Working on FHM.com is wildly unpredictable. Last week, for example. One moment we were laboriously uploading bits of code to the servers, the next we were taking a panicky phone call from the Associate Editor saying we had to drop everything, run across the road to a studio in Covent Garden and do an interview. Ten minutes later, we were slightly out of breath and chatting to Pelé. Pelé! We had seven minutes. And he speaks quite slowly.
Hello, Pelé. Do you still have your first pair of boots?
My very first, no. The very first pair I wore with Santos, for my first game, fifteen years old, I’ve lost them. And my first game for the national team in Brazil was at the Maracana. I was 16 and we played against Argentina. Lost them. But I do have the pair from my first World Cup in ’58.
Do you remember what sort of boots they were?
They were black. And the studs were tacked in. I remember when we travelled with Brazil we had to get the cobbler to travel with us to fix the boots between games. Next year, we’re opening the Pele Museum in Santos and lots of memorabilia from my career will be there.
Are there things not going to the museum that you want to keep at home?
Yes, some. My father was a soccer player too. So he liked to keep all my boots and shorts and shirts for nostalgia. When he passed away, my mother told me, “You didn’t know about this but he kept everything over the years." She brought out all my old stuff, things I had forgotten about. It was very emotional.
Can you tell us something we might not know about you?
Well, I have a coincidence. When I arrived at Santos, the first team kit was white. I was fourteen and I was there for a trial and I was with my father. I played with the strikers and wore a black shirt. 18 years later, when I said goodbye to Santos, I was also wearing black. I only realised many years later when we saw the pictures. It was a strange thing.
Do you still dream about football?
These days I am a little more calm, but for many years after I retired, almost every week I would have dreams about playing. It’s tough, when you spend your whole life doing one thing, a very physical and competitive thing, and then you stop. I get invited to kick a ball from time to time. I like that. But for me, when I see Brazil play on the big occasions, that’s when I feel it. That’s when I dream.
Pelé was in town to launch the Trinity 3E boot and a new range of Pelé Sports footy clothes
While you're here...