50 years after Pelé's 1000 goal
He wore his shoelaces untied and his socks halfway up. The warm voices of the dressing room a few minutes before the match were lost with the roar of the stands of the mythical Maracana stadium. On the radio, which was telling the chronicle of a day for history, it was said that there were just over 65,000 spectators who that Wednesday, November 19, 1969, had come together to see the thousandth goal of the incomparable Pelé, although, to tell the truth, the whole world was waiting for the King's feat.
The idol rose to his feet and, after a brief sigh, took to the pitch. Of the many things he thought as he walked down that kilometer tunnel, only one thing is certain: his mind was not on what happened during the last match in Salvador de Bahia, when bad luck, as unknown as it was alien, stole his glory and prevented him from scoring the longed-for goal. Then, from that moment on, the ghosts were recurrent and cruel, capable even of making those who had never doubted doubt.
It was a warm night in Rio de Janeiro. Vasco da Gama and Santos painted the stands of the Brazilian giant in black and white. As soon as Pelé climbed the stairs and stepped onto the pitch, a unified roar fell from the stands, regardless of the colors, as a confirmation of those things that only geniuses have, capable of uniting two worlds that often and under normal conditions live in conflict.
The whistling Manuel Amaro, perfectly dressed in black, started the game in front of the noise, however, the party was waning with the running of the minutes, and what used to be euphoria gradually became uncertainty. The ghosts inside the idol's head grew with every missed opportunity. Even the tragedy seemed more alive than ever when one of those shots that almost always enter that time did not enter, and the ball hit the crossbar before a shout contained.
Then it took 78 eternal minutes for the world to come to a complete stop. It was in an isolated move when Pelé was shot down inside the area and the referee did not hesitate to score the penalty. The striker stopped immediately, took the ball, placed it in the blur and at a slow pace began to write history.
The Argentine Edgardo Aranda simulated a giant under the goal. Pelé's shaky legs looked like paper shaken by the wind. Behind the goal, the image of hundreds of journalists and photographers piling up to portray the moment realized the madness of Maracana.
Then Pelé took another deep breath and in the act, he discovered himself human again. He never felt nervous, almost responsible for the people's heartbeat. Slowly the idol took flight and the race pretended to stop, but everything was already said. On the right leg, he defined the left post of Andrada, who hit in his cast, but was slightly short for the rejection. The ball, with the custom of those who have done so many times, kissed the net and put an end to the martyrdom. The goal by Edson Arantes does Nascimento had arrived.
Pelé, more for reflection than for anything else, went to look for the ball at the back of the goal, while hundreds of journalists and photographers invaded the field in search of their first impressions. Then came another display of greatness. Far from what everyone imagined, the Brazilian's words cried out for help for needy children. It was the desire of the man before that of the player.
The ovation was deafening. The whole stadium was taken over by madness. Thousands of fans entered the stadium. The idol was raining shirts from both teams with his name and the number a thousand on his back. Wrapped in tears, Pelé walked on his shoulders through the mysterious corners of the Maracana, while repeatedly kissing the ball that minutes before had made him so happy.
Almost half an hour later, Manuel Amaro finally ordered the restart of the match, but the rest was anecdotal. Santos took the win with a 2-1 score.
What do you think about the most decisive moments of our lives? According to Pelé, the real secret is not to think, but to feel, even if it's nerves.
Source: El Sol de Mexico