Q+A Pelé

Aug. 01, 2005
Aug. 01, 2005

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Aug. 1, 2005

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Q+A Pelé

The 64-year-old is the subject of Pelé Eterno, which made its U.S. premiere at the Museum of Modern Art in July.


This is an article from the Aug. 1, 2005 issue Original Layout

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?

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