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Even Pelé started in the United States in a more modest way than Messi. And the first assistance was given by a native of the USSR

Date: June 18, 2024 Time: 02:11:18

Leo Messi’s enchanting start in the US – five goals in three Inter Miami games – led us to the question: how did another soccer genius, Pelé, get his start in North America?

In fact, the analogies are quite apt: they both moved to the United States at a mature age by sports standards (then, at 34, players were considered even older than they are now at 36), but still in the status of the best in the world. And then it was Edson Arantes do Nascimento who discovered America for first magnitude stars. Truly great masters of the round ball, Franz Beckenbauer and Carlos Alberto, Johan Cruyff and Eusebio, Bobby Moore and George Best, followed him to a country that previously only recognized American football from two balls. Messi updated this list. But let’s go back to the first number of him.

New soccer boom in the USA:

Messi has already changed football in the United States. The effect of his move to MLS is simply cosmic

Cosmos made Pelé the highest paid athlete in the world. He immediately played a Union native

The North American Football League, the progenitor of modern MLS, was established in 1968 and lasted until 1984. The peak of its popularity came in the mid-1970s, and in no small part due to the attraction of brilliant legionnaires from other continents. . Especially age. The NASL’s first such guest star was Pelé.

At the age of 34 he:

he won three World Cups, two Copa Libertadores and six Brazilian championships; he spent 19 seasons in Santos; he set a record for goals for a club: 643 (only in 2020 it was surpassed, of course!, by Messi).

In general, Pelé did not have strong incentives in his homeland at the time. And here is a completely new challenge. Mission! And a very fat contract. New York Cosmos gave the legend a salary commensurate with his merit: $2.8 million a year. How could he not be tempted by such an offer? Let me remind you that already 30 players were discharged as senior citizens. And Pele in the 35th year became the highest paid athlete in the world. And a kind of ambassador of big soccer in the United States. This status, of course, also flattered his pride. He used to be first everywhere.


Photo: Focus on Sport/Getty Images

Naturally, the appearance of the King of Football caused a boom in the United States: many heard about the famous athlete, but few saw him: football broadcasts from abroad were still very rare. Introducing the newcomer from the Cosmos, the club’s media officer John O’Reilly said: “There have been superstars in the United States, but no one on the level of Pele.”

The debut of a newcomer from the state in the new team took place on June 15, 1975. On this occasion, New York hosted an exhibition match with the Dallas Tornado. Downing Stadium, designed for 22,000 spectators, was almost filled to capacity. 21,278 spectators in the stands, 300 accredited journalists and live broadcast to 13 countries of the world – at that time, a frantic hype!

Of course, Pelé came out in the starting eleven and below his favorite ten. Before the initial whistle, he exchanged the national flags of Brazil and the United States with the ‘Dallas’ captain. In a report from the game, The New York Times correspondent explained that “the 34-year-old Brazilian millionaire only planned to play the first half, but said enthusiasm motivated him to play the full 90 minutes.”

The surviving footage of the chronicle surprises with Pelé’s role on the pitch. It is very difficult to define it. In the first half, the best goalscorer in world football was everywhere: he started attacks from the position of a modern defensive midfielder, distributed passes (including backheels) from the midfielder’s place, deceived from the flanks and practically did not go into penalty kicks. unaffiliated. area. New York lost the first half, 0-2.

After the break, Pelé stopped doing unusual things and remembered his main objective. First, he gave an assist to Mordechai Spiegler, and then received alaverdy, in the form of a well-balanced canopy from the right flank to the lead.

In Pelé’s historic first goal in the USA, there was also a small “Soviet trace”. The fact is that Mordechai Spiegler was born in 1944 in the city of Asbest, Sverdlovsk Region, but as a child he emigrated with his parents to Netanya, where he became a local football legend. Spiegler remains the only Israeli to score in the final stage of the World Cup (in the 1970 World Cup against Sweden) and was recognized by UEFA as the country’s best player in 50 years in the early 2000s. .

Mordechai Spiegler, a native of Asbest, also played for PSG

Photo: psg.fr

Advanced statistics did not yet exist in the mid-1970s, but chroniclers accurately recorded every more or less notable tactical and technical action of the star. Counted: 76 ball touches, 5 turnovers, 6 shots on goal, including 2 headers, 1 hit to the post and 1 goal. And the match ended in a draw – 2:2.

In Boston, Pelé was nearly strangled by enthusiastic fans. He scored the first official goal in the US in the third game alone.

Edson failed to mark the official debut with a goal two days later. “Toronto” in the NASL was scored by legionnaires of less status “Cosmos”, all the same Spiegler and Uruguayan Julio Correa.

In the next match, the three-time world champion experienced real stress at all. After Pelé’s goal in Boston, a crowd of people rushed onto the field wanting to personally congratulate the celebrities on the initiative. The goal was disallowed, and the Brazilian found himself among an overly passionate crowd. His feet were reportedly trampled on and someone even stole a boot, as a souvenir. New York lost to the team of another visiting star, Eusebio, with a score of 1:2.

Following the Boston incident, both the Cosmos and the league stepped up security measures. If usually the order at the NASL games was provided by six (6!) Police officers, then at the match in Rochester their number increased by more than 10 times – up to 65 people. In addition, the club hired a dozen bodyguards. This time there were no incidents. New York confidently beat the local Lancers (3: 0), and Pelé scored one of the three goals. And already in the next game, he scored a double (together with Spiegler himself). “Cosmos” treated Washington’s “diplomats” without diplomacy (9:2).

In total, in his first season in the United States, Pelé scored 17 goals in 23 games in all competitions, and collected the only trophy in his third year in New York. He is the last for the master’s degree in the United States and soccer. In the final of the Soccer Bowl in Portland, the decisive NASL title, the Cosmos beat Seattle 2-1.

Why the King of Soccer did not play in Europe:

Pelé has been a slave to Santos throughout his career. Blame the president of Brazil

And on this optimistic note, the King retired from football. He was almost like Messi now, 37 months away, but Leo still has no plans to finish. It’s definitely too early for him.

* This website provides news content gathered from various internet sources. It is crucial to understand that we are not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information presented Read More

Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.

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