Pele: Brazil football legend dies aged 82
That was the title of BBC’s online sport headline, which informed me of the death of the great man. I understand Pele had been ill for some time and his death, while peaceful, came as no surprise.
Given my purpose in blogging is to cover what I see as significant happenings around me and those that are of particular personal interest, I had no hesitation doing so concerning the great man. I love sport; I love football and love watching it when football is played superbly well, as it was with Pele. We tend to over use words like great, legend etc. but, of all the excellent footballers I have come across, Pele tops the list and adjectives like these, as well as Pele being described as a great entertainer oozing joy, sportsman and ambassador, are entirely appropriate. One might also add magical, for there was something about his skill level that was off the scale.
This reflection is going to be short for already reactions and tributes are pouring in from all over the world and, from what I have seen, I doubt I would disagree with any of them. While, as a boy, there were English footballers who I admired and followed, Pele topped the list when it came to overseas players. Pele’s pivotal role in Brazil winning the World Cups of 1958, 1962 and 1970 is what stands out. I began following World Cups in 1966 (when England won it and Pele was kicked out of the game). Arguably, the Brazil team of 1970 was the greatest in the history of football and it included one who imho was the greatest ever to have ever grace this beautiful game.
Football has been called “the beautiful game” and too often the term does not apply but, when Pele played, it was the beautiful game and played by a beautiful man. Thank you, sir, for all you have done!