The Pelé paradox: football’s greatest celebrity still defines beautiful game | Pelé

Shortly after his 30th birthday, on the verge of his extended disco-retirement phase, the crimplene jumpsuit years, Pelé was voted the Most Famous Person in the World. By that stage his career as a serious footballer was all but done. A world champion for the third time that summer, Pelé had already become the thing he would remain for the rest of his life: the Pelé identity, the Pelé industrial complex, Big Pelé.

What did he choose to do in 1970 with this superpower, this gift, the status of most famous human? He wore a white suit and waved a lot. He played the guitar. He shouted…


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