Jim Rosenthal interview:
I am delighted and honoured to be able to chat with Pele in Birmingham.
These days the word ‘legend’ has been devalued but Pele wears that mantle very easily.
I have vivid memories of him playing as a skinny kid in the 1958 World Cup and also remember being reduced to tears in 1966 when he was brutally treated here in England. There was no protection from the hatchet men in those days.
I guess I grew up with Pele, but I have never interviewed him so this is a huge bonus for me.
The arrival of Pele in Birmingham should bring a smile to every football fans’ face irrespective of the club you support. I appreciate it’s been a hurtful season for you Villa fans. Pele is a remarkable icon. He is football in many people’s eyes.
I have great affection for the city of Birmingham. My broadcasting career started there at BBC Radio Birmingham in the early 1970’s. I met my wife Chrissy and in those four years I was very aware how important sport is to the city.
Pele’s appearance is a very special event and I look forward to seeing you all on Friday, June 3rd.
Pele interview questions:
If you could have played for any team outside of Santos and Cosmos, which team would it have been?
Pele: “Very good question. I played against a lot of teams during my career but the current Barcelona side stand out from the rest. They are the closest team to Santos I’ve ever seen.”
Who was the best player you ever played against?
Pele: “There are so many. It is not easy to say as every country had 2/3 great players but the likes of Franz Beckenbauer, Bobby Moore and Johan Cruyff were the best players during my playing career.”
How do you feel about the current Leicester City side? Can they win the Premier League title?
Pele: “Leicester are a huge surprise. There are no big names in that side but they are very organised and hard working. I travel lots so I don’t get to watch much Premier League football but I always enjoy the English game whenever I can.”
What was your reaction when Germany beat Brazil 7-1 in the 2014 World Cup?
Pele: “I did not have a reaction but my father was a soccer player and there was a big party when Brazil lost to Uruguay, I saw my father crying. I was with all the kids and I said, “Why are you crying?” My father said, “Brazil lost the World Cup.” I then told him I would win the World Cup for him. 8 years later, it happened.”
Who do you think has the potential to become the next big star in Football?
Pele: “At present, Lionel Messi is the best player in world football. Cristiano Ronaldo is also very good but in two years, Neymar will be the best player in the world.”
Who is your favourite player in the Premier League right now?
Pele: It is difficult to say but I love to watch Coutinho. I think he is a great talent. There are other good young Brazilians in Europe at the moment but they don’t have Philippe’s experience.”
There are famous pictures of Pele embracing bobby moore in the 1970 world cup. Was Moore the best defender he played against.
Pele: In his position, as a defender, he is definitely one of the players that I consider the all time best. Even now, with all of today’s players, he would still be on my list.
Would Pele have like to play in britain, If so, which team?
Pele: I get this question all the time. If I have to say one team, it would be Manchester United. Santos played many times against them, they have a strong name around the world. Some of the best players have come from there.
You are a big fan of the Premier League – you were at Liverpool vs Manchester United last season – It has been a year of surprises… what are your thoughts on Leicester City potentially winning the title?
For many people this is a surprise, but for me, this is football. Football is a box of surprises.
We never envisaged Leicester being top of the league, but what about Manchester United not even being in the top four?
The Premiere League is the best league in the world, so you expect this level of competition. Sometimes the top teams, the strongest teams, don’t win.
What players in the Premier League do you enjoy watching right now?
I travel so much, I don’t get the opportunity to watch too many Premiere League matches, but I watch some of the big games, the highlights, the best goals. Coutinho is a player that I follow, along with many other Brazilians that play in the league. Some young players like Harry Kane, Dele Ali represent the new generation for the national team.
Who was your toughest ever opponent and why?
George Best was always a tough but good opponent. And people always mention the story of me and Gordon Banks. Of the 1,283 goals that I have scored, they still always talk about that save!
Call Stuart for further details or to book.
0203 151 0343