week it seems like Google is in a very sporty mood. Yesterday Google featured the legendary cricketer John Wisden on their Google homepage in England, and today Google is celebrating the legacy of soccer star Leônidas da Silva on several of their International Search Engine Homepages.

Leonidas da Silva

Leônidas da Silva was a Brazilian Soccer Player born in Rio de Janeiro in September 6, 1913. Today is exactly 100 years after his birth. He died in 2004 in São Paulo Brazil.

In today’s Google Doodle you can see a soccer player doing a trick to kick the goal. This is called the “Bicycle Trick” and Leônidas da Silva was famous for perfecting this type of play which became his signatory.

Wikipedia on Leônidas da Silva

Leônidas da Silva is regarded to be the inventor of the “Bicycle Kick”. He self-entitled himself as the inventor of it. Although some say it was invented by another Brazilian player: Petronilho de Brito, and that Leônidas da Silva only perfected it.

The first time Leônidas da Silva used this technique was on 24 April 1932, in a match between Bonsucesso and Carioca. In Flamengo he used this play only once, in 1939, against Argentinian team Independiente. The unusual volley gained huge fame at the time, propelling it into the football mainstream. For São Paulo he used the bicycle kick in two opportunities: the first one on 14 June 1942, in the defeat against Palestra Italia (current Palmeiras). Most famous of all, he used it on 13 November 1948, in the massive 8–0 victory over Juventus.

The play (and the goal) was captured in an image and is regarded to be the most famous picture of the player. In the 1938 World Cup, he also used the bicycle kick, which delighted the watching spectators. When he did it, the referee was so shocked by the volley that he was unsure whether it was within the rules or not.

In today’s Google Doodle of Leônidas da Silva you can see the basics of this kicking style in the Google Doodle Animation.