– Pele has described Brazil’s ouster in the 1966 World Cup as the lowest in the career
– The five-time world champions failed to progress from their group in England back then
– The 80-year-old won three world titles before hanging his international boots
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Brazil legend Pele is no doubt one of the greatest football stars in the world but in spite of his greatness, he had some low moments in his career.
The 80-year-old won the FIFA World Cup three times but missed out on the 1966 edition in England following their ouster at the group stage.
They finished third on the table with two points behind Portugal (6 points) and Hungary (4 points) having won the title back to back before the ’66 edition.
Pele has now described that period as the lowest moment of his career and he almost gave up when he was just 25 years of age.
The former Santos superstar revealed in the new Netflix film which was released on Tuesday, February 23. The documentary delved deep into his legendary career for Brazil, which saw him score 77 goals in 92 games according to Daily Star. Pele says in the Netflix documentary:
“Getting knocked out of the World Cup in England was the saddest moment of my life.”
Footage from 1966 shows a 25-year-old Pele saying:
“I don’t intend to play in any more World Cups, because I’m not lucky in them. This is the second World Cup where I have been injured after only two games.”
He would of course go on to reverse the decision and inspire Brazil to another World Cup triumph in Mexico four years later.
Before that tournament, however, there was concern that Pele’s form had dipped, while there was also no love lost between him and manager Joao Saldana. Pele recalls:
“He wanted to be the big man in charge but if you were to ask me whether he knew anything about football… personally, I’d say he didn’t.”
One of the most bizarre incidents came when Saldana tried to claim Pele’s sight had gone in an eye test in order to have him removed from his World Cup squad.
The Portuguese scored a brace in the Bianconeri’s 4-1 over Udinese as the 35-year-old made it 758 career goals displacing the great Pele by one goal.
There has always been controversy regarding Pele’s number of goals which was not officially documented as the football legend adjusted his bio to 1,283 goals on Instagram.
Oluwatomiwa is a sports editor with Legit.ng. He has over eight years of field and office experience in the media industry. He graduated from the Nigerian Institute of Journalism in 2014 with HND in Mass Communication. Connect with him on Twitter @TomiwaBabalola.