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With the world, Kolkata mourns the death of Black Pearl

Pele remembered as footballer and a true gentleman

Bishwabijoy Mitra | Published 30.12.22, 06:56 PM

picture by Amit Datta

Diego Maradona, Lionel Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe have all sported it, but it is Pele whose name springs to mind first at the mention of the No. 10 jersey. The legend who won three World Cups, the youngest scorer of a World Cup hat-trick and the holder of many more records had set foot in Kolkata in 1977 and then again in 2015. As the world mourns the passing of the legendary footballer, My Kolkata spoke to three Kolkatans whose lives he had touched indelibly.

Subrata Bhattacharya, former footballer


I have some really fond memories of Pele. I was the captain of Mohun Bagan when the match with Cosmos was played in Kolkata in 1977. The organisers had asked me about the match and if we wanted to play. Pele was the captain of Cosmos and everyone knew what had happened in the match. After the match ended inconclusively, there was a reception party in the evening at the then Grand Hotel. When Pele spotted me, he shouted “Captain, come inside.” He was a proper gentleman.

Jayjeet Bannerjee, actor

My love for Pele goes back to when I was a kid. In the mid-80s, as I started loving the game of football, I heard my father talk about all the great players of that era and Pele was one of them. I heard him talk about the famous Mohun Bagan-Cosmos match. I have never seen him playing live, but much later I followed his games on YouTube. A true legend, who almost single-handedly became the face of an entire nation. I am a diehard Brazil fan and it all began with this great player. Pele visited Kolkata a few times, but I have never had the fortune of seeing him in person. However, my son saw him during one of his visits.

Bhaichung Bhutia, former captain of the Indian football team

I have met Pele three times. He was one of the most down-to-earth and humble gentlemen I have ever come across. I have one of his autographed jerseys and that is my most prized possession.

Last updated on 30.12.22, 06:56 PM

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