Brave new world, sweeping the past. South America introduced their own award for a Football Player of the year in 1971 – like Europe, the award was not a creation of a footballing body, but of a newspaper. ‘France Football’ in Europe, ‘El Mundo’ from Venezuela in South America. Unlike Europe, the first winner was not a tribute to the past – the first European footballer of the year was Stanley Mathews in 1956. Hardly the best player then; rather honouring the reputation of aging man, already 41 years old. South Americans voted the 24-years old Tostao in 1971 – not Pele. The present, not the past.
Stanley Mathews – a great player, but in 1956 it should have been Ferenc Puskas. Europe honored the past.
Tostao – the present and the future of football. King Pele considered belonging to the past in South America.