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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Ex-Brazil star Garrincha's remains missing at Rio de Janeiro cemetery

Garrincha won two World Cups with Brazil, in 1958 and 1962.

The remains of legendary Brazil winger Garrincha have gone missing, according to his family and local authorities.

The two-time World Cup winner who formed an unbeatable partnership with Pele died in 1983 and was buried in Mage's Raiz da Serra Cemetary, located in the Baixada Fluminense region of Rio de Janeiro.

However, on Tuesday, the city government and Garrincha's relatives confirmed that the former Botafogo star's remains could not be found, with cemetery officials theorising they were lost during an exhumation.

"From what we have studied, there is no certainty that he is buried," cemetery director Priscila Liberio told Brazil's O Globo. "We have information that the body was exhumed and taken to a niche [cemetery drawer], but there is no document to prove this."

There are two grave sites with the name Garrincha, which means "Little Wren," at the Raiz da Serra Cemetary. One is at the lower part of the ground, where football star was originally buried. The other is some 200 metres away, on higher ground.

Garrincha and Pele
Garrincha formed an unbeatable partnership with Pele during their time with Brazil.

If the exhumation theory is true, Garrincha's body would have been removed around 10 years ago from it's original burial site. 

"My father doesn't deserve this," Garrincha's daughter, Rosangela Santos, said.

According to Garrincha's cousin, Joao Rogoginsky, another family member needed to be buried at the original site. And Joao was told at the time Garrincha's bones were taken and placed in a drawer, however Joao did not accompany the exhumation.

"And they didn't give the family any documentation," Joao said.

The mayor of Mage, Rafael Tubarao, wants to honour the former Selecao legend in October, on the occasion of his 84th birthday, and vowed to find the remains with the family's blessing. 

"If the family agrees, I will make an exhumation of the graves, and a DNA test to know if one of the bodies is Garrincha's," Tubarao said.

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