Pele recalls ‘saddest moment of his life’ which nearly made him give up aged 25

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Brazil legend Pele has revealed being knocked out of the 1966 World Cup in England was the saddest moment of his life.

Pele, who remains one of the greatest footballers to ever grace the game, has relived his glory days in a new Netflix film which was released on Tuesday.

The documentary delves deep into his legendary career for Brazil, which saw him register 77 goals in 92 games and clinch three World Cups.

However, he did not always enjoy success at football’s most prestigious tournament, naming the 1966 World Cup as his lowest moment when holders Brazil were dumped out in the group stages.

“Getting knocked out of the World Cup in England was the saddest moment of my life,” Pele says in the Netflix documentary.

After suffering a decisive 3-1 defeat against Portugal, he vowed to never participate in the World Cup again.

Footage from 1966 shows a 25-year-old Pele saying: “I don't intend to play in any more World Cups, because I'm not lucky in them.

“This is the second World Cup where I have been injured after only two games.”

He would of course go on to reverse the decision and inspire Brazil to another World Cup triumph in Mexico four years later.

Before that tournament, however, there was concern that Pele’s form had dipped, while there was also no love lost between him and manager Joao Saldana.

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  • “He wanted to be the big man in charge but if you were to ask me whether he knew anything about football… personally, I'd say he didn’t,” Pele recalls.

    One of the most bizarre incidents came when Saldana tried to claim Pele’s sight had gone in an eye test in order to have him removed from his World Cup squad.

    The football legend fumes at this “dirty trick” in the documentary.

    Brazil eventually went on to beat Italy 4-1 in the final at that tournament, with Pele getting on the scoresheet and registering two assists.

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    • Netflix
    • World Cup

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