Pele shone almost as bright as the sun today, displaying the brilliance that has made him king of the soccer field.
The 37-year old Brazilian, who plans to retire after this season, delighter 21,782 fans at Giants Stadium by scoring all three goals in the Cosmos’ 3-0 victory over the Ft Lauderdale Strikers.
The 3-goal performance, the 91st of Pele’s illustrious career, came against a goalkeeper who had often thwarted the Brazilian in international competition. World Cup followers probably remember the save made by Gordon Banks, the goalkeeper of the English national team in the Brazil-England game in Guadalajara Mexico in 1970 when Brazil captured the World Cup for a record third time.
It was on a bright sunny day, like today, that Pele leaped high to head the ball toward the corner of the English goal only to have Banks lunge from an impossible position and make the save. Pele’s remark about Banks after that game, which Brazil won 1-0 was: “He got up like a salmon out of fresh water. It’s a pity that save came to no avail.”
NYT Yannis 5/16/77