1958-1970, from the advent to the return of the "King"

In four World Cups, including three won, an absolute record for a single player, “King” Pelé has built his legend by dint of goals as crucial as they are splendid, of magic gestures, but also of blows received.

Mondial-1958: The advent of the “King”

For the first time, the World Cup is in mondovision. So much the better because the planet will discover, amazed, the hatching of this 17-year-old prodigy, with the face of a teenager and a sickly physique which in no way prevents him, with the ball at his feet, from ridiculing his opponents.

Injured before the tournament, he missed the first two matches against Austria (3-0) and England (0-0). His first meeting, Pelé played against the USSR (2-0), acclaimed by the rest of the team who knew in advance the offensive festival that the Garrincha-Vava-Pelé association would produce.

He then became the youngest player to play a World Cup match and went on to set another record in the quarter-finals against Wales (1-0), becoming the youngest scorer in the event.

This was followed by a hat-trick in 23 minutes against France (5-2) by Fontaine and Kopa in the semi-finals, then a double in the final against Sweden (5-2). Against the host country, his first goal, a volley after a blow from the sombrero, illustrates his incredible technical ease. His second, a head amortized in the ventilator, testifies to his cold blood as a born scorer.

In the end, his 6 goals in 4 matches largely contribute to the first Brazilian coronation. Carried in triumph by his teammates, his tears remind the eyes of the world of the kid he still is.

Mondial-1962: “King” again, even on one leg

Now known to everyone, especially to Europe, which makes eyes at him and to which he refuses, Pelé defends his crown in Chile. He started strong, with a goal against Mexico (2-0), but then aggravated a groin injury against Czechoslovakia (0-0). So much so that he cannot play any of the following matches.

It is therefore from the bench that he witnesses the new triumph of his family, this time carried by Garrincha to the top of his game.

Mondial-1966: “King” targeted, injured and deposed

Pelé is only 25 years old and dreams of a third consecutive coronation. Except that in England, where the World Cup takes place and where football was born long before it became king in Brazil, no one wants to see the Auriverdes and their playing master achieve this feat.

Under the impassive eyes of the referees, the opponents rained blows on number 10. Starting with the Bulgarian Zhechev, who however did not prevent Pelé from scoring a goal (2-0). Spared against Hungary (3-1 defeat), he reappears against Eusebio’s Portugal, but still suffers attacks from Morais.

Brazil bows (3-1) and loses its crown which finally falls to England. “I started work. Morais finished it,” Zhechev later confessed.

Mondial-1970: The return of the “King”

Frustrated by this failure, Pelé left the national team for two years. But quickly, the thirst for revenge point. Especially since he is no longer alone: ​​a talented young generation (Jairzinho, Tostao, Rivellino, Carlos Alberto) is maturing.

In Mexico, in “the most beautiful Seleçao in history”, this last World Cup is his masterpiece. He scored again in his first match against Czechoslovakia (4-1). Then it’s about showing defending champions England that the best team is still Brazil. And as opposite Banks makes “the save of the century” to push back the head of the No. 10, it is Jairzinho who is responsible for scoring this goal (1-0).

Pelé takes revenge on Romania with a double (3-2). After Peru in the quarter-finals (4-2), Uruguay is looming and with it another revenge to take on history, 20 years after the tragic “Maracanazo” of the 1950 World Cup.

The victory is brilliant (3-1) and Pelé almost misses scoring a prodigious goal after a big bridge on the goalkeeper without touching the ball. Regardless, for Pelé the best came in the final where he opened the scoring against Italy with an unforgettable header, before providing an assist for Carlos Alberto’s 4-1 goal.

Like 12 years before, he is carried in triumph by his teammates, but this time the smile replaces the tears. The loop is complete and Pelé finally crowned.

Previous Post Next Post