Edson Arantes do Nascimento showed himself in a video recorded with a graceful message: “I hope they receive me in heaven as so many people receive me on earth thanks to our beloved football.
The brazilian Edson Arantes do Nascimento, King, began to celebrate 80 years, age that will turn on Friday. “Thank you all for so many messages and omens that come to me from all over the world, but fundamentally to God for letting me reach this age,” said the star in a recorded message.
“Thank God also for health and because i am lucid. Not so smart, but lucid, “added the crack with a smile, in a video released in advance of the celebrations of one of the greatest footballers in history, who is confined in his home in Guarujá, on the São Paulo coast.
“I hope that when it is my turn to go to heaven, God will receive me in the same way that so many people receive me here on earth thanks to our beloved football,” completed Pelé, three-time world champion in 1958, 1962 and 1970.
Pelé was born on October 23, 1940 in Tres Coracoes and made history with Santos and with his Selection. Source of inspiration for thousands of children who tried to emulate him for decades, he was voted “Athlete of the Century” in 1980, 20 years before being surpassed as “Sportsman of the Century” by another legend like world boxing champion Muhammad Ali.
He could never escape the inevitable comparison with Diego Maradona, world champion in Mexico in 1986, 16 years after Pelé lifted the World Cup for the third and last time on Aztec soil. He Ten will celebrate 60 years on October 30.
Pelé has no doubts about who is the best. “Just look at the statistics. Do you know how many goals Diego scored with a header? I answer it: none. And with his right leg?” The Brazilian commented with irony in his career.
To feed the antinomy between Brazilian and Argentine football, Pelé once said: “They have compared me with Alfredo Di Stéfano, with Enrique Omar Sívori and later with Maradona, but I was bigger than the three of them“And in dialogue with ANSA some years ago, he repeated: “I am better known than Jesus Christ”, a phrase that generated more than one criticism and that he himself considered “something blasphemous.”
Although he stressed: “I am a Catholic and I know what Jesus and his values mean. But in the world there are many people who believe in other things. In Asia there are millions of Buddhists who may not know who Christ was, but who once heard talk about Pele “.
He was received as a king in 88 countries by 70 presidents or prime ministers, 40 heads of state and up to three different popes.
A more than anecdotal fact indicates that in Nigeria a truce of 48 hours was even declared during the war with Biafra so that the fighters could see it in action in a match.
Since he was 20 years old, Brazil declared him “national patrimony” and prohibited his transfer to a foreign club, frustrating the dream of the then Inter president, Angelo Moratti, of ever seeing him play in the jersey “Nerazzurri“.
Italy was the first foreign country that Pelé visited, when in 1958 the Brazilian National Team traveled to play two friendlies on the way to the World Cup in Sweden that the “canarinha” conquered that same year, when he was just 17, but was already shining in Santos.
The plastic artist Andy Warhol immortalized him in his portraits and in Baurú, the city where he took his first steps in football, they erected a statue that many claim is capable of producing miracles.
Hundreds of songs, including two that he sings himself alongside the unrivaled Elis Regina, narrate his exploits, also immortalized in the “pirouette” with which he makes a goal in the movie “Escape to victory”, starring with Sylvester Stallone and featuring Bobby Moore and Osvaldo Ardiles.
Son of a frustrated footballer, “Dondinho“, who tore his ligaments on the day of his debut at Atlético Mineiro, Pelé fulfilled his father’s dream without being able to explain the origin of his nickname, which later it became a registered trademark and it allowed him to live smoothly once he hung up his boots in the New York Cosmos.
Thanks to its enormous popularity, it was the face of dozens of advertisements for products that had little to do with sports, such as cigarettes and alcoholic beverages and even a credit card.