From pandering to leaving, Pele smashed the “idol burden” for the sake of democratic Brazil.

The death of Pele at the age of 82 is undoubtedly bad news for the whole world to mourn.
The original king of the ball is a competitive benchmark and an insurmountable peak in the history of football. However, in addition to the numerous achievements in football, another important identity of Pele is often ignored.
During the Brazilian team’s 12-year journey of three championships, Brazil has also experienced unprecedented upheavals. With the coming to power of the military government, the national team and even Pele himself have once become a cultural symbol that has attracted worldwide attention.
However, the Ball King, who comes from the bottom of society, is not willing to be a string puppet, from pandering to compromise to determination to leave, you can also see the fighting spirit of the Ball King outside the court.
It is difficult to bear its heavy idol.
In his autobiography, the King recalled bitterly that his relationship with the World Cup was not a good one.
When Brazil first hosted the World Cup in 1950, half of Brazilians did not have enough to eat and only 1/3 could read. My brother and sister and I belong to the half of Brazilians who walk barefoot. ”
“I didn’t see the sea until I was 15, let alone a girl in a bikini. Up to now, my family has only been freed from slavery for three generations. ”
Like many Brazilians who listened to the live broadcast of the World Cup final on the radio, Pele’s happiness lasted only 19 minutes. Uruguayan player Gija’s goal reversed the hosts, and the “Maracana strike” has become a lingering nightmare for a generation of Brazilians.
The stagnant national economy and the wide gap between the rich and the poor have intensified the division. But as Pele said, this day awakened the national consciousness of many Brazilians.
“people can curse July 16, 1950, and I can understand that, because I’ve done the same. But as far as I can remember, this is the first time that Brazilian hearts have come together. ”
“on that day, people from all over the country gathered around the radio, cheering and crying together. For the first time, the whole country is congenial. On that day, we began to discover the real influence of football. ”
Six years later, Bailey, who signed his first formal contract with Santos, used his feet to get the family out of the slums.
At a time when Pele gradually became an indispensable genius in Santos’s frontline, Brazil, under the leadership of President Kubichek, entered an era of great development of “five years to 50 years of progress.” the post-war global economic frenzy swept Brazil, multinational enterprises entered one after another, and the Brazilian economy skyrocketed.
The popularity of radio and television has led to the rapid development of football in major cities in Brazil. President Kubichek’s decision to move to the new city of Brasilia in 1956 gave a boost to Brazil, which seemed to get rid of the shadow of the “Manacala tragedy” and former President Vargas’s suicide and was heading for a new future.
It was under the unprecedented desire of the whole country that Pele led the team to win the World Cup in 1958 and 1962 (injured in the group stage), which greatly boosted the nation’s self-confidence. The intrepid young king of the ball at that time was already regarded as a symbol of the Brazilian national spirit.
In fact, Pele has since become a cultural icon, as the famous Brazilian musician Gilberto Gill said, Pele is “the symbol of the Brazilian liberation movement.”
When actions are impermanent, prosperity and extremes are bound to fall. Although the prestige of Pele and Brazil reached its peak, the inflection point of the fate of the team and the country also quietly appeared.
With the corruption and inflation problems brought about by President Kubichek’s great development, Brazil’s domestic society began to polarize. Conservative President Quarodes came to power, although he served as president for only seven months. But the voice of conservative forces in the country is getting louder and louder.
Brazil’s economic boom came to an end with the rise of the Brazilian military junta in 1964 and the exile of former President Gulat. The golden age of Santos came to an abrupt end.
Although football clubs are not on the junta’s sanctions list, the once-profligate Santos team and superstars have too many unpaid bills and unpaid taxes, and under increasingly tight economic policies, although Santos can still travel around the world to play games, he has begun to make ends meet. The confusion also directly affected the Brazilian national team, and Havelange even had to pay for Garrincha’s debts in person.
In the late 1960s, with the strengthening of state control by the Brazilian junta, Pele’s identity as a “national treasure” was endowed with a new connotation and extension.
However, not all of this is commendatory. His handshake with dictator General Emilio Medici drew widespread criticism.
Pele celebrated the victory with his teammates.
Heal the split with a champion
After defending the World Cup in Chile in 1962, Brazilian sports devoted all their energies to the grand narrative of winning the third World Cup.
After all, the country that is the first to win three World Cup titles will keep the Rimet Cup forever. For Brazil, which is in a rapid economic development, taking the lead in winning the three championships is more helpful to promote the national image, and the junta has devoted great energy to the construction of the football team. Pele himself is also ambitious for three consecutive championships.
Unfortunately, what happened in England four years later was the last nightmare that the invincible Brazilian team did not want to look back on: Pele was badly injured by opposing defender Morais against Portugal and was almost lame for the whole game. unable to stop Brazil from being knocked out of the group.
Famous players such as Bellini, Garrincha, Djalma Santos and Girma who won the previous two World Cups are all old. After the match, Pele announced that if the violence in football can not be stopped, he will quit the Brazilian team and will not play in the next World Cup, and Pele has not made even one appearance for the national team in nearly two years.
The defeat of the Brazilian team is not only due to underestimation of the enemy and injuries. When organizing the national team to prepare for the game, for political purposes rather than competitive needs, the junta divided the 47 candidate players of the Brazilian team into four teams and dispatched them to play performance-oriented training matches all over the country, which made it difficult for the Brazilian team to train together with a complete lineup.
The technical committee of the Brazilian team under the control of the junta did not listen to the opinions of players such as Pele and Garrincha, which also discouraged the king. Pele quit the national team, not really want to give up the Brazilian dream of treble, but to retreat, hoping to make the junta respect the opinions of football professionals.
At Pele’s insistence, two years later, the junta finally stopped telling the national team what to do frequently and reflected on its failure in 1966. Havelange’s Brazilian Sports Federation began to gradually sum up past mistakes.
During the four-year preparation period, apart from the fact that President Medici once expressed his desire for one of his favorite stars (Athletic Mineiro striker Dario) to join the national team, the team was able to adjust the lineup and tactics in a relatively relaxed atmosphere. Pele also returned to Brazil in due course.
But at this time, the Samba team is the “most familiar stranger” to the king. The comrades-in-arms who won his first championship in 1958 have all retired, and on the Brazilian team’s list are rising stars such as Tostang, Rivelino, Edu, Carlos Alberto and Yazinho.
Although the reconstruction of the team was smooth, Saldania, the coach with a strong personality, had an irreparable rift with the core: after Brazil’s 2-0 warm-up match to Argentina in March 1970, Saldania accused Pele of not seriously carrying out the withdrawal of defense.
Even though Pele scored a key goal in the second game to help Brazil beat his arch-rival 2-1, Saldania still did not let Pele go.
Later, three months before the opening of the World Cup, Saldania, who had been fired at the time, made a series of attacks and slanders on the national team. He first told the media that Pele was highly nearsighted and that Gerson had great personality problems. He then blurted out on the TV show that Bailey was suffering from an incurable disease.
In the whirlpool of controversy, Pele’s old teammate Zagallo took office, ending all the troubles. After returning to the national team, Pele, who more and more played the role of spiritual leader, regained the spirit of king after the hijacking, leading the Brazilian team to a complete victory and being crowned in Mexico.
In this process, Pele used his personal influence to force the junta to compromise and create a good preparation atmosphere for the national team, which has become a key factor that is often ignored on the team’s way to win the championship. As Zagallo said at the championship celebration: “Pele is everything, everything you can imagine.”
As a result, Pele linked his success to the success of Brazil: “the World Cup was more important to the country. If Brazil had lost the 1970 World Cup, the situation would have been even worse, and when we became champions.” the whole country can catch its breath. ”
It is as if he is taking part in a war without gunpowder smoke with a Brazilian flag in his hand, fighting his opponent as well as himself.
Let go, no longer be held hostage
Brazil, crowned king at Aztec Stadium, flew straight back to Brasilia from Mexico City after the game, and people filled the streets as Pele did when he first won the World Cup.
The third coronation in history and the permanent retention of the Rimet Cup is seen by many as a victory for Brazilian football, but in the eyes of the Brazilian junta, it is also a victory for itself.
Medici announced a national holiday on the day the national team returned home and received the team in Brasilia, the first stop of the team’s return on June 23. On the balcony of the presidential palace, Pele and President Medici and the national team behind them were partying with the people downstairs.
This is the only time that the presidential palace has been open to the public in more than 20 years under the leadership of the Brazilian junta. The team received a bonus of $18500 each, and the media took a picture of them on the front page the next day.
This is not over, Medici also made the team’s World Cup theme song “Pra Frente Brasil” as the government’s official song and printed the government’s slogan “No one can stop Brazil” in Pele’s photo.
Former Brazilian player Pele reads magazines in his hotel room during the World Cup in Germany in 1974.
At this time, Bailey is no longer who he is in his heart. He once again became the image of the country and the concrete representative of the junta to win the hearts and minds of the people.
He believes that President Medici is a real fan, but he is not interested in, or even repulses, the government’s strong support for football, especially after the 1970 World Cup, when he saw more and more dark sides in Brazilian society.
“I learned some truth in my country,” Bailey said. “torture, death penalty and despair, so when the junta was still in power, I decided not to wear yellow anymore.”
In the city, Pele’s image is accompanied by this string of words: “Nobody can stop Brazil now, either love it or leave it.” However, this slogan, which was carefully packaged by the junta, was ended by Pele himself four years later.
At the end of his career, Pele chose to play in the United States.
In 1974, Pele made it clear that he would no longer play in the World Cup for Brazil and expressed his desire to play abroad at the end of his 18-year contract with Santos.
Both President Medici and Havelange, who has become president of the FIFA, are actively asking Pele to play another World Cup for Brazil, and even instructing Brazilian Global Radio to market an event called “Pele stay”, almost blackmailing Pele’s own decision with surging public opinion.
But what has happened since then, there is no need to repeat, the self-persistence of the ball king, northward to the “football desert” of the United States, opened a new career as a preacher.
Twenty-one years later, the 55-year-old Pele finally broke his lack of gratitude for politics, came out as Brazil’s sports minister, and vigorously promoted reforms during his three-year term.
Although he failed to witness the passage of the Pele Act during his term of office, the new policy aimed at protecting the rights and interests of young players was still formally implemented at the turn of the century and became one of the achievements of Pele’s brief political years.
(sit-ups / Yang Jian)
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