SAO PAULO — Three-time world champion Pele was at the forefront of celebrations as his former Brazilian club Santos celebrated its centenary Saturday.
Pele spent two decades at the club where he made his name and arrived by helicopter to lead the cheerleading at its Vila Belmiro Stadium while current star Neymar was also on hand along with dozens of children who were also allowed onto the pitch to enjoy the occasion at close quarters during a special gala match.
“This moment is a gift from God,” said Pele, 71, who made his club debut in 1956 and continued in their black and white colors until 1974 before heading for the US league with New York Cosmos prior to retirement.
“All this happiness, this moment of pleasure — it’s not just about me. Many suffered with me — I thank everyone,” said an emotional Pele, Globo daily’s web portal web G1 reported. The club’s prodigal son arrived clutching the Copa Libertadores trophy which Santos won for the third time last season. — AFP