On 15 June 1983 – 38 years ago today – Arthur Antunes Zico joined Udinese.
Widely considered to be the best player in the world at the time, Zico was met by 5,000 fans at the airport. His plane touched down at 13:52 exactly – a moment greeted with a roar from the Udinese faithful.
Zico travelled to Udine – along with his wife, several journalists and a few fans – on a coach organised by Udinese, checking into the Là di Moret, where a further thousand Udinese fans were waiting for him.
Two days later, Zico made his Udinese debut in a friendly against Flamengo, his former team, coming on in the 40th minute in place of Ivica Surjak – who was sold by Udinese to make space for Zico. The debut lasted all of five minutes, but that was more than enough to satisfy the 40,000-strong crowd at the Friuli.
The signing of Zico was later blocked by FIGC, prompting the Udinese fans to take to the streets in Udine on 4 July to protest the decision. Eventually, the Italian National Olympic Committee ruled in favour of Udinese and the dream became a reality.
A massive 26,611 fans would go on to buy season tickets that year, dreaming of a Scudetto push now that the Brazilian magician was – officially – theirs.