Inside extraordinary museum dedicated to Brazilian football icon Pele

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Pele kisses the Jules Rimet trophy in 1970 (Image: Popperfoto via Getty Images)
Pele kisses the Jules Rimet trophy in 1970 (Image: Popperfoto via Getty Images)

At the heart of a museum ­dedicated to Brazilian football icon Pele stands an amazing cluster of England memorabilia.

There are displays featuring the Queen, the Beatles, Pickles the dog, a Bearskin and Carnaby Street.

The legendary striker, who died last week at 82, is described as “the Black king the British never had”.

Even Sherlock Holmes and Scotland Yard get a mention.

A powerful quote about Pele’s brilliance has been taken from an article in the Sunday Mirror and chosen to adorn the walls.

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It was quite moving to see The Mirror named on the wall of tributes alongside Muhammad Ali, Andy Warhol, Ronald Reagan and some of the world’s greatest-ever sporting figures.

Inside extraordinary museum dedicated to Brazilian football icon PeleThere is a museum dedicated to Pele in Santos, Brazil

But the display, at the museum in Santos, includes some controversial comments about the 1966 World Cup which would upset Three Lions fans.

One states that Geoff Hurst’s second goal in the 1966 World Cup was the “goal that never happened.”

And England were “aided by referees all the way to the final.”

The entire museum, which opened in 2014, is dedicated to Pele who died last week at the age of 82.

Pele donated some fantastic artefacts including his boots and his accreditation documents for several world cups.

The displays include:

The late Queen

Inside extraordinary museum dedicated to Brazilian football icon PeleThis a special ceremonial sword awarded to Pele by the Queen (Andy Stenning/Daily Mirror)

Among the most fascinating items is a special ceremonial sword awarded to Pele by the Queen.

By the sword it reads: “Pele was the first non British person to be awarded the Football Sword of Honour … “

1966 World Cup

Inside extraordinary museum dedicated to Brazilian football icon PeleA picture of Geoff Hurst with Pele (Andy Stenning/Daily Mirror)

Pele was badly injured during the tournament after referees allowed him to be constantly fouled.

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It left a bad taste in the mouth of Brazilians which the museum makes abundantly clear: “The truth is that the English did not organise the World Cup so they could lose it.

“Aided by the referees all the way to the final they were gifted a decisive goal in the 11th minute of extra time against Germany.

“With the match tied at two Hurst took a shot, the ball hit the crossbar and landed on the goal line but assistant referee Rafiq Bahramov from Azerbaijan and the referee Gottfried Dienst from Switzerland confirmed the goal that never happened and decided the tournament.”

Beatles

Inside extraordinary museum dedicated to Brazilian football icon PelePele as a 'Fifth Beatle' (Andy Stenning/Daily Mirror)

There is a display featuring the Beatles bemoaning the fact that Pele never met them - despite playing in a 1966 match at Everton ’s Goodison Park in Liverpool.

John & Paul & Ringo & George & Pele: “The meeting that never happened.”

“The greatest icons of the 1960s (and of all the decades that followed)

could have met in Liverpool, land of the Fab Four, where the King of Football saw his dreams of winning a third World Cup title get postponed.”

Bearskin

Inside extraordinary museum dedicated to Brazilian football icon PelePicture of the Pele wearing a 'Busby' (Andy Stenning/Daily Mirror)

“British Royal Guard bearskin hat. Pele has always been admired by the British as the black King they never had. The busby however was not a gift from England but rather a hat worn for a cover article made for Realidade magazine.”

Pickles the dog

Inside extraordinary museum dedicated to Brazilian football icon PelePart of the museum told the story fo the missing World Cup trophy found by Pickles (Andy Stenning/Daily Mirror)

Engrossed in celebration England had only lost their stoic smile in March when the Jules Rimet trophy was stolen from an exhibition at the Westminster Central Hall in London.

The thief was arrested by Scotland Yard but would not reveal the whereabouts of the trophy.

When it seemed not only Sherlock Holmes would be able to find the stolen item a little mixed-breed Collie dog named Pickles picked up the scent of the precious trophy wrapped in newspaper and tossed behind a bush.

Pickles became a national hero and was entitled to dog food for life and the World Cup frenzy raged on.

Inside extraordinary museum dedicated to Brazilian football icon PeleTelling the story of the 1970 World Cup (Andy Stenning/Daily Mirror)

The museum, over four floors, is located at the centre of Santos’ historic district and is free to enter to allow as many fans the chance to visit.

I went the morning after Pele’s funeral and there was lengthy queue to enter before it had opened.

Hundreds of fans posed for selfies with some of the greatest images of Pele during his playing days.

In particular, several stopped by a huge picture of Pele embracing England legend Bobby Moore after the 1970 match between England and Brazil.

The photo seemed to sum up Pele, and the world of football, at the end of such an extraordinary week in Santos.

Brazil

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15.07.2024, 17:44 • Investigation