Friedenreich with the Brazilian national team
|Date of birth||18 July 1892|
|Place of birth||São Paulo, Brazil|
|Date of death||6 September 1969(aged 77)|
|Place of death||São Paulo, Brazil|
|Height||1.70 m (5 ft 7 in)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
Arthur Friedenreich (18 July 1892 – 6 September 1969) was a Brazilian professional footballer, who played as a forward. He was Nicknamed The Tiger, and was arguably the sport's first outstanding mixed race player. He played when Brazilian football was still amateur, which lasted until 1933. He is occasionally stated as one of the all-time top scorers in football history, although this is highly disputed.
Friedenreich was born in São Paulo to Oscar Friedenreich, a German businessman whose father immigrated to Brazil, and Mathilde, an African Brazilian washerwoman and the daughter of freed slaves. Friedenreich was the first professional football player of Afro-Brazilian origin, because at that time football was dominated by Whites, and Blacks were not accepted. He faced many barriers because of racism, and he could not attend the same places where white players were, such as swimming pools, tennis courts and parties. Also Friedenreich would find it hard to make connections and friends in the world of Brazilian football due to the color of his skin.
Friedenreich would play soccer from his early childhood and then on. His father was very supportive of his skills and really helped him on his path to the great player he would become. At first in his career was not very good and would not hit his peak performance until 1925. At some point in his life he married his wife named Jonas and together they had a son who they named after Friedenreich's father, Oscar. Both would out live Friedenreich and would be left with no money.
He started his career influenced by his father, playing for SC Germânia, a Brazilian football team composed of German immigrants. After playing with a succession of São Paulo club sides from 1910 onwards, Friedenreich made his debut with the national team in 1914. He played twenty-two internationals, including wins in the 1919 and 1922 editions of the South American Championship, scoring ten goals. On Brazil's 1925 tour of Europe, he was feted as the King of Football.
Friedenreich was very young when he developed his own style of play and was 17 when he first became a part of an elite club. After that, Friedenreich bounced around from club to club until he found a long lasting home with CA Paulistano, a top Brazilian club. Friedenreich would play for the club CA Paulistano for 12 years before the club disbanded. He would then join the club São Paulo da Floresta.
He wasn't picked by Brazil for the 1930 FIFA World Cup because there was a serious misunderstanding between the football Leagues of the States of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo; only players from Rio travelled. São Paulo stars, like him (who was 38 years old), Filó (who would be 1934 FIFA World Cup champion with Italy) and Feitiço, did not go to Uruguay. He would continue to grow older and play for less and less elite clubs. After 1934 he only played locally and competed in those clubs. The last team he played for before his retirement very late in his career in the year 1935, was the Flamengo team from Rio de Janeiro
In the 1930s, Brazilian football was beginning the process of professionalization, and in 1933 it became reality. Friedenreich was against the professionalization of football in the country. Outraged, he refused to continue playing football, and retired playing for Flamengo at 43 years old. His last match was against Fluminense on 21 July 1935 (the game ended in a 2–2 draw; he didn't score that day). He then started working in a liquor company and retired while there. When he retired Arthur got Parkinson's disease and the treatment took most of his money while trying to treat this disorder. Arthur would end up losing most if not all of his money to this disease. He lived in a house ceded by São Paulo football club until he died on 6 September 1969 at 77 years old.
There is a park in the Vila Alpina neighborhood, on the east side of São Paulo, with his name. The park, located at the beginning of Francisco Falconi avenue, is one the biggest of the region. Still on the east side of São Paulo, there is a street with his name. In Rio de Janeiro, there is a school with his name, located within the sports complex of Maracanã, near the main entrance, on the left of Bellini statue.
Friedenreich was born of Afro-Brazilian origin making him a person of mixed race. Brazil was one of the last countries to outlaw slavery in 1888. This was only four years before Friedenreich was born. Due to this Friedenreich felt the pressure of discrimination throughout his life and career. For instance, being denied playing in the 1921 South African championship. While Friedenreich never took on the role of a spokesman against discrimination, he did break many barriers by playing football in general. He also did not embrace his culture to an extreme, even using tactics to appear more white. He did this by dressing, acting, and behaving like many other white players.
The exact number of goals that Friedenreich has scored is unknown, due to lack of documentation. There is not a proper number that could be the number of goals he scored, only a few supposed numbers that have come up over the years. The most famous supposed number of goals is 1329, that Friedenreich would have scored in 1229 matches, however this supposition is false, was nothing more than a misunderstanding and lacking of criteria of the Brazilian sports journalist Adriano Neiva da Motta e Silva, known as De Vaney. This mess started with the father of Friedenreich, Oscar Friedenreich, that noted the goals his son scored since the beginning of his career in a little book, and in 1918 this assignment was given to the forward Mário de Andrada, a friend from Friedenreich, that followed his trajectory for more 17 years, recording details of matches until the end of Friedenreich career. And in 1962, Mário de Andrada said to De Vaney he had the files of all Friedenreich matches, that would prove he scored 1229 goals in 1329 matches, however Andrada died before showing the files to De Vaney. Even without proving these files, De Vaney decided to published them, but wrongly he reversed the numbers, becoming 1329 goals scored in 1239 matches. This statistic, however, gained consistency, and ended up circulating around the world.
Between 1909 and 1935
As the wrong statistic of the 1329 goals in 1229 matches circulated the world, Alexandre da Costa checked the files of all Friedenreich games using at least two newspapers, "Correio Paulistano" and "O Estado de S. Paulo", and ended up with two surprising numbers: 554 goals in 561 matches. In "Fried Versus Pelé"(Orlando Duarte e Severino Filho), published weeks later of "O Tigre do Futebol", the journalist Severino Filho ends up with another numbers: 558 goals in 562 matches. "There isn't statistical survey that can't be improved", writes the author of "O Tigre do Futebol", and he is right. Even today, with the resources available, the discrepancies proceed by three facts: the first one is because many of the matches that were found did not have the score and consequently who scored the goals, the second one is that in a clearly amateur football of the time, the matches were, sometimes, daily, with a different duration, and the third one is that Friedenreich played a lot of "combined" matches of two or more teams, something common at the time, and many of those matches do not have the record of the score and who scored the goals.
He was top scorer of the Liga Paulista in the following years:
Because of the internal quarrels and the ensuing split of the league into the LPF and APEA he had to share the top scorer title with the following players in the following years: