Son of Brazilian international Domingos da Guia, Ademir da Guia was one of Brazil’s most talented midfielders in the 1960s and 1970s, although he never received as much international recognition as his abilities deserved. Starting his career with Rio side Bangu, it was his move to Palmeiras in 1961 that led to one of the most successful playing careers with one club of any player in the world.
In a sixteen year spell with Palmeiras, Ademir da Guia played an astonishing club record 866 senior games and scored more than 150 goals. Alongside this remarkable record of service, he won numerous domestic honours. Five São Paulo State Championships were won, alongside one Brazilian Cup. Palmeiras also enjoyed two victories in the Torneio Roberto Gomes Pedrosa, a forerunner to the Brazilian National Championship, and two victories in the official National Championship in 1972 and 1973.
Despite the domestic success, Ademir da Guia’s international career did not take off. Having played a handful of internationals in the mid-1960s, he dropped out of favour and missed out on the World Cup success in 1970. Forcing his way back into the team in the 1970s, he made the World Cup squad in 1974 as Brazil tried to defend their title, but was left on the bench until Brazil had lost their grip on the trophy. His only World Cup appearance came in the Third Place Play-Off defeat to Poland, his last appearance for the national team.
Ademir da Guia retired from football in 1977, aged 35, and is recognised as Palmeiras’ most successful player of all time. After several years away from the game, he returned to Palmeiras to coach their youth team. He did not go on to a senior coaching career, working as a union representative for professional athletes in São Paulo before being elected on to São Paulo council in 2004.