José Leandro Andrade
“The Black Marvel”
Andrade had the courage to ignore white notions about how a black man should behave as he treated Paris, France as his own personal and professional playground, especially with the women who adored his suave, good looks as well as his athletic prowess. In this respect, there are parallels to be drawn with black American boxers Jack Johnson and Muhammad Ali.
José Andrade is dubbed
as “the first Pele”
In the 1920s, when the Olympic Games was effectively viewed as a world championship of soccer, he was winning over European audiences by the hundreds of thousands they came to watch him play. José Leandro Andrade was considered responsible, more than anybody else, in the first third of the 20th century for putting soccer on the map of international sports.
An Uruguayan Postage Stamp
in honor of Andrade
When Uruguay faced Yugoslavia in the Olympic games of 1924, Yugoslavia, having sent spies to watch a Uruguay training session, predicted an easy win. Uruguay beat Yugoslavia 7-0. The Uruguayan team learned of the presence of spies and deliberately misplaced their shots and passes in training. Three days later, Uruguay defeated the United States 3-0.
In 1928 José Andrade won his second Olympic gold medal in Amsterdam. A Spanish correspondent who has been watching soccer for 20 years said that he has never seen any team play with the mastery of this Uruguayan team. It was though they were playing chess with their feet, he added.
The Uruguayan soccer team of the 1920s
After his retirement, José Andrade had trouble finding and keeping a job. While his former teammates became successful coaches, businessmen, Andrade suffered from poor health, a troubled marriage, and depression.
In 1956 a German reporter searched the Uruguayan capital of Montevideo and found him living in terrible conditions in a basement of a flat. Andrade was too intoxicated to understand the reporter’s questions. Within a year, Andrade died a penniless alcoholic in an asylum at the age of 56.