Sadly, yesterday the world mourned the death of soccer legend Edson Arantes do Nascimento, Pelé. The King of ‘fútbol’ passed away at 82 after an illness that kept him hospitalized for the past few weeks.
During his extraordinary career, he visited the country as a Santos FC player and faced the National Team, Deportivo Saprissa, and Club Sport Herediano. He played six matches and scored five goals.
Pelé’s first visit
In January 1959, he was in the country for the first time, months after he was crowned world champion. The Brazilian superstar was 18 years old, and his arrival and presence stunned the whole country. Santos also had other legends, such as Pagao, Dorval, Pepe, and Zito.
On January 15, Santos challenged Saprissa at the National Stadium. The result was 3-1, and Pelé scored two goals.
After, Santos faced the Costa Rican National Team with a 2-1 victory for the Brazilian club. Pelé did not score that day and only played 19 minutes.
The second trip
In 1961, Pelé came back to the country. Santos faced Costa Rican teams Saprissa and Herediano. He scored a goal in a 7-3 victory over Saprissa and another in the 3-0 win against Herediano.
A packed National Stadium witnessed a spectacular exhibition by Pelé and his teammates. Nothing could compare to watching the King play, as his skills and talent delighted thousands of soccer fans.
“O Rei” came back to Costa Rica
Santos returned to Costa Rican territory in 1972. On February 2, Pelé’s team played against Saprissa in a match that ended in a 1-1 draw. Pelé’s last game in the country occurred on February 18, when the Brazilians beat Saprissa 5 to 3.
The soccer legend and superstar scored a goal in that match and enchanted his fans with his extraordinary style.
His final visit to the country
However, his final trip to the country was in 1997. “O Rei” was appointed as Brazil’s Extraordinary Minister of Sports and was invited to participate in the inauguration of the Desamparados National Sports Games.
He also attended the inauguration ceremony of the Hernán “Cuty” Monge Sports Complex. Pelé left a mark in the memory and hearts of thousands of Costa Ricans, who fell even more in love with soccer and enjoyed the magic of the man who is considered the King and best player in the history of soccer.