By Sujit Bhar
The death of Edson Arantes do Nascimento, or Pele, on December 29 in Sao Paulo is a huge loss for football. This brings back memories of when Pele, in the penultimate match of his long career, played with New York Cosmos in a match against Mohun Bagan Athletic Club of Calcutta (as Kolkata was known then). That match, on September 24, 1977, ended in a 2-2 draw, and the Indian club team almost clinched victory.
The result is unimportant. What remains in memory – I got to see this as a member of Mohun Bagan Club – are the unbelievable technical nuances that the superstar showed onfield. He was 38 then, past his prime – he joined New York Cosmos after he retired from international football – but his footwork, his energy and his unbelievable skills were all on show.
Pele was in Kolkata again, in 2015, when he landed in New Delhi, where he witnessed the Subroto Cup U-17 final, before travelling to the football city on a week-long tour. But that was a muted tour.
Days before he arrived in Calcutta in 1977 – a huge, cheering crowd waited by the roadside as Pele and the Cosmos team travelled by bus to their hotel in central Calcutta – local media houses described his style of play, his special moves, and we, readers gobbled up each sentence. At the ground, it was a feast.
Eden, basically a cricket ground, was full to the brim – at least 80,000 – waiting for the star-studded Cosmos team, which also included Brazilian World Cup winner Carlos Alberto and Italian Giorgio Chinaglia. Mohun Bagan had players such as former India captain Subrata Bhattacharya, Pradeep Chowdhury, Shibaji Banerjee, Surajit Sengupta, Mohammed Habib and Akbar Ali.
We thought it would be a fun game, but Mohun Bagan players were determined to show off to world stars that India too was a powerhouse in the sport. I will not forget the incredible save that Shibaji Banerjee made off the boots of Pele, virtually risking his life. Shibaji never forgot this moment as long as he lived.
Each move was spectacular. His bicycle kick was not evident, but that special move in which Pele would bounce the ball off his own defender’s back to play dummy on his opponent, was. The player he used this time was Chinaglia. Chinaglia was not used to this special technique, and was somewhat startled, but Pele had achieved his purpose by then.
The big takeaway from this, for me, a football buff, was the sheer presence of a giant before me. More than that, it was Pele’s fitness at that age and his humility that floored me, as it did to Mohun Bagan players.
In my long journalistic career, I have met and interviewed several greats of sport around the world. But the memory of this day has stayed bright. The news of the death of Pele brings back these items from the past; memories that make one smile.
FIFA Awards 2022: World Cup winner Lionel Messi and Alexia Putellas win Best Player titles
Lionel Messi won the FIFA Best Men’s Player award for the second time.
Lionel Messi has added another achievement to his account. Messi was voted FIFA’s best male player for the year 2022. Messi made Argentina the World Cup champion, ending a 36-year drought. He scored seven goals in this tournament.
On the other hand, Alexia Putellas won the female best player award at the FIFA football awards 2022.
Lionel Messi’s compatriot and coach Lionel Scaloni was named the best male coach. Scaloni guided the South Americans to the World Cup title. Messi, 35, left behind French forward Kylin Mbappe and Karim Benzema for this award. Apart from making Argentina the World Cup champion, Messi scored 27 goals in a total of 49 matches for the country and club in 2021-22.
What did Messi say on receiving the award?
Lionel Messi won the FIFA Best Men’s Player award for the second time. He said, ‘This is wonderful. It has been an amazing year and it is an honour for me to be here to receive the award. I wouldn’t be here without my teammates. I have achieved my long held dream. Only a few people achieve this and I feel fortunate to have done so.’
Lionel Scaloni, the coach who won Argentina the World Cup title, beat Pep Guardiola and Carlo Ancelotti at the ceremony in Paris. Guardiola led Manchester City to their sixth Premier League title. At the same time, Ancelotti had given Real Madrid the Champions League title.
England manager Sarina Wigman was voted the best women’s coach of the year. He guided England to the European Championship title last year. It was the team’s first major trophy. Aston Villa and Argentina’s Emiliano Martinez won the best goalkeeper award while England’s Mary Earps won the women’s award. Barcelona’s Alexia Putelas was voted the best female player of the year.
Cristiano Ronaldo shares picture with rival Lionel Messi, says nice to see some old friends
Only recently the news of Cristiano Ronaldo’s transfer took the footballing world by surprise as he announced that he will be taking his talents to Saudi Arabia’s league club Al-Nassr. The news of Ronaldo transferring to Al-Nasar left many fans heartbroken as the 37 year-old striker’s move to Saudi Arabia was speculated as him turning toward the phase of retirement and stepping away from playing football in big leagues.
What many predict to be the last face-off between the two of the greatest players, lived up to its name as Portuguese football star Cristiano Ronaldo went head-to-head with Argentinian striker Lionel Messi on January 19. The friendly match between Al-Nassr and Paris Saint Germain saw the two GOATs playing against each other.
After the match, Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo shared a series of photos on Instagram in which he was seen doing the iconic celebration, as well as scoring the penalty during the match. Aside from the goals, the infamous number 7 also shared the photo of him hugging his arch rival and one of the greatest football players, Lionel Messi, during the match. Ronaldo also shared the picture of him being awarded the Man Of The Match trophy following the clash.
The post was shared by Ronaldo with a caption that stated that he was so happy to be back on the football field. The Portuguese star also added that he is happy to be on the score sheet as well. The 37-year-old also shared that he was happy to see some old friends, implying that it was great to see Messi and a few other former teammates from his stint in Real Madrid.
See Post here:
The match concluded in a 5-4 win for PSG, however, the match became a riveting clash for the fans to watch as Messi found himself in the scoresheet in the opening minutes of the match, however, Ronaldo answered back with a penalty goal. Ronaldo also scored another goal before coming off. Subsequently after Ronaldo’s substitution, Messi was also taken off the field.
Only recently the news of Cristiano Ronaldo’s transfer took the footballing world by surprise as he announced that he will be taking his talents to Saudi Arabia’s league club Al-Nassr. The news of Ronaldo transferring to Al-Nasar left many fans heartbroken as the 37 year-old striker’s move to Saudi Arabia was speculated as him turning toward the phase of retirement and stepping away from playing football in big leagues such as Champions league, Premier League and what not.
Ronaldo signed a 2 and a Half year contract till 2025 with Al-Nassr on a free transfer following the number seven’s fallout with Manchester United. The portuguese star is set to earn an unprecedented amount of wages as he will earn 1800 crore rupees a year.
Football suffers another great loss, former Italy striker Gianluca Vialli dies at 58
The Italian striker became the inspiring change for the Blues as he came as the player-manager in to lead Chelsea to victory in League Cup, UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup and UEFA super cup.
Football world suffers another huge loss after Pele as former Italy striker Gianluca Vialli has died due to pancreatic cancer. The heartbreaking news of the former Sampdoria striker’s death came to the fore after his former club announced it on social media.
According to reports, in 2017 Vialli was diagnosed with cancer due to which he also took a temporary leave from his role with the national team in December owing to his health.
Gianluca Vialli Career
Vialli, joined the old lady in Italy after completing his iconic stint at Sampdoria in 1992 with a record transfer signing money at the time for 16.5 million euros. Luca continued to shine in Juventus as well as he successfully led the team to win the Champions league.
In 1996, Vialli took his talent to England to showcase it for the blues as he joined Chelsea in 1996. Subsequently after, the Italian transitioned to become a player-manager in 1998 after the sacking of Ruud Gullit. The Italian striker became the inspiring change for the Blues as he came as the player-manager in to lead Chelsea to victory in League Cup, UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup and UEFA super cup.
Gianluca was in the coaching staff assisting his former teammate in the Italy team which went on to win Euro 2022.
After the news of the Italian striker’s death surfaced, the fans on twitter joined hands to pay regards to the player’s legacy and what he achieved. One user wrote and highlighted that The Italian phenom had a penchant for bicycle kick back in his days. He further deemed Luca to be a player that knew no bounds when it came to exciting the crowd.
One user wrote rest in peace to the late Italian footballer, Gianluca Vialli. The user further added that the former Juventus player was one of his favorite Italian soccer players. The user also added that the Images of Vialli with Roberto Mancini after Italy won Euro 2020 at Wembley will always remain a really special moment for him.
Not only the fans, but more people from football fraternity paid tribute to the late striker as Former Chelsea striker and current AS Roma manager paid tribute to Luca along with the Roma team.