Archive for pelé

R.I.P. Diego Maradona

Posted in uncategorized with tags , , , , , on December 3, 2020 by andelino

The world of “soccer” is mourning the loss of “Diego Armando Maradona”, who died of a heart attack at his home in Buenos Aires at the age of 60.

Nicknamed “El Pibe” his life was a running planetary pop opera for the ages. From Somalia to Bangladesh, everyone is familiar with the basic contours of his story – the “I am a slum dweller” from Villa Fiorito, a poor suburb of Buenos Aires who elevated football to the status of majestic pure art.

Being the “king of the pitch” is one thing. Playing on the global pitch non-stop is a completely different ball game. Multitudes instinctively seized what he was all about – like he was always emitting a magic buzz in a higher frequency, beyond the Empire of the Senses.

Italians, who know a thing or two about aesthetic genius, would compare him to Caravaggio: “a wild, all too human pagan deity dwelling in light and shades, hitting all time lows over and over as virtually his whole life played out in public. The dizzying ballet of all inner demons exploding, family scandals, divorces, rivers of alcohol, doping, evading the income tax enforcers, Himalayas of Colombian marching powder, countless intimations of death amid perpetual joy.”


“I don’t know why anyone cares what a person can do with a ball; I only know that Maradona was able to do things with one that, when you saw them, made you feel like the universe was telling you a secret. The sight of him with the ball at his feet, this little guy with his hair streaming back, all chest and thighs and churning elbows, had a power that is given to very few people in any generation, the power to make a large part of the world hold its breath.”

He personified the non-stop crossover of Olympian Heights with The Harder They Fall: a walking – dribbling – fest of wild contradictions, beyond good and evil. To borrow, laterally, from T.S. Eliot, he was like a river, “a strong brown god – sullen, untamed and intractable.”

The late, great Eduardo Galeano did picture him as a pagan deity, just like one of us: “arrogant, womanizer, weak…. We’re all like that!” El Pibe was the ultimate dirty god – “a sinner, irresponsible, presumptuous, a drunkard.” He could “never return to the anonymous multitude where he came from.”  

He may have mesmerized the world with the Argentina celeste jersey, but his masterpiece, arguably, was performed in real time at Napoli FC – the quintessential Italian working class club. Instinctively, once again, he aligned with the underdogs, the despised, the beggars’ banquet, and like a natural-born David he slew the northern Goliaths – Juventus, Milan, Inter.

He never ceased to see himself as a kid from the barrio. And that forged his politics – his instinct always pointing towards justice. He was always on the progressive side of history – a tattoo of Che on his right arm, a tattoo of Fidel on his left leg.

El Comandante Fidel was like a surrogate father. Another intimation from the heavens. They died on the same date four years apart. He embraced Hugo Chavez, Evo Morales and Lula. And he considered himself “a Palestinian.” Anti-empire – all the way.

By poetic justice, the Hand of God had to be intertwined, in the same match, with the most spectacular goal in history. “What planet are you from?” cried the legendary Uruguayan-born narrator at an Argentina radio station. The dirty god himself later acknowledged those were a “one-two counter punch” against the Brits for the Falklands/Malvinas.

In 10.6 Seconds,” set on that fateful June 22, 1986 in the Aztec Stadium in Mexico, Argentine writer Hernan Casciari engaged in no less than an astonishing update of “El Aleph,” by that Buddha in a grey suit Jorge Luis Borges. That sets the legend in stone – echoing in  eternity:

“The player knew he made forty four steps and twelve ball touches, all with his left foot. He knows the play will last 10.6 seconds. Then, he thinks it’s about time to tell the whole world who he is, who he was and who he’ll be till the end of time.”  

Argentine footballer Lionel Messi, who has referred to Maradona as his idol, referred to this as a very sad day for football.

“A very sad day for all Argentinians and for soccer. He has left us but he isn’t going anywhere because Diego is eternal. I’ll remember the lovely moments I experienced with him and I send my condolences to his family and friends. Rest in peace,” he wrote on Instagram.

Brazilian soccer “all time great” Pele said that he has lost a great friend.

Sharing the iconic photo of Maradona in an Argentina jersey holding up the World Cup, Pele wrote on Twitter that the world lost a legend.

“What sad news. I lost a great friend and the world lost a legend. There is still much to be said, but for now, may God give strength to family members. One day, I hope we can play ball together in the sky,” he wrote.

Pelé Success Story

Posted in uncategorized with tags , , , on July 1, 2006 by andelino

Pelé was born Edson Arantes do Nascimento on October 23, 1940 in Três Corações, Brazil, the first child of João Ramos and . Named after Thomas Edison and nicknamed “Dico”. Pelé moved with his family to the city of Bauru as a young boy.

João Ramos, better known as “Dondinho,” struggled to earn a living as a soccer player, and Pelé grew up in poverty. Still, he developed a rudimentary talent for soccer by kicking a rolled-up sock stuffed with rags around the streets of Bauru.

The origin of the “Pelé” nickname is unclear, though he recalled despising it when his friends first referred to him that way. He was trained by his father by a very young age to be a footballer. His father was himself a former footballer and leading scorer for the club teams he played for.

As an adolescent, Pelé joined a youth squad coached by Waldemar de Brito, a former member of the Brazilian national soccer team. De Brito eventually convinced Pelé’s family to let the budding phenom leave home and try out for the Santos professional soccer club when he was 15.

In 1956, Pele signed with the professional club Santos FC and immediately started practicing with the team’s regulars. He was just 15 year old at that time. On September 7, 1956 he scored the first of his 1281 goals against Corinthians Santo Andre. In the year 1957, Pele became the top scorer in the league. He was soon under the spotlight and was called up to the Brazil national team.

The world was officially introduced to Pelé in the 1958 World Cup in Sweden. Displaying remarkable speed, athleticism and field vision, the 17-year-old erupted to score three goals in a 5-2 semifinal win over France, and then netted two more in the finals, a 5-2 win over the host country.

The young superstar received hefty offers to play for European clubs, and Brazilian President Jânio Quadros eventually had Pelé declared a national treasure, making it legally difficult for him to play in another country. Regardless, Santos club ownership ensured its star attraction was well paid by scheduling lucrative exhibition matches with teams around the world.

Major clubs like Juventus, Real Madrid and Manchester United were trying hard to sign this young sensation. But due to the interference of the government, Pele stayed in his own country. Pele led Santos to win the Campeonato Paulista by being the leading scorer with 58 goals.

Again in 1960, Pele scored 33 goals to inspire his team to regain the trophy. He also helped them qualify for the Copa Libertadores which was the most prestigious tournament in the Western hemisphere.

Pelé aggravated a groin injury two games into the 1962 World Cup in Chile, sitting out the final rounds while Brazil went on to claim its second straight title. Four years later, in England, a series of brutal attacks by opposing defenders again forced him to the sidelines with leg injuries, and Brazil was bounced from the World Cup after one round.

Despite the disappointment on the world stage, the legend of Pelé continued to grow. In the late 1960s, the two factions in the Nigerian Civil War reportedly agreed to a 48-hour ceasefire so they could watch Pelé play in an exhibition game in Lagos.

He led his team Santos in breaking many barriers and taking them to many prestigious trophy triumphs. His electrifying play and hunger for spectacular goals made him a celebrated sportsman throughout the world. Pele along with Santos toured the World to play exhibition matches in different countries making it a huge attraction for the spectators.

The 1970 World Cup in Mexico marked a triumphant return to glory for Pelé and Brazil. Headlining a formidable squad, Pelé scored four goals in the tournament, including one in the final to give Brazil a 4-1 victory over Italy.

After 19 seasons with Santos, Pelé announced his retirement from soccer in 1974, but he was lured back to the field to play for the New York Cosmos in the North American Soccer League, and temporarily helped make the NASL a big attraction.

In 1976, Pele came out of semi-retirement to play for the New York Cosmos. Pele presence in the U.S. helped create a huge following for soccer in the country. Though Pele was 36 years old by now, he led Cosmos to win the NASL championship in his third and final season at the club.

He played his final game in an exhibition match between New York Cosmos and Santos in October 1977. He played the first half for Cosmos and the second half for Santos and retired with a total of 1,281 goals in 1,363 games.

Retirement did little to diminish the public profile of Pelé, who remained a popular pitchman and active in many professional arenas.

In 1978, Pelé was awarded the “International Peace Award” for his work with UNICEF. He has also served as Brazil’s Extraordinary Minister for Sport and a United Nations ambassador for ecology and the environment.

Pelé was named FIFA’s “Co-Player of the Century” in 1999, along with Argentine Diego Maradona. To many, his accomplishments on the soccer field will never be equaled, and virtually all great athletes in the sport are measured against the Brazilian who once made the world stop to watch his transcendent play.

Pele’s international career was a glorious one. He became the youngest player to score an international goal when he scored against Argentina on 7 July 1957 at the age 16 years and 9 months. In 1958, he became the youngest player to score a goal at the World Cup. He scored six goals in four matches’ including two goals in the final to help Brazil win the World Cup.

Pele reached the zenith in the football world by just performing day in and day out for the respective teams that he played for. He is the all-time highest goal scorer for Brazil scoring 77 goals in 92 appearances. He has also been part of three World cup winning squads. He has scored a total of 1281 goals in 1363 matches which is highest number of career goals scored in football. He has been nicknamed “The King of Football”, “The Black Pearl” and the “The King Pele” by his fans.

He has been regarded as the greatest footballer of all times by many football critics, former players, football fans and experts. In 1999, he was elected the “Athlete of the Century” by the International Olympic Association. He is widely respected for his participation for environmental and social causes.

He has not only been one of the greatest athletes’ ever seen but also one of the most down to earth human beings. From playing with newspaper scraps to becoming the poster boy of World football is an amazing journey indeed.

A member of three Brazilian World Cup-champion teams, Pelé is considered by many to be the greatest soccer player of all time. Pelé played professionally in Brazil for two decades, winning three World Cups along the way, before joining the New York Cosmos late in his career.

Named FIFA co-Player of the Century in 1999, he is a global ambassador for soccer and other humanitarian causes.

The greatest soccer player ever to take the field, Pelé is also a devoted Catholic. In fact, his nickname means “wonder” or “miracle” in Hebrew . Sadly, he too had many adulterous affairs, ignoring Church teaching on marital fidelity. He sought forgiveness from one of the three popes he has met during his lifetime. He credits God with his talent and blessings, “God gave me the gift of knowing how to play soccer—because it really is a gift from God—and my father taught me to use it, he taught me the importance of always being ready and prepared, and that in addition to being a good player I should also be a good man.”

Pelé is just about as religious as it gets, and it started from the beginning. He says he came from a “very religious” family. And he doesn’t miss an opportunity to talk about his faith. He’ll talk about how his talent was God-given, how God’s hand was in play on the pitch, and even how his nickname was a gift from the Man Upstairs.


2014 FIFA Ballon d’Or Prix d’Honneur
2006 Best Young Player of the Year
2005 BBC Sports Personality of the Year Lifetime Achievement
2004 FIFA 100
2000 Laureus World Sports
1982 Golden Ball, Silver Ball of the Year
1974 South American Footballer of the Year
1973 South American Footballer of the Year
1970 BBC Overseas Sports Personality of the Yea

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