Meeting Pele

Today was a great day.  I got to meet Pele and listen to him speak.  He shook my hand hand said it was great to meet me and thanked me for coming to listen to him.  Of course Pele didn’t know who I was but he was such a humble and appreciative guy he thanked everyone personally, referring to us as his football family.   He spoke about Nelson Mandela and the great influence Mandela had on him.  Pele also spoke about Robert F Kennedy and what a good man he was as well.  He was happy that he came to America to play for the NY Cosmos and was able help give soccer a push in this country.  He mentioned in 1966 England was the only team they were worried about playing in the World Cup because they were so good.  He touched on what a great player Eusebio was from Portugal.  Pele said Eusebio was much like Christiano Ronaldo in terms of style and players.  Messi and Ronaldo he thought were the best two players in the game today but different players.  Ronaldo he said was an outright striker, while Messia can come back into the midfield and be effective.  The number of big stars is less today as he struggled to name five modern players who are superstars.  Pele reeled of a list of like ten or more from his days.  This summers world cup he thinks Brazil can win it.  However, he see’s a bit of a challenge getting the forwards the ball, but the defense is very strong.  If he had to play on a team today it would be Barcelona.  He felt the way they played and the skill levels were similar to his 1970 World Cup Team.  For the American fans he dos feel we need to spend more $ to attract big names for the MLS.  I listened to him for about an hour and wish it could have been longer.  When people talk about sports needs role models, Pele is the ultimate role model.  There was no entourage or people needing to cater to his every request.  Pele was a cool, relaxed, happy, compassionate and humble guy that enjoying meeting everyone.  He really is what every athlete should aspire to be.