When he was still a child and people first started to call him Pele, Edson Arantes do Nascimento could not have imagined that those two syllables would become internationally synonymous with football greatness.
“My father had named me Edson after Thomas Edison, the great inventor. And I was really proud of it! I didn’t want anything to do with Pele,” he chuckled. However, before too long, that name belonged to one of the most recognisable footballers on the planet.
Several decades down the line, and with three World Cup winner’s medals under his belt, O Rei would appear to have made peace with his nickname. “It’s short, it sticks in people’s minds easily,” he conceded, as he looked back over his personal achievements in football.
He may have lost a yard of pace since his heyday, but Pele’s company remains as warm and engaging as ever. He spoke to us about his early days and the challenges he faced in the national team, Brazil’s current superstar, Neymar, and what lies in store for A Seleção at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™.
“Brazil always have a team capable of winning the World Cup." Brazilian legend Pele spoke exclusively to FIFA.com about his country’s chances in Russia, the role of Neymar in Tite’s team, and his own indelible imprint on the tournament’s history.
“The important thing is for Brazil to be well organised, because they no longer have three or four top players for each position. The same is true of Germany, whose emphasis is all on the collective. Before, it was individuals who mattered most.”
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