Most of football’s organic following is because of tales, legends, and sometimes fables like the Nigeria vs India football match that allegedly caused the latter to be banned from international football; but for the modern football fan, one man’s story united all of those devices; his name: Pelé.
On his way to becoming universally revered among all football lovers, Pelé saw his father crying– because his beloved Brazil had just lost the 1950 World Cup to Uruguay via penalties–and promised him he was going to bring it home; he did it three times (1958, 1962, 1970), scoring 14 goals in only 17 appearances. He scored a total 77 goals for the Selecao (Brazilian national team); and hundreds more for his boyhood club Santos. His record for goals is over 1000, but he was more than just a goal scorer.
He was a boy with big dreams, he was an entertainer, a winner, a father, a minister, a philanthropist, and a legend. The world may have lost Pelé to cancer, but at 82, he lived more than most people would ever imagine. So, when tributes of him flood your timeline in the coming days, do not wonder why; only few names have broken barriers like Pelé’s has. The world will infamously remember December 29 2022 as the day a legend departed the earth, but what it really is, is a celebration of a life, with gifts well and truly exhausted.
To learn more about Pelé’s becoming, you can see the documentary Pelé: Birth of a Legend.