By Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw
Pele - Edson Arantes do Nascimento – the famous Brazilian retired footballer has turned 80.
The veteran of three World Cups wins in 1958 1962 and 1970, he has dominated the world of football for more than fifty years.
He has earned 92 international caps and scored 77 goals and is just one of four players to have scored in four World Cups.
In 1961, the Brazilian Government declared Pele an “official national treasure” to prevent him from being transferred out of the country.
Amongst many honours, in January 2014, he was awarded the first ever FIFA Ballon d’Or Prix d’Honneur in recognition of his contribution to world football.
An 800 square metres street mural of him has been painted in the Brazilian city of Santos, where he first played as a professional footballer, by the Brazilian graffiti artist Eduardo ‘Kobra’ in honour of his eightieth birthday.
He has also had a colourful life off the field of play.
Is he the greatest footballer of all time?
Whether he is or is not, we salute him as a great sportsman and wish him a very happy birthday and many happy returns!