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Pele refused to shake hands with the Indian veteran… Then what happened that he hugged?

Shyam Thapa On Pele: Former Indian football team player Shyam Thapa has remembered the legend Pele in this way. Pele, who had been suffering from cancer for some time, died late on Thursday at a hospital in Sao Paulo. He was 82 years old. Famous Pele came to India for the first time in the year 1977 by the name of Black Pearl.

Pele died at the age of 82. (AP)

  • Pele was called the ‘god’ of the football world
  • Pele breathed his last at the age of 82 in a hospital in Sao Paulo
  • Legendary Indian footballer Shyam Thapa remembers the days of 1977

New Delhi. Remembering Pele, former Indian football team player Shyam Thapa has said that he does not have words for how to praise the ‘God’ of football. Pele died late Thursday night in a hospital in Sao Paulo. On Pele’s death, Thapa remembered the day in 1977 when he got a chance to play with this great player.

Pele came to Kolkata for the first time in 1977 when the whole city was colored in his color. Years before Diego Maradona’s ‘Hand of God and Lionel Messi’s unfulfilled dream of winning the World Cup came true, the Brazilian stalwart had made Bengal crazy about this beautiful game. In a special conversation with Times of India, Shyam Thapa said, ‘In 1977, he was playing for East Bengal. At that time I was in good form. Then Mohan Bagan gave me a big offer. This was such an offer that I had not imagined. I was sure that my club would not leave me. It so happened that when East Bengal came to know about me, they stopped me by giving me money as expected. I was happy with my club.

I left the club to play with people
Three-time World Cup winner Pele, playing for the New York Cosmos against Mohun Bagan on 24 September 1977 at a packed Eden Gardens, was impressed by the skills of the club’s players. Thapa said, ‘After some time the top official of Mohun Bagan, Dhiren Dey called me. I thought he was about to give me a new offer. But when they told me look we are inviting Cosmos and Pele to play in Kolkata. I was surprised to hear this. It was hard for me to believe it but it was true. It was a good chance for me to play with Pele. I ran away from the East Bengal camp and joined the Mohun Bagan club. Money was not the issue here. It was in my mind that my dream of playing with Pele was coming true. 
Shyam Thapa, popularly known as ‘Bicycle Kick’, said that the first goal in that match was scored by Cosmos. After this, Thapa scored a goal to equalize the team. Mohun Bagan held Cosmos Club to a 2-2 draw. After this match, dinner was organized in the night, where both the teams were present. Pele was introduced to all the players. Thapa said that when I told Pele that I scored against your team, he said that I will not shake hands with you. After that, he pulled me towards him and hugged me. I can never forget this moment. At that time felt that I am in some other world.



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