Pelé (2021) - full transcript

What an incredible sight

in the Aztec Stadium in Mexico City.

I don't think anywhere ever in the world

there's been an atmosphere
quite like this.

Today, I officially declare

the 1970 World Cup open.

The 1970 World Cup is underway!

My dad said,

"Football is for those who have guts."

the world's most famous footballer,

was the man all eyes sought out…

On his legs,
Brazilian World Cup hopes are pinned.

Followed every minute of the day…

Pelé has hidden himself away.

This is Pelé's fourth World Cup.

He's worshiped to the point
where he's almost a prisoner.

There have been threats
to kidnap and even assassinate him.

Everything that was on the news,

that I wouldn't be able to come back,
I wasn't in good shape...

Pelé's form has declined to the point

he's no longer the Pelé of old. was a lot of pressure.

It's no longer time for talking.

It's time for fighting.

The World Cup
was important for the country.

But in that moment,
I didn't want to be Pelé.

I didn't like it. I didn't want it.

I was praying,

"God, this is my last World Cup.
Help me prepare for my last World Cup."

In this moment, the Brazilians need Pelé.

…the Brazilians need Pelé.


The great Pelé.



Pelé is not as good as he was.


Brazil is my country.

It means everything to me.

It's the country that brought me
into this world.

Brazil was a very young country,
not very well-known.

I remember my grandparents,
they sold firewood.

They had horses and their cart.

A lot of the time, I rode the horses
when I was around ten years old.

I didn't know other countries existed.

I thought Brazil was
the most beautiful country in the world.

We came from nothing.
We didn't have much.

We were poor, but we were
always able to work. My father worked.

My father, he was a football player,
and his nickname was Dondinho.

I was known as Dondinho's son.

My dream was always to be like my father.

I thought my father was
the best player in the world.

When Pelé arrived home from school,

he was always kicking a ball about
with friends in the street.

He loved to play.

When he was inside, he was a troublemaker.

He always had a lot of energy.

There was a point in my father's career

when he got injured
and his club was late paying him,

and so Pelé thought
he had to help at home,

so he started to work.

I shined shoes, cleaned shoes

to help my family.

Did you think that one day
you would be a famous football player?


The principles that I was raised with,
I still have them to this day.

It was my family that gave them to me.

I never thought, despite everything
that's happened in my life, and even now,

I never think I am better than anyone.

I think this was because of the principles
and the upbringing my parents gave me.

Thank God.

But when my father realized
that he could play, he could be a player,

he encouraged him a lot.

Then they moved to Santos.

I was the first person
at Santos Football Club to meet Pelé.

We were used to seeing a lot of people get
approved at the tryouts at Vila Belmiro,

but who didn't have any talent.

And he showed amazing talent
at his first training session.

He shook my hand so hard that I thought,

"I want to be on his side.
I don't want to be his opponent."

He arrived with that personality.
He wasn't afraid of anything.

Once he got on the pitch,

it was like
he had been playing with us for years.

I was 16 years old,

and I would say,
"Wow, I'm a professional footballer now."

And then I was called up
for the 1958 World Cup.

We already had an idea
of how he'd be as a footballer.

When he was drafted
to the Brazilian national team,

we were overjoyed.

I said, "Well, we're going to Sweden."

I had never left Brazil before.

We thought Brazil was very well known
in Europe,

but no, it wasn't.

Some Swedish girls who were there,

they touched my skin,
and I thought,

"Why is this girl seeing
if my skin colour will come off,

if it's dye that will come off?"

She kept rubbing it
and checking her hand to see

because they had never seen
a Black person before.

Our country wasn't known
in the football community.

We weren't the favorites
or anything like that.

I saw a skinny kid

who should have been feeling the pressure
of being picked to play in the World Cup,

but he didn't feel it.

He was confident.

Quarter-final day in Gothenburg.

Some of the reporters
would write I was too young.

That I didn't have experience.

My father always told me...

"Don't worry.
When you step on the pitch, be confident,

because on the pitch, everyone is equal."
And that gave me a lot of strength.

The ball comes to Pelé,
he controls it and shoots…

Pelé scores for Brazil!

who has played such a magnificent part,

is 17 years of age.

So often Brazil have been so near

and yet so far from the World Cup.

In 1950, they were hot favorites to win

and were sensationally beaten
2-1 by Uruguay.

In 1950, the World Cup was in Brazil,

and we were kids.

When the championship was held
in Brazil in 1950,

it was Brazil's biggest hope
to become a well-known country

and to evolve from
the basic status it held.

There were no televisions,

so only the people who were there
saw the match.

I was one of them.

There were 200,000 people at the Maracanã.

Brazil was committed

to putting all its efforts

into stepping onto the world stage
through football.

My fellow Brazilians,
in a matter of minutes

you will become world champions.

We kept our word and built this stadium.

Now do your duty and win us the World Cup.

Brazil on the attack…

It comes to Friaça, he shoots!

Brazil score!

Everybody was
in front of the radio, listening.

Everybody was talking about it.

Ghiggia has it... He finds Schiaffino…

Uruguay score! A goal for Uruguay.

They've equalized.

Ghiggia on the right.
He runs towards the Brazilian goal…

Uruguay score their second goal!

Uruguay win 2-1.

Everyone was quiet in the streets.
It was silent.

It was a tragedy.

1950 represents

the biggest national failure.

And it's no wonder that after this,
Nelson Rodrigues coined the term...

He classified that defeat

as the biggest example
of the mongrel complex.

What he meant was
that Brazilians were used

to putting themselves down

and praising the greatness of others.

"The others are the good ones.
We're worthless."

Because a mongrel is a stray dog.

I didn't know what to say to my father

because he was crying a little.

And then I said to him,
"No. Don't worry. Don't be sad.

I will win a World Cup for you."

In a few moments,
Brazil against Sweden will get underway

in the World Cup Final.

And the World Cup Final of 1958 begins.

Liedholm scores for Sweden!

Sweden 1-0 Brazil.

Sweden are in the lead.

Now then, can Brazil fight back?

That's the question we all want answered.

Is another disaster about to happen?

Vavá finds Pelé and Pelé shoots!

What a shot by Pelé!

Nilton Santos crosses to Pelé,

Pelé controls it.

Incredible goal by Pelé!

He was a prodigy.

We used to laugh about it.

The greatest footballer of all time
was being born, right there.

That's what he was.


Pelé. Out to Zagallo.

Into Pelé…

Brazil are world champions!

It was like a dream.

Amazing, you know?

That night, I didn't sleep.

I didn't sleep because I wanted to know
if people in Brazil, my family,

if they knew about the game,

if they had listened to it.

Did they know I scored those goals?

Look at this scene!
The people have taken over!

People are jumping! They're shouting!

They're all here to celebrate
Brazil's victory

and welcome home our incredible players.

It becomes clear that Pelé is the man

who will begin to solve
the Brazilian mongrel complex.

Through him,
Brazilians learned to love themselves.

That's no small thing,
symbolically speaking.

- Pelé was the man of the hour.
- Yes, he was the man of the hour.

Everybody got there screaming for Pelé,
"Pelé, Pelé, Pelé..."

If too many people
were crowding around us, we'd say,

"Pelé's over there," and they'd go wild.

They'd run towards him,
and we'd be dying of laughter.

Girls wanted Pelé for a boyfriend.

Boys wanted Pelé as a brother.
Fathers wanted Pelé as a son.

Everyone wanted Pelé as their neighbor.

Because he was captivating,
absolutely captivating.

And his way of being was attracting
more and more interest,

and then obviously,
that character began to get much stronger.

He was seen as royalty

by Black people, white people,
multiracial people, everybody.

He became a symbol
of Brazil's emancipation.

I experienced that joy
that Pelé brought like everyone else.

The poor kids, the ones from the slums,
they could see themselves in Pelé.

They would cheer with Pelé.
They would think, "I want to be a Pelé."

It was the most promising image we had
of a poor Black kid.

I couldn't go outside.

Everywhere we went,
people would come up to me.

I didn't know what to do.

My father's friends forgot about him,
forgot about everyone else.

They just wanted to know about Pelé,
little Pelé.

And so, that transition wasn't easy.

It must have been very difficult for him.

Because at his age,

maybe all he wanted to do was to play
and show what he could do on the pitch.

Pelé! Pelé!

Before Pelé, Santos was a small club.

It was irrelevant.

Enter Pelé.

Pelé really took the club
to the next level.

It's not that he made the difference.

He was the difference.

Playing for Santos is like performing

in a perpetual circus act.

They travel the world in search of gates,

and Pelé is the magic name
that pulls the crowds.

The Brazilian kid isn't 19 yet.

He may well be the best footballer
in the world.

Now, Pelé… What's he gonna do?

He's got the third! Oh, a beautiful goal!

He's mastered the grammar of the game.

His ball control, his instinctive eye,
his feline reflexes

have bamboozled
the greatest defenses in the world.

Do you think
you're the world's best player since '58?

I've never believed
in a best player in the world.

To be the best player in the world,

you need to be better in every position
than everyone else.

And that's tricky, isn't it?

Pelé has just turned 21.

Between 1957 and 1961,

Pelé has scored 355 goals.

An amount that even the greatest players
only manage by the end of their careers.

While I am president of Santos,

Pelé will not be for sale.

He's a national treasure
and won't be sold for any price.

Santos will play Benfica
for the World Club Cup.

Sensational goal by Pelé! A gem!

Santos 5-2 Benfica.

Santos are world champions!

I was lucky to have my Santos friends,

and they gave me a lot of strength.

A lot of strength.

If you don't speak English,
don't speak to me.

If... If you don't speak English, please.

If you don't
speak English, don't talk to me.

I'm trying to work.
I'm going to speak in English.

But you guys don't let me work.

I'm doing well.

Look how well I'm doing.

Do you want to see?

Stand back a little.

Look how well I'm doing.

- Physically well…
- Did someone say my name?

He did a doughnut!

You guys are great.

Look at the sun.
You guys brought the amazing sun with you.

What a beautiful day.

Edu wanted to top up his tan a bit.

It was God who put this team together.

Am I right?

It was incredible.

We were a family.

Now, one thing that Brazil owes Santos for

is that when Santos was on tour,

we'd beat all the best teams in Italy,
in Germany, in the whole of Europe.

And they would all
be talking about Brazil.

Nobody knew about Brazil before that.

Do you remember a game
we played in Europe, I think it was,

and Lula said to me,
"Fuck, Pelé is injured."

He said, "You know what?"

"Since everyone at Santos who plays attack
is Black or dark-skinned,

Dorval, you're going to play
with the number 10 shirt."

"They won't even know it isn't Pelé."

Then I played number 10.
I started with 10,

and soon everyone realized I wasn't Pelé.

They started to chant, "Pelé, Pelé!"

Then you came on,
a bit injured, but you still played.

I think they said something like this.

"Come on.
Pelé is normally so handsome, so cute."

"That Black guy there, no way is he Pelé."

You're saying you were handsome?
Come on, don't talk shit.

You were the King, and we knew it.
We had to help the King, do our job.

This whole "You are the King" thing,

I remember when we were in Paris,

and there was a party, and I was singing…

♪ What kind of a king am I? ♪

♪ No kingdom, no crown ♪

♪ No castle, no queen… ♪

♪ No castle, no queen
Just going around the world ♪

When it comes to singing,
you've improved a lot.

That was the best thing ever.

Your voice is still the same.

Don't eat too much

so you don't get fat
for the game tomorrow.

That World Cup was to be Pelé's World Cup.

Pelé was about to turn 22 years old.

Now a grown man

and the biggest star
of the football world.


Pelé's fantastic speed
took him through the defense there.

Oh, and a great goal!
What a superb goal by Pelé!

We were waiting for him

because of what he'd done in '58.

After that, it was the second game
against Czechoslovakia.

Pelé hits the post!

Pelé is injured!

It was 0-0,

and Pelé got injured.

I didn't know exactly what happened.

I was fresh and young
and I'd never been injured like that.

We hoped he would recover
as soon as possible,

but he couldn't play
in the World Cup anymore.

It was God's wish,
and his substitute, in this case,

was Amarildo.

The headlines said,
"Brazil cries for Pelé."

Of course, here in Brazil,

Pelé's absence was a tragedy.

Pelé was speaking to me and he said,

"Hey, kid…

now it's up to you."

When you get injured

and your journey
in the World Cup is cut short,

it's always very sad.

But I tried to talk
to the players and said,

"Forget about that because we are a team,
not just one player."

Zagallo takes
the throw and finds Amarildo.

Amarildo goes past his defender…

Brazil score!

Brazil! Brazil!

Brazil are now
the two-time world champions!

After the game,
we went to the changing rooms.

I was in there taking a shower,

and he got in fully clothed
to give me a hug.

Despite him not playing the game,
he played it mentally,

rooting for us,
for Brazil to be successful.

The World Cup is over!

Brazil win again!

Let's celebrate!

The late '50s and the early '60s

was certainly one of the most important
periods in Brazil's history.

Pelé emerged at a time when Brazil, too,
was emerging as a modern country.

Not just a country
known for exporting agricultural products,

but a country of industry,
technology and culture.

A Brazil that believed in itself,
that thought it could make it.

There was no more
"Brazil, a promising country."

Brazil was here.

And Pelé didn't play a supporting role.
He was the lead.

King Pelé. Scene one, take one.

Pelé, the living room is full of people.
There are even reporters in the kitchen!

I'm becoming famous!

As a player, Pelé was born into an era

where television was starting
to get popular.

He was the product of an era.

Pelé! Ever thought
about being in the movies?

No, I've never considered it.

Pelé is no longer a footballer

but a national institution.

He loved being an idol.

And so it all came very naturally to him,

as if it was in his DNA.

This product is so cool.

His image
was that of a young, strong, healthy man.

He scored a lot.
He was the center of attention. He shone.

His name will sell
anything, from petrol to toothpaste.

He's earned a fortune.

Football's first millionaire.

- What's this coffee?
- Café Pelé.

It's delicious!

You know it.

"Where are you from?"
"I'm from Brazil."

To which people would reply, "Pelé."

He made Brazilians proud to say,

"We won't bow our heads to the British,

to the Germans,
to the French or the Italians.

You come after us.

Because when it comes to football,
we are better than you."

It was the sport that represented us.

We were happy.

We thought that democracy
would last forever and ever and ever.

Unfortunately, it didn't.

In Brazil,
more tumult as President Goulart

sought support
for his increasingly left-wing government,

but popular support was denied.

Yet when the end of his regime came,

it was through a brief
and bloodless military coup.

Under Gen. Branco,

the army revolted
and seized Rio de Janeiro.

What was the reason for the coup?

That Brazil was being overtaken
by Communism,

which was completely unfounded.

In 1964, Brazil was at no risk
of becoming Communist,

but that is what the military claimed.

There was an American plan

to incentivize dictatorships
in the Americas

in order to prevent the expansion
of USSR Communism.

And so, a new Brazil took shape.

All that joy we had felt
in the late '50s and early '60s

went down the drain.

During the dictatorship,
did anything change for you?

No, football stayed the same.

For us, not much changed.

At least, for me, nothing changed.

I've been invited to participate

in politics,

but honestly,

I've got no desire to get involved.

Football already takes up most of my time,

and ultimately, I don't understand
anything about politics.

Pelé was simply a person
who accepted the regime.

He lived with it.

They treated him well

because they knew
how important that relationship was,

so he was just someone
whose life went on as normal.

He wasn't hindered in any way.

Pelé, three years ago you told me

you were looking to settle down.

How do you feel now you're in love?

I didn't tell people I had a girlfriend

so the papers wouldn't talk about it,

and it wouldn't become public.

My first serious relationship
where I wanted to start a family

was when I met Rose here in Santos.

I was a bit shy.

But then I became friends with her father.

And to befriend her father, I would say,

"If you want, I can shine your shoes...
your shoes."

I said,
"Well, I think it's time to settle down,"

then I got closer to the family
and we got married.

I married her because I liked her,
but I was too young.

We had that friendship. I liked her a lot.

But that passion you feel
when you are madly in love,

we didn't have any of that.

Do you have any hobbies together?

Dancing, music... Popular music.

Do you and your husband
spend enough time together?

He knows how to split his time
between football and family,

so it works well.

What was it like for her being your wife?

Do you think it was difficult?

I think it was difficult.
Yes, it was hard.

More and more commercial deals
began to appear

that were outside the world of football.

So I was signing more advertising deals,

companies from around the world
were getting in touch...

I was now traveling more
for that side of my work

than I was for football.

For my family and for my relationship,
it was very tough.

I knew that.

Was it hard for you to remain faithful

with all the girls always hitting on you?

In all honestly, it was. It was.

I've had a few affairs,

some of which resulted in children,

but I only learned about them later.

My first wife, my first girlfriend,
knew all about it.

I never lied to anyone.

We're at the airport and we're waiting

for Edson Arantes do Nascimento, Pelé.

Would you like
to introduce your wife to us?

I don't speak French.

You don't speak French?

Are you visiting Paris?

Yes, I've been visiting Paris

with my wife and I enjoyed it.

I'd like to come back here in the future.

Who are the favorites
for the next World Cup?

It's going to be
a difficult World Cup for Brazil.

We're going for our third title,
and all the teams will be well prepared,

but we'll do our best to win it.

I was chatting to some friends

about the Brazilian fans

who think we've already won it.

We've even been given banners

that said, "Three-time champions,"
to sign at the hotel.

I don't like that.
I think that weighs horribly on us.

You have to let things happen naturally.

In football, you win or lose on the pitch.

- We'll win, won't we, Pelé?
- God willing.

I had this dream
of becoming a world champion in England.

I thought Brazil could win
for the third time,

and then I would retire.

Every day
is the same at the Lymm Hotel,

deep in the heart of Cheshire,

the hotel which is
the Brazilian headquarters.

But of course the center of attraction,
as always, is Pelé.

Everybody wants to speak to Pelé,

but still he keeps that smile on his face,

still he will answer anybody's questions.

Could you tell us, please...

- Can I speak?
- You speak a little English.

What do you think
about this type of defensive football

where they mark you tightly?

- Are you used to it?
- We have to be.

We have to get used to playing like this.

Football used to be more classic,
something for the fans, a spectacle.

Now teams only play for results.
Football has become ugly.

Teams are playing harder.

Thank you very much.

The majority
of players were there for the first time,

myself included.

Pelé was our leader

as he was the best player in Brazil

and in the world.

So in terms of strategy,

what our opponents did was
they created a system

to mark Pelé.

"We have to take down Pelé."

And away we go
for Brazil's first match, 1966.

Oh, down goes Pelé.

Down goes Pelé again.

Football today is different.

Football today is tougher,

there's more marking,

teams play more defensively.

Today it's common to hear,
"Let's target Pelé!"

"Put three players on him!"

There's Pelé…

Oh, it's a goal!

Pelé has scored for Brazil.

Brazil, the world champions,

have started with a victory.

A splendid game of football.

Oh, a great chance now.

He's got to score.
He has scored for Hungary!

A splendid goal.

In comes…
A lovely goal by Farkas, a great goal!

The first time Brazil have been beaten
in a World Cup match

since Hungary beat them in 1954.

It does seem that there's
a great emphasis on the physical side,

particularly so far as star players
are concerned.

The most important match
that the Brazilians have played

since they won the final four years ago.

Eusébio… A good run in there by Eusébio.

That was a good ball, and it's there!

…the outside left,

so Portugal lead by a goal to nil.

There's Torres…

And another one! Eusébio!

Brazil, the world champions,
really in trouble now.

They could be on their way out.



Oh, again... Foul!

Caught twice, actually.
The referee let it go the first time.

A really sad sight.

The world's greatest footballer
off the pitch.

And my word, at this moment,

the Brazilians need someone like Pelé.

I thought
the standard of refereeing was deplorable.

And as a result of this woeful refereeing,

we were subjected
to new levels of violence in each game.

We have, in these eight days,
more injured players than in eight years.

So it means something.

Yes, I think that this is the end
of a kingdom, let's say.


Oh my word!

And Brazil, the world champions,

certainly on their way out
of the competition.

Pelé, who, one could say,
has been hammered out of the World Cup.

Obviously, the Brazilians
can't be happy about what happened.

They won the title in Sweden in 1958,
uh, they won it again in 1962,

and they started this competition,
remember, as favorites,

but they've gone out now
in the preliminary stages.

People are saying
that this was your last World Cup.

We can't let that happen
because the world needs your football.

We need the spectacle
that you give the fans

as the greatest player in the world.
Is it true?

It is. People have asked me this question
a few times, so let me clear it up.

I don't intend to play
in a World Cup again

because I'm not lucky in World Cups.

This is the second one I've been to where
I only played two games and got injured.

It shocked the population.

And it shocked us,
the other players at the time.

Why would Pelé not want to play
for the national team

if he was still young enough
to play two or three more World Cups?

Getting knocked out
of the World Cup back in England

was the saddest moment of my life.

I said, "Shit."

"What am I going to do now?"

And I thought, "I could end my run there."

I was really sad. I was going to quit.

My God, he was really, really upset.

It was difficult to motivate him
after that, to get him back in the game,

as he was really down at the time.

What do you think he will do now?

I think he will play for his club,

two or three years more as he said.

And after that,
he'll play football only for entertainment

because he likes that, as you know.

So as far as the World Cup
and European football is concerned,

perhaps we have seen the last
of the great Pelé?

I think so.

Brazil performed really badly
at the World Cup in England back in '66.

Already under the dictatorship,

but not yet under the infamous AI-5,
Institutional Act Number Five,

that shut everything down
and was imposed in 1968.

His Excellency
the President of the Republic

has decided to implement
an Institutional Act

that gives the government

the necessary tools
to secure safety, order and peace.

It took away all possible freedom
in the country.

Anyone could get arrested

without the need for cause.

People would just disappear.

My role in the AI-5 was that I signed it.

Some people have said
that it condoned torture.

Most definitely. Most definitely.

Because man is the only animal that,
when it has power,

is capable of murdering its own species.

Médici was the dictator
at the height of the murders and torture.

He was, one could say,

the cruelest dictator Brazil ever had.

He knew football was captivating,

so on Sundays it became custom
to see Gen. Emílio Garrastadzu Médici

in the Maracanã
holding a radio to his ear.

While people
were being tortured in prison,

the general was there with his radio,

creating an image of himself
as a nice guy.

What did you know about it at the time?

As a player, did you know about that life,
that culture, those things?

I mean,

if I were to say now
that I had never been aware of it,

it would be a lie.

I'd be lying.

There is a lot we never got to find out.

But there were also many stories,

we weren't sure if they were true or not.

Because when Santos was touring,
we'd be in Europe, away from home.

We would get news,
but how could we know what was true?

Here in Brazil,
we were always told to be careful

and not leave the hotel.

I was worried.

How was your relationship
with the government?

My doors were always open.

Everyone knows that, even back when...

things were really bad.

They were always looking to see
if they could make me take sides.

I don't know where he stands
on the political spectrum,

but Pelé has never identified
with any government.

He was always above all that.

Every country needs a hero.

People need something to believe in.

The feeling of belonging to a community

sometimes overcomes even
the biggest struggles of that community.

Sports are a part of that.

People weren't paying attention
to politics.

They were paying attention
to what mattered the most to them,

which was living their everyday lives.

And Pelé helped with that.

Pele's achievements are intertwined
with the national glory,

no matter who wins.

Dictatorship or democracy.

It will profit from either.



Pelé's here with me,

and he's going to give us
an exclusive interview.

Pelé! How emotional!

The pleasure is all mine,

especially when you consider
the expectations surrounding today.

You can't even imagine how I'm feeling.

The ball for the 1,000th goal.

It's the only one in the world

because no player
has ever achieved this feat.

Pelé's name has just been announced!

This is an indescribable feeling.

Show the people
that are cheering for the King.

The first sportsman in the world
with the chance to score 1,000 goals.

Congratulations, Pelé!
Congratulations, Brazil!

We're 14 minutes from the end of the game.

Here's Pelé…

A clear penalty!

The thing that was left,
amidst all the sorrow, was football.

That is where Brazilians
would let off steam.

And the leader,
the unparalleled idol, was Pelé.

The stadium wants Pelé.

The biggest stadium in the world

is ready for the biggest player
in the world.

Here's Pelé
with the goal of the century at his feet.

I thought, "God,

if the keeper saves it,
or it hits the post and rebounds,

then where is the Santos team?"

There was no one there.

Then I look back...

and I see them all the way back there.

My legs were shaking. I thought,

"I can't miss this penalty."

Pelé was a shining star,

glowing in the black sky
of Brazilian life.

He symbolised a victorious
and powerful Brazil,

the promise of a fairer
and happier country.

That's what Pelé represented.

Pelé, we thank you eternally

for what you've done for Brazil,

and for our sport,
that is the soul of our people.

Pelé, get some well-deserved rest.

No one deserves it more than you.

All the famous people,
the idols that I met,

whenever I was told
they wanted to meet me, see me,

have lunch
or have some sort of encounter,

if I could go, I always would.

I never had an issue with that.

I was told
the president wanted to congratulate me,

so I went.

I was never forced to do anything. Never.

A lot of people looked less
at what he did on the pitch

and more at what he did off of it.

Off the pitch,
he was known for his political neutrality.

At that moment in history,
that worked against him.

I love Pelé, but that won't stop me
from criticizing him.

I thought his behaviour was that
of a Black man who says, "Yes, sir,"

a submissive Black man

who accepts everything

and doesn't answer back,
question, or judge.

It's a criticism
I hold against him to this day.

Because just one statement from Pelé
would have gone a long way in Brazil.

But Pelé, being who he was,

he couldn't just turn his back
on the president.

But then people would say,
"Hang on. Muhammad Ali, he was different."

Muhammad Ali was different.

And I applaud him for that.

They say
that every time that I enter the ring,

in a way, I'm going to war.

There's one hell of a lot of difference

in fighting in the ring
and going to war in Vietnam.

Muhammad Ali knew

that he would be arrested
for draft evasion,

but he also knew
he faced no threat of being hurt,

of being tortured.

Pelé didn't have that guarantee.


Dictatorships are dictatorships.

Only those who have lived through it
know how things go.

I don't think I could have done
anything different.

- Why?
- It wasn't possible.

"What were you doing
during the dictatorship?"

"Which side were you on?"

You get lost in these things.

I'm Brazilian.
I want what's best for my people.

I was no superman,
I didn't work miracles or anything.

I was just a normal person

whom God granted
the gift of being a football player.

But I am absolutely certain

that I've done much more for Brazil
with football,

in my own way,

than many politicians
who are paid to do so have done.



It was a period
where the dictatorship in Brazil

was at its most extreme.

It was the peak of repression,
attacks on freedom of speech,

and restrictions of movement.

And in the middle of it all,
there lay an oasis

of beauty and hope,

of positive and stimulating emotion,

which was the 1970 World Cup.

Since the fiasco
of the 1966 World Cup in England,

the national team was in turmoil.

Winning the World Cup became…

a governmental matter.

The team's staff was almost entirely
made up of military personnel.

A number of fascist slogans were created.

"Brazil, love it or leave it."

"No one can stop this country."

A patriotic euphoria spread
through the country in the worst way,

and it was encouraged by the dictatorship.

Pelé doesn't like to talk about it,

but there were messages
from the dictatorship

saying he'd better play in the World Cup.

It became something

of real personal importance
for the president.


Why? If the people are happy,

then the government is happy.

Did you feel pressure
from the government to come back?


I'd be asked to come and speak
to the administration,

to representatives, to governors...

The message was always
for me to come back.

I was really torn.

I didn't want to play
in the '70 World Cup.

I didn't want to repeat
what had happened in England.

I was unsure.

I was worried, but I also missed it.

I just wanted to be remembered.

But that was it.

It was going to be my last World Cup.

King, are you ever coming back?

If I were to say
that I played the 1970 World Cup

for the people of Brazil,

I would be lying to you
because it's not true.

That World Cup was my personal challenge.

Almost as much an idol as Pelé

is the man who manages the Brazilian team

for their build-up to Mexico,
João Saldanha.

The Brazilians are seeking
to organize their elusive greatness

and to modernize their style.

Only if they do this have they a hope
against Europe's best in Mexico.

Mr. Saldanha, it's widely held
by knowledgeable critics of football

that your style of football
has been overtaken

and outmoded by the Europeans.

Do you agree with that?

It's not easy to change
the national character.

Maybe it's dangerous.

But maybe we have time to change this.

If we have time to change this,

we can play the same as you play.

That means organized.

For those
who don't know, who was Saldanha?

The man was crazy. Crazy!

But he was a bloody good guy.

He was also demanding.

He didn't care if you were Pelé,
the King of Football.

He was still strict with him.
He was strict with everyone.

That was a good thing about him.
He had no fear.

He would just put his foot in his mouth
from time to time

and say things that weren't necessary.

But he wanted to be the big man in charge.

But, hey, if you were to ask me
if he knew anything about football,

personally, I'd say he didn't.

We'd say,
"João, what about if we do this?"

And he'd be like,
"I'm the coach. I'm in charge!"

And we'd say, "Let's talk about it."

Because he would make a lot of decisions

that we could see
weren't going to go well.

Pelé, Saldanha has shown us his plans,

and you're playing as a striker.

You don't enjoy playing there, do you?

It's not that I don't like playing there,

but in my current condition,
I can play deeper.

I've been playing deeper for 15 years

and to ask me to change how I play
from one moment to the next

just isn't possible.

There was something going on there.

Saldanha would argue with Pelé
about petty things during training.

They just didn't get along.

Given that João Saldanha
liked showing off,

he gave an interview to a journalist

saying that he was very concerned

because I had undergone an eye exam,

and I couldn't see properly.

João Saldanha was
very particular and unpredictable.

I say that with affection.
He was a great friend of mine.

But he also liked to lie a lot.

I honestly can't explain
why he made up the story

that Pelé was short-sighted
and couldn't play.

Saldanha said he was blind.

He knew how to push buttons.

He said, "It's really bad."

"He's blind.
He can't see shit."

Pelé was fuming.

Pelé has issues with his eyesight.

That information
came from the coach, João Saldanha.

How did you react to this?

I thought it was nasty

but he clearly wanted
to lash out at someone.

And he created a real storm.

Saldanha insisted
that Pelé should be rested

to preserve his strength for Mexico.

Saldanha wanted to drop Pelé,
but the Brazilian FA said no.

I said,
"Well, I will take him off for caution."

They said, "Please, please, don't. No."

In other words, for commercial reasons,

it's impossible for the manager
of the Brazilian team to drop Pelé?


You have the king
of football of the world,

the best player of all time,

and you want to leave him on the bench?

"Pelé's not playing well. He's terrible."

It doesn't matter. He's got to play!

So there were fights and arguments,

and that's when the move to oust Saldanha
from the national team began.

When the Brazilian FA offered me the job,
many people said they wanted someone else.

I call this the right to have an opinion.

I'm not a child and I won't resign.

The government pulled some strings,

not only to get Pelé back on the pitch,

but they interfered
with the whole of football.

The president and I have a lot in common.

We're both from the south,
we support the same club,

and we like football.

But I don't choose his ministers,
and the president doesn't pick my team.

That way we understand each other well.

When we watched that interview,
we were like, "Wow!"

"The shit's going to hit the fan!"

It was inevitable.

They sacked Saldanha.

So in a blaze of world publicity

at a press call at the Maracanã stadium,
enter new boss, Mário Zagallo.

Zagallo, who in Sweden in 1958,
had played for Brazil alongside Pelé.

I took over the position
two months before the World Cup.

Pelé just said that he was upset…

about what was all over the papers,

what Saldanha had said
about him being blind.

He wanted to answer his critics.

During training, Zagallo came to me
and said, "What's going on, Pelé?"

"You're not tackling when you're playing.
You're not yourself."

And to be honest, he was right.

I was concerned for myself.

I wanted to be in good physical shape.

During our first training session,

he put his hand on my shoulder

and said, "Zagallo."

"Don't pick me."

I said to him,

"You are like no other."

"I will never leave you on the bench."

"You're going to help me
win the World Cup."

And so
the 1970 World Cup can get underway.

Here in Mexico,
Pelé seeks to re-establish

the World Cup reputation
he lost in England four years ago.

Pelé is 29 now
and this is his fourth World Cup,

and he badly wants to make it
his greatest World Cup.

We have been hearing in England
that the great Pelé,

who has many millions of admirers
in England,

is perhaps not in the right mood
for the World Cup.

He had a bad time in the last one

when he had problems
against Portugal and Bulgaria.

What is the mood of Pelé now,
as he comes to his fourth World Cup?

I can happily talk about Pelé's mood

as I was lucky enough to play with him
in '58 and '62.

And now as coach,

I feel that Pelé is the same boy

that helped us win both those World Cups.

Beautiful bit of football.

And there's a chance! Pelé over the bar!

Pelé's form has dipped to a level

where you can mark him differently
because he's no longer the Pelé of old.

Oh my God!

An incredible surprise.

Plants these Brazilians
right back on their heels.

It will shake them all over South America
at this moment.

We left Brazil
without an ounce of credibility.

Not even Brazilian fans
believed in the team.

They thought
we wouldn't get through the first stage.

But Pelé now moving for Brazil.


Oh, a wide, wide, wide one.

Pelé with Tostão moving to his left.
Here's Tostão. Pelé going for the return.

This is a situation, a difficult one.

The foul given.

It's Pelé…

Rivellino! What a goal!

What a goal! Rivellino!

And then

he started to enjoy it again.

Kuna going in hard.

But it's Pelé striding away again.

Getting through a fair bit of work,
being chased a long way by Hrdlička.

Pelé is still going.

Still there with it… Jairzinho. Tostão!

Well, that was a brave bit
of running there by Pelé.

His intelligence,
his confidence... What a show.

Pelé was the pioneer
of the most fascinating non-goals

in football history.

Everyone scores
from the middle of the pitch now,

but he was the first to try it.

And he did it in a World Cup.

It was like a weight
had been lifted off him.

"The King is here. I am the King."

Gérson. There's Pelé running…

Here's Pelé! Pelé now!

Yes, there it is!
That is the touch of a master!

- Goal...
- Pelé!



Well played. Wow!

But that was just one game.

In the World Cup,
you have to keep on winning.

I think England

are the big favorites.

England are the holders,

so they have to be favorites.

But Brazil will give it everything.

England against Brazil.

Pelé, Jairzinho, Bobby Moore,
Bobby Charlton. What a prospect.

We knew that
it would be a tough game against England.

We studied how they played,
the way they defended.

Everyone said the same thing.
Whoever won the match

would go all the way to the final.

The world champions

and the former world champions.


Oh, and he left Cooper standing.


What a save!

I don't think he's lost
any of his footballing technique.

Most certainly,
his thinking ability is second to none.

Whether he's physically as fit,

whether he puts as much into his game
as he used to, I don't know.

Pelé finding Mullery very difficult.

Mullery sticking so close.

It's certainly no match for boys.

There's a lot of hard running going on
off the ball.

It could be a real test of stamina,
this match, and fitness.

This is the fellow with the left foot.

What a shot! What a save!

Sir Alf Ramsey looking
more and more worried

about this game at the moment.

Crowd really shouting
for "Brazil, Brazil" now.

Brazilians picking up the pace now,

putting some real hard pressure
on this England defense.


And here's Pelé!

Pelé gets the ball,

the defense line
immediately goes after him,

and I'm then free on the diagonal.

He had already seen me there
from further up the pitch.


It was
the most celebrated goal of my life.

Brazil leads 1-0.

And with the roar of "Brazil, Brazil"

echoing round this vast stadium,

Brazil have beaten the world champions.

It was spectacular.
A beautiful game, clean, like chess.

And we won. Fuck, it was great.

We got even more confident.

1970 was a real blessing.

It was impressive how close we were.

Everyone having fun
with each other like that,

it's not something you saw every day.


We were representing our country.

It wasn't just for us.
It was for everyone.

Every victory belonged to the people
of Brazil, and we kept on going.

I covered the '70 World Cup,
and let me be clear,

I was against the dictatorship,
I went there to cheer for the opposition.

We thought that if Brazil won,

it would bolster the dictatorship,
and none of us wanted that.

But with football,
your heart rules your head.

You forget your principles
when the ball starts rolling.

And it was impossible
not to support our team.

As for Brazil, if they play to form,

it will take a good team to beat them.

And we shouldn't want to be in Brazil
the day that happens.

We were one game away

from being in the final of the World Cup.

But the entire population
of Brazil was panicking.

"Yes, we're doing well.
Pelé is doing great."

"But it's Uruguay."

"We all know how it goes against Uruguay."

We can't forget
that in the 1950 World Cup Final,

staged in Rio de Janeiro,

it was Uruguay
who defeated favorites Brazil

to become world champions.

Football is unpredictable,

but could the same thing happen
20 years later?

One of the things
I did before going to bed

was to pray and give thanks.

I said, "Man,
will everything go well tomorrow?"

The psychological aspects
can really mess with you.

Brazil's passing
uncharacteristically loose so far.

Not the sparkling Brazil
that we saw against Peru.

This is Morales for Uruguay.

And a good ball through here.
It's Cubilla!

Right across and in! Cubilla!

This is a real problem now for Brazil.

You just lose control.

It's impossible to explain.

Pelé's just
in front of him looking for the one-two.

A very tricky situation now.

Seven minutes to go to half-time.

Brazil must worry more
and more as the minutes pass by.


Clodoaldo going into the middle
for the return and there it is!

What a goal! What a goal!


We were lucky it was 1-1 at half-time.

I gave them a pep talk during the break.
"You're not even playing."

"Now you all have to play
how you know best."

"Not like how you were playing
in the first half."

"I don't need to say anything else."

You get worried when things
don't get off to a great start.

"I will have to. I am going to."
You have to really get going.


Tostão on his left.

Pelé off on a run here.
He's got three men to beat.

He's tripped over one.
He's in the penalty area!

Is he brought down?
Outside says the referee!

I wonder
if there was just one Pelé in that game,

because it seemed like
there were three of him.

It was the return of the superman.

Pelé driving one back! What a shot!

He transformed himself on the pitch.

And winning became a goal
that was non-negotiable.

Jairzinho, Pelé…

And he's round Matosas!

It's a goal!

3-1! The game absolutely sewn up.


Pelé streaking away.
There's a beautiful pass for him.

He's round the goalkeeper.
Just let it run on!

And he scores… No!

The most magnificent dummy.

Now we know
why they call this man the King.

Why he's known
as the greatest footballer in the world.

Brazil are in the World Cup Final.

They have beaten Uruguay.

I was certain I was ready to play.

But in sport, there's always
a bit of doubt, you know?

So even the best players
in the world get nervous sometimes.

Not sometimes, all the time.

When we arrived at the stadium,

I looked out of the windows
and saw a sea of Brazilians with flags,

screaming, "Brazil! Pelé!"

It made me cry.

I wanted to stop crying, but I couldn't.

I was the most experienced player there.

The other players looked at me
and wondered, "Why is he crying?"

I was overwhelmed,
overcome with emotion. It was a release.

"Dear Lord, help me prepare
for my last World Cup."

"I need your help
for this last World Cup."

I'm sorry...

I couldn't hold it in. I'm sorry.

And here come the teams.


playing in his second World Cup Final.

The first one he played in
when he was only 17.

The stadium is completely full.

It's the biggest occasion in sport.

We are here and can only imagine
your expectations back home in Brazil.

What will the score be?

And away they go
for the 1970 World Cup Final.

I didn't care
if I scored against Italy or played well.

What mattered was that Brazil won.

God help me, I had to perform well.

Pelé leaping
right above the ball, heading it down.

It's 1-0 for Brazil.


He needed the 1970 World Cup.

He needed to score
that header against Italy.

He needed to punch the air.

A word
of warning that in every World Cup Final

since the war,

the side to score first has lost.


Boninsegna has scored! A dreadful mistake!

Boninsegna has equalized!

It had nothing to do with fear.

It was, I don't know,
a sense of responsibility.

You try to step up to the responsibility,

and then that's when
the emotion gets to you.


Great goal, a beauty!

Tremendous goal by Gérson!

Gérson scores
his first of the competition.

Twenty-one minutes
of the second half gone.

He always lifted us up.

And he gave us what it took to be...

giants like him.

There's Pelé to Jairzinho!

And he scores!

This is great stuff.

They just take it in turns
to give an exhibition.

Jairzinho, number 7.


Up goes Carlos Alberto on the right…

And it's four!

Oh, that was sheer delightful football.

I think it was just the relief.

The greatest gift
you get from victory isn't the trophy.

It's the relief.

Three times he shouted
in the changing rooms

and it still gives me goosebumps.

"I'm not dead!
I'm not dead! I'm not dead!"

What else could Pelé want?

Pelé was everything.

Pelé was everything imaginable.

It was the victory
he wanted to leave as his legacy.

To achieve what he set out to achieve,

and thank God he did it.

Pelé fused together
his glory and Brazil's.

It was like being at war
with the Brazilian flag in your hand.

His legend is our legend.

The 1970 World Cup
was the best moment of my life,

but I think
it was even more important for the nation,

because if Brazil had lost in Mexico,
things would have gotten a lot worse.

Brazil's victory gave the whole country
a moment to breathe.

The 1970 World Cup was for the nation,
not for the sport.

There's no doubt about it.

Obviously, the dictatorship
took advantage of that victory.

But the people of Brazil
have never given credit

to the dictator Gen. Garrastadzu Médici
for the World Cup title.

Just look at how history remembered
this dictatorship.

It wasn't Médici's victory.

It was Pelé's.

Thousands of white scarves

bidding farewell to Pelé

on his last game for Brazil.


He's enchanted fans
who say his name in every language.

Pehle, Peely, Pelé, Pele.

Whatever the language,

he means
the greatest Brazilian player of all time.

The love of the man for the people,

the love of the people for the man.

The kind of a hero we all want to see.


Pelé has scored!





I love!


Thank you very much!