Botafogo de Futebol e Regatas was actually the merge of two football clubs, Club de Regatas Botafogo and the Botafogo Football Club, in 1942. Finally, they found successes by winning the Campeonato Carioca in 1948. That team included a young talent named Nilton Santos. In 1953, Garrincha joined the club as a very, raw talent. According to legend, he nutmegged on Nilton Santos on his trial match. From 1955 to 1964, Botafogo enjoyed one of its greatest period. The team consisted of Quarentinha, Paulo Valentim, Didi (bought from Fluminense), Tome, Pampolini and others.
In 1957, João Saldanha became their coach. They won the Campeonato Carioca in 1958. They beat Fluminense 6-2. Paulo Valentime scored 5 goals. In 1961, they would win again. This time, the team was reinforced by Mario Pagallo and Amarillo. Then, in 1962, they repeated their successes in the Campeonato Carioca and also won the Rio-Sao Paulo Championship(Torneio Rio-Saulo) for the first time.
In 1963, Botafogo had a historical series of matches against Pele's Santos. At the Final of Taca Brazil, Santos beat Botafogo 4-3 on the first game, but Botafogo won the second match by 3-1, which forced a decisive third match. Santos easily took apart Botafogo 5-0. A few months later, Santos and Botafogo would meet again at the Copa Libertadores. The first leg need in a 1-1 draw, but Santos beat them again in the 2nd leg. Santo went on to become champion. The epic battles defined an era in Brazilian football. The rivalry became legendary.
In 1964, Botafogo was again crowned the champion of Rio-Sao Paulo Championship. They beat Santos 3-2 on the first leg, but the Brazilian FA decided to cancel the rest of the series and reward bot teams co-champions, despite Botafogo winning the first and only match of the series. After 1964, new players such as Gerson and Jairzinho emerged. They would eventually replace Didi and Garrincha. The new Botafogo continued their successes by winning another Rio-San Paulo Championship in 1966, two Campeonato Cariocas in 1967 and 1968 and one Brazil Cup in 1968. Mario Zagello would coach them.
The Botafogo team of Manga, Nilton Santos, Zagallo, Didi, Quarentinha, Amarildo and Garrincha was one of the best teams in the history of world football.
Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.
My All-Time Botafogo team here.