With a halo around his head, Pelé placed lightning on his right foot, thunder on his left; the reason his footsteps shone, the reason he shone like a million stars, the reason he was named Edson after the inventor of the light bulb, Thomas Edison – the reason he turned football into ‘ jogo bonito’: the beautiful game.

Pelé was born on the morning of October 23, 1940 when electric light reached his hometown of Três Corações, a city in Minas Gerais, light and sunlight announced the son of light to the delight of mother Celeste and father Dondinho, an inevitable striker for Fluminense. he is reputed to have scored five headed goals in one game, a record that Pelé eyed but could not match.

Born Edson Arantes do Nascimento, but globally called Pelé, a nickname he adopted as a child when his teammates teased him for the way he pronounced Bilé, his father’s goalkeeper partner; Pelé, the misnamed, has become Pelé, the main name.

If the ball burned in his feet, it was also magnetic in his hands. As a striker, Pelé was a terror for defenders, as well as a nightmare for forwards every time he guarded the goal, yelling “Segura, Bilé,” a rallying cry for his teammates. Segura means safe in Portuguese, and the young Pelé was so talented that he was also Santos’ second-choice goalkeeper, according to online sports outlet en.as.com.

After 18 years of exotic football at Santos FC, Pelé hung up his boots on October 2, 1974, following his club’s 2-0 win over Associação Atlética Ponte Preta, and was looking forward to life after retirement. .

But fate laughed first. In a 2013 biography, “Pelé: A Importância do Futebol”, the legend recounts the surprise visit of his accountant. “I remember the moment he walked into the house like it was yesterday. He was sweating profusely. He was pale, it looked like he was about to faint. I realized something was wrong, so I made a little joke: ‘How many millions do we still have left?’ I almost had to call the doctor when he replied: ‘Look, this is very difficult…’ ”Pelé discovered that all his money was gone and that he had lost all 41 properties in which he invested.

Never say die, Pelé picked up the pieces of their life together, thereafter, and considered returning to soccer and accepting a long-rejected offer to play in the US for the New York Cosmos.

Popularly known as ‘O Rei’, the Portuguese term for ‘The King’, Pelé met former New York Cosmos president and general manager Clive Toye in Brussels, where he had gone for an international friendly. On the brink of financial doom, Pele felt it was time to listen to Toye, who offered him a $2.8 million contract when the NBA’s highest-paid player, Kareem Abdul-Jabber, was earning $450,000 a year. . The light flashed again.

At 34, Pelé, who had retired eight months earlier, made his New York Cosmos debut on June 15, 1975, scoring a goal and providing an assist in a 2-2 draw against the Dallas Tornado. During the three seasons he played for Cosmos, Pele scored 37 goals and won the NASL title known as the North American League crown in his final season, swimming out of bankruptcy into a financial harbor. Pele had the last laugh.

Growing up, Pelé was introduced to the colors of poverty after being a shoemaker’s apprentice. But soccer gave the son of fate his first breath when he won the World Cup and played for Santos, and when he faced financial suffocation, soccer rescued him too, turning his state from penury to prosperity as it did most of your money after you retire. of Cosmos.

Thus Pelé first rose to fame, then went bankrupt and later rode into the pantheon of all-time sports greats, huddled at the height of soccer immortality for more than 40 years until death sold. Pele’s colon cancer and metastasized in the bowels of the deadly striker. And Pelé kicked the bucket over!

Death blew the final whistle on Pelé just as the king of samba was about to dribble into 2023, bringing him down in the 18-yard box. Cruelly, death did not give Pelé a penalty, it gave him a red card, taking him off the field of life.

When Pelé was writhing in pain at the fatal entrance of death, he did not rush abroad for medical treatment as Nigeria’s prodigal leaders would. He stayed in Brazil, receiving treatment at the Albert Einstein Israeli Hospital located in Morumbi, south of São Paulo.

Pelé invested his hard-earned soccer income in Brazil, creating jobs and supporting the economy in a commendable display of patriotism, unlike Nigerian leaders who loot the public treasury and hide their heists abroad, refuse to pay taxes and inflict suffering on the masses through multiple taxes. and abandonment of hospitals, schools and roads.

Israel’s Albert Einstein Hospital is recognized as the best in Latin America, even as it reportedly ranks among the top 50 globally. It is owned by a group of members of the Jewish community in São Paulo. If the Brazilian government had not provided a safe environment for the hospital to function since 1971, the hospital would not be a pride for Brazil today, providing first-rate medical care to humanity.

Nigerian political leaders have not only abandoned healthcare services provided even by foreign experts in Nigeria, they are fleeing abroad to treat dandruff and hold political meetings while recommending to the masses to use decrepit public healthcare facilities that they would not recommend. for pets.

As long as telcos and banks oil the legislature’s palms relentlessly, blindness will continue to affect legislative oversight functions that should control fraudulent bank charges and unreasonable billing by telcos. Today, a simple ‘hello’ is more expensive than a New Year’s broadcast from hell.

Brazilian pastors and imams did not go online to predict that witches and wizards were behind Pelé’s illness the way Nigerian false clerics would. A notorious Nigerian celestial cleric with a chest like a liquor barrel from the Tibetan Himalayan region, brazenly claimed that God told him France would defeat Argentina in the recent World Cup final, wiping his burned face and foaming from his head. mouth like a madman. dog.

Pelé, winner of three World Cups (1958, 1962 and 1970), still has a mother, Celeste, who is 100 years old. He was playing football in the streets but he was not shot dead by a police officer like pregnant lawyer Bolanle Raheem was shot dead by a fucking Police Assistant Superintendent Drambi Vandi.

Before he dropped out of school in fourth grade, kidnappers did not break into Pelé’s school to take students away at night as they did in Chibok, Borno state, and Dapchi, Yobe state.

As a budding player, Pelé was in various soccer camps, staying in different hotels. There were no reports that Pele or any of his teammates have been hassled let alone being killed as Obafemi Awolowo’s graduate student, Timothy Adegoke, was allegedly killed in his sleep at the Hilton Hotel, Ile-Ife.

If Pelé was shot dead by Brazilian soldiers as ‘zombie’ soldiers massacred young Nigerians at the Lekki tollbooth, how would Brazil have benefited from Pelé’s prodigy? Who knows how many Pelés, Albert Einsteins and Thomas Edisons have been sent to early graves by the Nigerian leadership?

As a sign of respect to the late Pelé, I have decided to stop the conclusion of the two-part series I began last week, entitled “Pele Can’t Untie Messi’s Shoelaces (1).” Football spirits were fired by the article that got thousands of likes on PUNCH’s Facebook page, as well as some criticism.

I must admit that the conversation about who is the GOAT of football will never end as long as football remains round. But I’m with Lionel Messi; he is my GOAT. I should go back.

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