February 4, 2023

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King Pele is dead, long live King Pele! | Sports | DW

You were a genius who enchanted the world. A magician with a ball at his feet. A true legend“. These are the words Pele wrote in a public farewell letter after the death of Diego Maradona at the end of November 2020. If he had been alive, Maradona would undoubtedly have expressed himself in the same way about his former rival and friend Pele. , suffering from cancer.

Pele and Diego Armando Maradona are two of the greatest players football has ever known

Both footballers marked the football of the last century with their style – Argentine Maradona as a playmaker, Brazilian Pele as a striker. Both are popular heroes in their respective countries and both have delighted football fans around the world with their technique and goals. Pele, 20 years older than Maradona, was football’s first superstar. To date, the Brazilian is the only three-time world champion: he was chosen not only by FIFA as the “player of the 20th century”, but also by the IOC (International Olympic Committee) as the “athlete of the 20th century”.

Pele is immortal, while Edson is not afraid of aging or dying.“Pele once said in an interview that he felt the difference between Pele the football icon and Edson Arantes do Nascimento the man.

The name was given on October 23, 1940 as a tribute to American inventor Thomas Alva Edison. However, the origin of his nickname is unclear. The most common version is that when he was little he idolized his father’s team goalkeeper, “I know“, and said he wanted to play too”heap“. That’s the name.”skin“, which annoyed him initially.

International progress

It didn’t take long for Brazil, and then the whole world, to take an interest in the boy. In 1956, aged 15, Pele signed with FC Santos and scored his first goal in the first division. His call-up to the national team was not long in coming: at 16 years and 257 days, he made his debut against Argentina (1-2) and scored the only goal. selection.

The following year, Pele was invited to the national team to participate in the World Cup in Sweden – he first started on the bench. But very quickly, the kid made himself indispensable and scored six goals in four games, contributing heavily to Brazil’s first World Cup title. In the final against the host nation, Pele made himself known to the world by unleashing crowds with his knocks and double centuries recorded at the age of 17 years, 8 months and 6 days. Advance real registration.

In his home country, Pele is already revered like no other footballer. When he was not yet 20 years old, the Brazilian government declared him “A national treasure“and banned its sale abroad. During his travels around the world, the young Pele was welcomed as the president of the Republic. If he had many ups, the Brazilian also had a downfall during the 1962 World Cup. Chile

and at selection Due to injury in the second match of the group stage, Pele was able to successfully defend his title. Four years later, the reigning champions in England took everyone by surprise when they were knocked out in the first round. But in 1970, in Mexico, Pele led his team to a third world title.

A year later, Pele played his 92nd and last international match: at the legendary Maracana stadium, in front of 180,000 fans, he said goodbye to the national team, for which he scored 77 goals. For many, his departure from the national team seemed premature: Pele was only 30 years old.

Pele in victory over Italy in 1970

In 1970, Pele won the World Cup for the third time in his career.

An intriguing international retreat

The reason for his international retirement is still the subject of speculation: was it due to a violent altercation with the president of the Brazilian Football Confederation, João Havelange? Pele himself later made a political argument: he would not have wanted to support the military government of the time. Basically, no one knows if he was actually an anti-authoritarian, who was under investigation by the military, who suspected him of having links with left-wing leaders.

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On the other hand, Pele continued his career in the Brazilian Championship. Unfortunately, it is impossible to accurately reconstruct the number of games he played and the number of goals he scored for FC Santos. Officially, it’s 1,088 goals in 1,114 matches. No one knows what the thousandth goal of his career will be. For a long time, everyone thought it was the penalty he scored against Vasco da Gama on 19 November 1969. On that day, everyone was happy and even the bells rang. However, subsequent research revealed that the penalty was most likely… his 1,002nd goal.

Pele scored his 1000th goal

The famous thousandth goal against Vasco da Gama. His 1,002nd, actually…

A surprising return

In 1974, Pele ended his career before returning a year later, to everyone’s surprise, with the New York Cosmos in the then little-known North American Soccer League. Reason: One who called himself his friend, has taken away all his wealth. In three years with the Cosmos, Pele earned $4.5 million, the highest paid soccer contract to date. “Pele is the greatest player of all time“, his German teammate at the time, Franz Beckenbauer, would later say.”He dominated football for over twenty years. Be it Maradona, Cruyff or Platini, everyone else comes after him. There is no equal to Pele“. In 1977, Pele made his final farewell from football.

Pele and Franz Beckenbauer

Pele and Franz Beckenbauer formed together in the New York Cosmos

The first black to hold a ministerial post

During his years in New York, Pele laid the foundation for a successful career as a businessman. Not only did he make important contacts, he also founded a sports marketing company. Considered religious and modest, Pele bought a radio station (Radio Club de Santos) and a film production company. Although he had always toyed with the idea of ​​a political party and one day announced that he wanted to start a left-wing party, it was only after he became the first black minister in 1995 that things got serious. Mail. That year, Pele was appointed Extraordinary Minister for Sports. For four years he tried to fight corruption in Brazilian football, but was more successful in promoting grassroots sports and programs for children and youth.

Pele, twice married and father of seven children, has served as a sports ambassador for his country, the United Nations and UNICEF. “All the kids in the world want to be like Pele in football – that’s why I take it upon myself to show them not only how to become a good footballer, but also how to become a good person.“, he once said.

Major health issues

In recent years, Pele has experienced repeated health problems. A poorly healed hip operation in 2012 led to further disabilities. A kidney stone also had to be removed. In 2021, a tumor was removed from his colon. Since then, Pele has not appeared in public. “Imagine: he is a king, an impressive person, and today he cannot walk normallyPele’s son Edson said in February 2020. “That’s why he’s so withdrawn, he’s shyEdson also claimed that his father was suffering from depression. Pele, however, quickly denied this information.

I hope one day we can play football together in heaven“, Pele announced on Twitter the day Maradona died. Dribblers now play together in other spheres. Basically, it’s always been like that.