While the whole world is fighting the pandemic, which is Novel Coronavirus or Covid-19, it is a responsibility for writers like us to bring forward some stunning cases from the history of the beautiful game to keep you engaged. And to keep up the spirits of the true sport romantics.
What cricket is to India. Football is in Brazil. And perhaps, even more. But they needed a World Cup to cement their place in the record books. They needed a hero and they found one from the slums in 1958. And he even led them to two more. He is the only player in the history of the game to win the World Cup thrice. A feat that may never be broken in the foreseeable future. If football had a god, it had to be him.
Before Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi; before Zidane, Beckham, Ronaldinho, and Brazilian Ronaldo; even before Cruyff and Maradona. There was Edson Arantes do Nascimento, or more famously, Pelé. There is an interesting incident which will give you an insight into the popularity of the Brazilian. When American president met Pelé, he said "Hello, my name is Ronald Raegan, I'm the president of the United States of America. But you don't need to introduce yourself, because everyone knows who Pelé is".
As for records, he did score 727 goals from 786 matches for club and country. A series of several major silverware (including three World Cups) to go along with that too. Everything that a footballer ever aspires for. Although these records speak volumes in themselves, what defined his legacy is something he accomplished elsewhere. Here's a story that showcases how a man actually stopped a war:
Pelé played for Brazilian club Santos. In 1969, the club traveled across Africa to play matches. Nigeria at that time was under civil unrest. The Biafran war was on but Santos had committed to play a match against the Green Eagles. When people came to know that Pelé would be coming along for the match, such as the influence that a 48-hour ceasefire was agreed upon so that the match would take place peacefully. They wanted to see the king and they did. Lima, his teammate at Santos, remembers that people actually carried chairs on their heads so as to watch the game.
A man, a footballer actually stopped a war and caused a ceasefire. Such was his greatness. He was once compared to Jesus. When asked about it, the ever-smiling and witty Pelé said, "there are parts of the world where Jesus Christ is not so well known". He was the one to call football 'The Beautiful Game'.
The game along with those who play it have the ability to transcend beyond the field, beyond race, color, creed and sometimes, even WAR. He is a terrific ambassador of the game.