Such was his popularity that when he came to Kolkata in 1977, it was as if the entire city had come to a standstill. He also visited India in 2015 and 2018. He was born in a country beset by corruption, military coups, censorship and repressive governments. Seventeen-year-old Pele, however, changed Brazil’s image in their very first World Cup in 1958. In the tournament played in Sweden, he scored six goals in four matches, two of which were scored in the final. He beat Brazil on 5. 2 and started a long run of success.
Pele was also a favorite of politicians
Listed by FIFA as one of the greatest players of all time, Pele was also a favorite of politicians. Before the 1970 World Cup, he was seen on stage with President Emilio Garastazu Medici, one of the most ruthless members of Brazil’s most authoritarian government. Brazil won that World Cup which was also Pele’s third World Cup. In the midst of Brazil’s tangled politics, a black player from the middle class turned world football upside down.
Armistice for Pele’s Match
Such was his popularity that during the Nigerian Civil War in the 1960s, a 48-hour truce broke out between the warring factions so that he could watch a Pele match in Lagos. He also came to Kolkata on the invitation of Mohun Bagan in 1977 on the Cosmos tour of Asia. They played football for about half an hour at Eden Gardens, which was watched by 80,000 spectators.
Pele thanks supporters on his recovery
Pele came to Kolkata for the last time in 2018
After that match Mohun Bagan’s fortunes changed and the team returned to winning ways. After that he came to Kolkata for the last time in 2018 and the craziness was the same for him. On Pele’s 80th birthday, International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach said that you have never played in the Olympics, but you are an Olympian because you have imbibed the values of the Olympics throughout your career.
Pele does not die immortal
The debate in the football world has been going on for years as to who is the greatest among Pele, Maradona and now Lionel Messi. Diego Maradona said goodbye to the world two years ago and Messi fulfilled his dream of winning the World Cup two weeks ago. Players like Pele don’t die, they become immortal. On account of his extraordinary skill.