Tribune News Service
Gurgaon, October 15
Football legend Pele on Thursday took a trip down memory lane, revealing some of the biggest regrets of his playing days. Pele revealed one glaring omission in his impressive footballing resume: not being able to break his father Don Dinho’s record of five headers in one game.
“My father scored five headers. That was something brilliant. I also tried hard but couldn’t break his record…hard luck,” said the 74-year-old three-time World Cup winner on the second day of his maiden visit to the capital. Pele had come close to achieving the feat when he scored four headers in a semifinal match against Botafogo club in 1964.
The ‘Black Pearl’, who is in India on the invitation of Subroto Cup organisers, said that the happiest moment of his life came on June 26, 1958 when he fulfilled his father’s desire of winning the World Cup for Brazil in Stockholm.
“When I was about 10 years old, I saw the whole Brazil, including my father, crying when we lost the 1950 World Cup final to Uruguay. That day, my father told me that you have to win the World Cup for Brazil. I promised him to do that and, eight years later, I won the World Cup for Brazil (as a 17-year-old) defeating Sweden in the final,” said Pele, who went on to win two more World Cups in 1962 and 1970.
Talking about the Indian football, which recently touched a new low suffering its fifth straight defeat in the World Cup qualifiers on Tuesday, Pele said that the only way to revive the country’s football structure is to send the players abroad to gain “valuable’ experience.
Pele, who scored 1281 goals in 1363 games (including unofficial friendlies and tour games) in his 22 years long playing career, described the FIFA corruption scandal as a “shame”. However, he quickly made it clear that the reputation of the game has been tarnished due to “wrongdoings of a few individuals”.
"Whatever is happening in FIFA, it is a shame. It’s very sad and it shouldn’t have happened. But this is not due to football but due to some corrupt people in the FIFA. We cannot mix corruption with football. One should not forget that it is the most popular sport in the world. More and more people are playing football and the game has developed worldwide, be it in Asia, Africa, South America or anywhere. If you see history, football has united people,” he said.
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