Pelé, photographed in Brasilia on June 25, 2008. Credit: JOEDSON ALVES/AFP via Getty Images
(CNN Spanish) --
(CNN Spanish) --
Pelé was not shy: either in interviews or on social media more recently, the Brazilian soccer star openly expressed his opinions, often controversial ones.
Here, a review of seven of the phrases with which "O Rei" explained himself and his philosophy in sport.
"I was born to play soccer": the explanation of his gift
The Brazilian soccer legend addressed his special talent for the ball on many occasions.
One of her most remembered phrases in this regard, not without controversy for some, was: "I was born to play soccer, just as Beethoven was born to write music and Michelangelo was born to paint"
"I always wanted to be like him": the figure of his father
Pelé continually talked about his father's figure, who was his great inspiration to dedicate himself to football.
"My father was a good soccer player, who scored a lot of goals. His name was Dondinho. I wanted to be like him," he said in an interview with CNN in 2015. "He was famous in Brazil, in Minas Gerais. He was my role model I always wanted to be like him, but what happened, to this day, only God can explain it."
Pele, with other former Santos soccer players, poses next to the Libertadores trophy during the team's centenary celebration in Santos, Brazil, Saturday, April 14, 2012. (AP/Nelson Antoine)
On loyalties: "Today you play for the country that pays the most"
The star signed with Santos at the age of 16 and stayed at that club for the next 18 years.
He only competed on one other team, the New York Cosmos, in a three-year stint in which he did much for the burgeoning popularity of soccer in New York.
For him, loyalty to the club was important.
"The player has lost passion for his country, for his club. But for football itself, no. He will continue to play and have emotion for him. But nobody plays for a club to be loyal to a club," he said in that dialogue of 2015. "Today it is played by the country that pays the most. They do not have that loyalty."
Football beyond football: "The biggest family in the world today is football"
In 2014, when the World Cup was taking place in his native Brazil, Pelé reflected in an interview with CNN about the place of soccer beyond sport.
“I say that the biggest family in the world today is soccer.
I had the doors open in all parts of the world and I still have them open to this day.
So these things are very individual, very personal.
We play soccer and we have soccer in the world every week, every weekend, and this is a single case, so it's nothing, ”he said.
To Maradona: "one day, in heaven, we will play together on the same team"
The comparisons between Pelé and Diego Maradona, and the discussions about who was better accompanied them throughout their lives.
In the years after his retirement, the players had a good relationship.
Days after the death of the 'Cosmic Kite', Pelé published an emotional tribute to his "great friend" in which he precisely spoke of the comparisons.
"So, I want to say that you are incomparable. Your career was marked by honesty. And in your own unique way, you taught us that we have to love and say 'I love you' much more often. Your quick departure did not allow me to tell you, so I'll just write to you: I love you, Diego. My great friend, thank you very much for all our trip."
"One day, in heaven, we will play together on the same team. And it will be the first time I raise my fist in the air in triumph on the pitch without celebrating a goal. It will be because I can finally hug you again," he added.
Celebrate: "No matter how many goals you score, celebrate each one as if it were your first"
Pelé used Twitter actively, often with messages of a philosophical nature.
The player, who scored 1,281 goals in his professional career (in 1,363 games), defended the importance of acknowledging each goal with messages such as "no matter how many goals you score, celebrate each one as if it were the first."
"Jump high. Celebrate all the goals of your life. Never be ashamed to celebrate!" He wrote in 2022, in a message accompanied by a photo of a celebration of his youth as a striker.
Pelé, 17, cries on the shoulder of goalkeeper Gylmar Dos Santos Neves (right) after Brazil's 5-2 victory over Sweden in the World Cup final in Stockholm, Sweden, on June 29, 1958. (AP Photo)
The value of perseverance: "To go far, you have to face adversity and not give up"
Perseverance was another of the virtues that Pelé highlighted.
"One of the main characteristics of great athletes is perseverance. To go far, you have to face adversity and not give up, even if the chances of success seem slim," Pelé, who lifted the Cup three times, wrote in August 2022. of the World, among his multiple titles with the Canarinha and Santos.
In another message along the same lines, the athlete said that "sometimes life presents us with challenges that force us to leave our comfort zone" and that "it may not be easy, but it makes us grow as people and teaches us that We are capable of much more than we thought."