Brazilian futebol has provided the world with several first-class players who have left their footprint on football history. However, no player can be compared to Sócrates; Sócrates was not only an icon of futebol-arte who mastered the ‘back heel’ and played for the Brazilian team in two FIFA World Cups (1982 and 1986), he was also a political activist who fought for democracy from inside the football world and who joined the Brazilian struggle for civil liberties during the 1980s. Interviews with sport journalists, an exploration of my personal memories of Brazilian futebol and the political scene, and a revisiting of Sócrates’ chronicles and testimonies together demonstrate Sócrates’ belief that the futebol arena was a privileged place to fight for social change. Sócrates passed away in 2011, leaving an inspiring heritage of joy, futebol-arte and freedom struggle. His libertarian legacy must be acknowledged in a country where, despite being acclaimed as one of the most authentic cultural expressions of the people, futebol is controlled by a corrupted and authoritarian elite.