SI: The film begins, "The most famous man in the entire world is the Brazilian Pelé." Do you feel that's true?
Pelé: No, I don't feel it. I am sure! Pelé is connected with the biggest sport in the world. Football is the biggest family in the world.
SI: What is it like seeing footage of yourself so young?
July 31, 2005
Pelé: I get moments where I cry because I don't remember some goals. The first goal I scored in Maracana [a stadium in Rio de Janeiro] against Argentina, I was 16. I said, "My God, where did you find this goal? I am not this guy. This is a short guy, a very thin guy."
SI: How was playing in the 1958 World Cup in Sweden?
Pelé: Amazing. It was my first time traveling outside of Brazil. We were at a hotel that had a beautiful lake. And all the girls were topless! I was 17 years old, and I ran past hiding my eyes. I didn't want to look because it's not good for training. [Laughs.]
SI: You've said that if you were not a soccer player, you would be an actor.
Pelé: Yes, but when I was young I wanted to be a pilot. Now I travel more than any pilot.
SI: Is there a person you haven't met on your travels, but would like to?
Pelé: Of the people I've met, I was struck with Martin Luther King. And Nelson Mandela. I had the opportunity to stay with him. But the one who I did not have the opportunity to talk with was Gandhi. I am sorry I did not meet him.
SI: How do you feel about getting older?
Pelé: I have a joke about aging. I was born in a town called Three Hearts. I tell everybody I am a man of three hearts. That means I'm going to last 200 years. Be prepared to follow me. --Richard Deitsch