5/16/2018 10:06:46 PM (GMT+3)

Scoring through headers ran in my blood, says Pele

Scoring through headers ran in my blood, says Pele

KOLKATA: Pele paraded his skills and talent almost 60 years ago at the FIFA World Cup in Sweden.

In his maiden tournament, where the Brazilian legend scored an outstanding goal against the hosts in the final, he left an indelible impression which continued to enthral his fans and team-mates till his last World Cup in 1970.

“I’d be lying, if I said that it was all pre-planned. It was spontaneous. Thankfully, that was one of my strengths as a player: improvisation, the ability to come up with things off the cuff. Right at that moment, I had to act quickly. I managed to control the ball on my chest but, given the defender was coming to pressure me with his leg raised, I had to flick it over him. It came from God. I didn’t have time to think it through,” Pele told www.fifa.com.

The world’s greatest player’s headed goal against Italy in the 1970 final was a classic one.

“We used to work on that one in training. Not the whole move, obviously, but definitely the positioning. We had a throw-in and we knew that, instead of drifting towards the ball like most players, we should pull off to the far side and wait.

When the move went down the left flank, I waited a little further back on the right. Rivelino and I combined for that one. In the end, it happened by chance, but we’d worked on it a fair bit,” he recalled.

Perhaps, the 1970 edition was one of the best in the history, which showcased Brazil’s outstanding attacking game.

Pele said that he scored most of his goals through headers, and that was a part of his family tradition.

“My dad, who was also a footballer, scored lots of goals with his head. I always wanted to emulate him. I was never particularly tall, but I had good strength in my legs. My father always used to say to me, ‘Most players close their eyes when they head the ball. When the ball’s coming towards you, open your eyes wide and choose where you want to place it’. You have to open your eyes and head the ball down,” he added. (Pic credit: Pele Twitter handle)