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Pele: The Brazilian champion

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Pelé, byname of Edson Arantes do Nascimento, (born October 23, 1940, Três Corações, Brazil), Brazilian football (soccer) player, in his time probably the most famous and possibly the best-paid athlete in the world. He was part of the Brazilian national teams that won three World Cup championships (1958, 1962, and 1970).

After playing for a minor league club at Bauru, São Paulo state, Pelé (whose nickname apparently is without significance) was rejected by major club teams in the city of São Paulo. In 1956, however, he joined the Santos Football Club, which, with Pelé at inside left forward, won nine São Paulo league championships and, in 1962 and 1963, both the Libertadores Cup and the Intercontinental Club Cup. Sometimes called “Pérola Negra” (“Black Pearl”), he became a Brazilian national hero. He combined kicking power and accuracy with a remarkable ability to anticipate other players’ moves. After the 1958 World Cup, Pelé was declared a national treasure by the Brazilian government in order to ward off large offers from European clubs and ensure that he would remain in Brazil. On November 20, 1969, in his 909th first-class match, he scored his 1,000th goal.

Pelé made his international debut in 1957 at age 16 and the following year played his first game in the World Cup finals in Sweden. The Brazilian manager was initially hesitant to play his young star. When Pelé finally reached the field, he had an immediate impact, rattling the post with one shot and collecting an assist. He had a hat trick in the semifinal against France and two goals in the championship game, where Brazil defeated Sweden 5–2. At the 1962 World Cup finals, Pelé tore a thigh muscle in the second match and had to sit out the remainder of the tournament. Nonetheless, Brazil went on to claim its second World Cup title. Rough play and injuries turned the 1966 World Cup into a disaster for both Brazil and Pelé, as the team went out in the first round, and he contemplated retiring from World Cup play. Returning in 1970 for one more World Cup tournament, he teamed with young stars Jairzinho and Rivelino to claim Brazil’s third title and permanent ownership of the Jules Rimet Trophy. Pelé finished his World Cup career having scored 12 goals in 14 games.

Pelé’s electrifying play and penchant for spectacular goals made him a star around the world. His team Santos toured internationally in order to take full advantage of his popularity. In 1967 he and his team traveled to Nigeria, where a 48-hour cease-fire in that nation’s civil war was called to allow all to watch the great player.
Pelé announced his retirement in 1974 but in 1975 agreed to a three-year, $7-million contract with the New York Cosmos of the North American Soccer League and to promote the game in the United States. He retired after leading the Cosmos to the league championship in 1977.

Pelé was the recipient of the International Peace Award in 1978. In 1980 he was named Athlete of the Century by the French sports publication L’Equipe, and he received the same honour in 1999 from the International Olympic Committee. In addition to his accomplishments in sports, he published several best-selling autobiographies and starred in several successful documentary and semi-documentary films. He also composed numerous musical pieces, including the soundtrack for the film Pelé (1977).

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Barcelona

I’m really grateful to our fans, Messi speaks after netting hat-trick

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Barcelona talisman, Lionel Messi, was given a standing ovation by Real Betis supporters, after scoring his 33rd La Liga hat trick in their 4-1 win at the Benito Villamarin on Sunday.

Messi opened the scoring with a free kick and added the second before the break after a brilliant Luis Suarez assist.

He completed his treble late on with an exquisite chip, after Suarez and Loren Moron had exchanged goals.

The third Messi strike, which killed off any late hopes of a Betis comeback, drew an ovation from the home supporters which the Argentine international says he has never previously experienced.

“I don’t ever remember a night like this [being applauded by rival supporters].

“I’m really grateful for the way the fans responded. I honestly don’t remember an ovation like that [from rival fans],” Messi told Movistar.

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Football

Sadio Mane top highest goal scorer in Premier League

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Following the conclusion of match-day 31 of the English Premier League, EPL, on Sunday, below are the current highest goal scorers chasing the Golden Boot in the English top-flight league.

Liverpool forward, Sadio Mane scored in his side’s 2-1 win over Fulham on Sunday to take his tally to 17 goals so far this season.

Everton stars, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Richarlison scored in their side’s 2-0 victory over Chelsea on Sunday to take their tallies to 12 goals each.

See top 20 of Premier League highest goal scorers so far below:

18 gaols: Sergio Agüero (Manchester City).

17 goals: Mohamed Salah (Liverpool), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal), Harry Kane (Tottenaham), Sadio Mane (Liverpool).

15 goals: Raheem Sterling (Manchester City).

13 goals: Eden Hazard (Chelsea).

12 goals: Alexandre Lacazette (Arsenal), Raúl Jiménez (Wolves), Jamie Vardy (Leicester City), Gylfi Sigurdsson (Everton), Richarlison (Everton), Romelu Lukaku (Manchester United).

11 goals: Paul Pogba (Manchester United), Callum Wilson (Bournemouth), Son Heung-Min (Tottenham), Roberto Firmino (Liverpool), Joshua King (Bournemouth), Glenn Murray (Brighton).

10 goals: Aleksandar Mitrovic (Fulham).

Meanwhile, the match-day 32 of the English Premier League will resume coming weekend.

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Football

Dogo explains as Sunshine Stars FC held to goalless draw in Akure by Enyimba

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Sunshine Star Football Club of Akure have played a goalless draw with Enyimba International Football Club of Aba in the match 11 of the Nigeria Professional Football League, NPFL, at the Akure Township Stadium.

The week 11 fixture saw the Enyimba team doing most of the defensive playing, while the Akure-based team, Sunshine Stars FC’s strikers could not prove their potency within the box 18 of the Aba team after series of chances.

Reacting after the match which saw his team drop two points at home, the Sunshine Stars FC coach, Kabiru Dogo, who described the performance of his boys as not too good, disclosed that it was due to logistic problems within the club.

“As a coach, I’m not happy for the outcome of the match, as you can see my team played one of their best games today but we could not get the goals in the area of attacking, because football is all about goals, I could not say we did well, we didn’t do well, but there is room for improvement.

“We had opportunities to bring in new strikers into the team but due to some problems and logistics within the club, we had to manage what we have,” the Sunshine coach stated.

On his own part, the Head Coach of Enyimba International FC, Usman Abd’allah, who lauded his team’s spirit at getting the deserving one point away from home, maintained that it will help in boosting the mental stability of his boys in subsequent fixtures.

“A draw is a good one for us, even though we came here for the three points because the last two away matches because we were able to grab two point each from that match. But we thought we are going to get our first three away points but we had one point, it’s okay.

“At this moment, we are one step ahead because we are now picking up because the away points we have been getting is helping in replacing those we have lost. It’s a recovery of what we lost against Lobi Stars.

“I like the result and the fighting spirit of my boys,” Usman stated.

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