Covers: Thirteen women murdered and the death of Pelé

Thirteen femicides this December, a murdered woman every 48 hours in Spain average. Chilling. All the covers carry it except the one of The Point Avui. Some –The Vanguardia, El Periódico, Ara, El País— they sound a cry of alert while others —those of the Trío de la Benzina, of course— take the opportunity to charge against the Spanish government, delving into the division between the ministries of the PSOE and those of Podemos, who throw the dead at their heads. It takes a lot of nerve and a rotten sensitivity to consider that the main argument in this matter is the child fight between the government coalition parties instead of mourning the victims, one of them 33 years old, pregnant and about to give birth. Those newspapers and these politicians they equalize in inhumanity. While some fight and others seek to harm the government they hate, this year they have murdered 48 women and there are more than 700 at risk of death from sexist violence, as he remembers The vanguard. What a shame: 2022 was the year with the fewest sexist murders since records were kept, in 2003.

“What would happen if they were footballers”? he was complaining This Thursday in Madrid one of the participants in the impromptu demonstration condemning the murders. Somehow, the covers of this Friday answer the question why a cancer has taken to edson Arantes do Nascimento, Pelé, the best soccer player in history. In fact, the newspapers devote more space to the death of the Brazilian soccer player than to the femicides. It is an average and it is unfair, but it makes you think.

On the cover, representing the life of a figure like Pelé is a matter, above all, of choosing the photograph well. There are newspapers that publish the photo booth image of an older man who is not the Pelé who has won front page honors. They are bland and anodyne photos of ABC, The Vanguard, The Point Avui either The reason. The Pele who stole everyone’s hearts and occupies these covers on such a black day is another: the world champion, the dominator of the game, the team leader, the first footballer to become into a global icon. This is how it appears in the cover photos of Ara, The Country, The World.

“Pelé could address Miguel Ángel, Homer or Dante and greet them with intimate effusiveness: —How are you, colleague?”, wrote Nelson Rodrigues, the formidable Brazilian playwright —and a colossal sports writer— in January 1959 in the magazine sportive manchete. At that time, the soccer player, who had just won the 1958 World Cup at the age of 17, earned a salary of 40 dollars, 375 euros today, according to Ruy Castro in lonely star, the canonical biography of Garrincha, that supernatural extreme. When Pelé left the national team, in June 1971, Nelson Rodrigues himself, in the newspaper O Globe, compares him to Arthur Rimbaud, French poet who stopped writing at age 17. The geniuses do what they want, says the chronicler to justify the player’s decision, “and the ball itself recognizes it. When he enters, it alone approaches him like a trained puppy to lick his boots.”

In his definitive retirement, on October 1, 1977, the Brazilian star ended his farewell speech like this: “I want to ask you —because I believe that love is the most important thing we can get out of life and that the rest of the things pass— that say with me three times: Love! Love! Love!” Pelé, who was more than just a footballer, gives us a bit of light and heat to resist a day of such dark and cold news.


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Covers: Thirteen women murdered and the death of Pelé