Pelé was the best (to my father)

Although this comment is personal, it could have been written by millions of people around the world.

A clear memory from my childhood is my father’s fanaticism for Pelé. For him there is nothing better in the world than football, so he did not talk to me about artists or politicians, but about a huge, supernatural player, capable of doing things that were impossible for everyone else. My dad used to say that Pelé could jump to head and remain suspended in the air as if there were no law of gravity, that he could make a feint without touching the ball and leave the goalkeepers sitting on the ground deranged, that he seemed to have one eye on the neck because he gave passes without looking, that he hit the ball with his left leg as well as with his right, that he had scored hundreds of goals passing 7 or 8 rivals, that he could elude players and return to pass them to them again, that he jumped among a forest of murderous kicks and yet it used to happen. And so on.

And to me, who at that time was trying to learn to play ball at the neighborhood club, all that seemed impossible. But I believed my dad.

I say that I believed him because then it was not possible to write “Pele” in a search engine and start watching videos. Everything was more mythical and mysterious, which had its good side but it is not the subject of this comment for the time being. At the same time, my father bought old Estadio magazines at fairs where the star editors of sports journalism of the time, Mister Huifa (alias of Renato González) and Jumar (short for Julio Martínez) seconded what my father said with their analysis: Pele’s ability to do impossible things.

Until one day the neighborhood cinema, today converted into an evangelical temple like most neighborhood cinemas, announced the movie “El Rey Pelé”. It must have been one of a very low level like all the ones that arrived there, but my father insisted on taking me so that we could see it together. My mother, for her part, did not agree very much because she said that this theater was full of fleas, so she put me in the shower as soon as I got back. But the important thing is that we went and although I don’t remember everything clearly, I do retain the impact of having seen someone do everything Pelé could do on a soccer field.

Thus, I went from believing my dad to finding the reason.

Over the years I was able to verify that those descriptions that my father used to make when I was a child were true, especially watching the videos of the 1970 World Cup. body ahead of the Italian defender, but remained suspended in the air as if there were no law of gravity. In the game against Uruguay, with that feint without touching the ball that he left goalkeeper Ladislao Mazurkiewicz sitting on the ground, who looked desperately without knowing where Pelé or the ball were. And, back to the final, with that pass from the center to the right, when Carlos Alberto came running fifteen meters behind him, where it was shown that Pelé did indeed have one eye in the back of his head, because otherwise it cannot be explained. .

From the pleasure of enjoying other geniuses like Maradona and Messi, it may be unnecessary to choose one to say who was the best. But yes, at least it can be affirmed that among the billions of people who have ever played soccer, this man, the one who just passed away yesterday, was not surpassed by anyone.

The content dumped in this opinion column It is the sole responsibility of its author and does not necessarily reflect the position of Diario y Radio Universidad de Chile.

Pelé was the best (to my father)