Saturday, April 3, 2010

South American Footballer of the Year. Pele was voted number one. Well, the King was still King, it seems. However, there was and is doubt: Pele’s Santos was not winning anything. Pele himself was no longer called to play for the national team. Both the King and his club were increasingly regarded part of the 1960s, not the 70s. Players like Leivinha were talked about, not Pele – and, mind, Leivinha never got aristocratic status.
Looks like the South Americans awarded the prize as a tribute to the great player, not because 1973 was a particularly great season for him. Younger and more actual players – Tostao and Teofilo Cubillas won the previous years and another younger player will be voted number one in the next three seasons. As a whole, 1973 was not very great year for South American football, with many realizing that European football moved way ahead. Awarding the King was in a way a recognition that nothing really great happens at the present.

Pele in attack. Old picture of an aging King… and one more award in the name of the past.