Saturday, April 1, 2023

He preferred to avoid confrontation

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Pelé was a welcome guest in high society, including Sweden’s royal family.

Martin Arn

Martin ArnReporter football

When asked in his last interview who he was, Pelé replied: “Everyone has forgotten my real name, Edson Arantes do Nascimento. Nobody remembers Edson. But Edson pays the bills, Edson suffers, Edson cries. Pelé, on the other hand, enjoys the privileges. Pele is the son of God who is supposed to protect people.» It can turn your head a bit when you’ve been a world star for 65 years.

Despite his fame, says journalist and author Juca Kfouri, who knew Pelé better than most, he was a lovely person to the end. One who always wanted to please everyone and who treated everyone equally. Kfouri recalls how Pelé turned down then-US President Bill Clinton when he was invited to the White House. “Instead of accepting the invitation, Pelé wrote autographs for a hotel chef and his wife and children.”

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