I Scored a Goal in the World Cup Final: Pelé (Edson Arantes do Nascimento)
“I must have been coming up for 10 years old when the 1950 World Cup came, in which Brazil played in the final in the Maracana.
© Michael Donald
I remember my father and his friends preparing a lunch and a party because all the Brazilians were expecting Brazil to become champions.
Brazil lost against Uruguay and I didn’t understand because I was only nine or 10 years old.
I saw my father crying. My father crying – because it was a party – one hour before they started playing.
It was a party – everyone for Brazil, everyone wanting to party – and there I saw my father was crying.
I even joked with my father. I said, ‘dad, why are you crying?’ And he said, ‘because Brazil lost the World Cup.’
I said, ‘no, don’t cry, I’m going to win the cup for you.’
I think, personally, that individually Brazil has never had another team like the one in ’58. If you take player for player and compare them, still today I don’t think there has been one better.
The final was against Sweden, the host nation. We thought, ‘well, we’re going to play the home nation, it’s going to be a very tough game.’
And it was the easiest game for us. We scored five. I scored two – that goal that went over, the ‘sombrero’ and after the header at the end of the game.
I said, ‘could it be? Could it be that my father is watching me in a World Cup?’ I was putting on my boots and thinking about my father and my mother in Bauru.
I didn’t know if they were listening or if they weren’t because there was no television. It was Vava and then I scored the goal – Europe had never seen such a goal – that some call a ‘sombrero’.
I took it on my chest, I played it over the top of the defender and I struck it as it came down.
The ball came to my side, I stopped it, put it over the opponent and I scored the goal.”
- I Scored a Goal in the World Cup Final is at The Proud Archivist Gallery, Hertford Road, London. Visit michaeldonald.com.
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I Scored a Goal in the World Cup Final: New exhibition portrays 34 big occasion heroes
The World Cup in five seconds: Zinedine Zidane's headbutt in the 2006 final