PELÉ, EL MITO VIVIENTE

66

No todos los reyes en la historia de la humanidad fueron individuos merecedores del amor de sus súbditos. Miles de pueblos y enteras civilizaciones a lo largo y ancho del planeta han sufrido el yugo de monarcas insensibles y tiránicos que sólo han quedado inscriptos en las páginas de los libros de texto por su notable despotismo. Sin embargo, de entre todos los emperadores y líderes divinos que han caminado entre mortales, hay uno cuyas virtudes y vocación por el júbilo de las masas le ganaron el cariño y la idolatría incondicionales de millones de fanáticos: un mito viviente, uno de los dos mejores futbolistas de la historia, “El Rey” Pelé.

Como todo héroe mitológico, “O Rei” emprendió su camino motivado por una crisis, una que sumió a su país en la más profunda depresión de su historia. Corría el 16° día de julio del 1950, el pequeño Edson Arantes do Nascimento jugueteaba inocente y despreocupado por las calles de Três Corações, Minas Gerais, cuando su padre, Dondinho (frustrado jugador de Fútbol profesional), le ordenó que entrara a la casa para escuchar por Radio la final del Campeonato Mundial de Fútbol. Los festejos anticipados de la afición brasileña mutaron en ríos de lágrimas cuando el Maracaná atestiguó el legendario triunfo de los fieros solados charrúas, comandados por Jacinto Obdulio Varela. La tristeza, que 67 años después sigue sin tener fin, no evadió la casa de João Ramos do Nascimento, quien, envuelto en llanto y lamentaciones, escuchó a su hijo de nueve años jurándole: “No llore, papá. Yo voy a ganar una Copa del Mundo para usted, se lo prometo”.

Pelé 58

El “Maracanazo” representó la dilapidación de la oportunidad que tuvo el Seleccionado Brasileño de conseguir por primera vez el galardón más relevante del deporte que ya se había convertido en poco menos que religión en el país sudamericano. No obstante, mientras una nación entera maldecía a la Diosa de la Fortuna, Pelé ya empezaba a forjar en los potreros y las canchas de futsal el talento magnífico y el carácter inquebrantable que darían forma a la manifestación de su destino ocho años después. Para el Mundial de Suecia 1958, el astro ya había dado significativas evidencias de sus dones futbolísticos, pero cargaba menos de dos años de profesionalismo sobre sus hombros. Su convocatoria en detrimento de Luizinho, estrella ya consagrada del Corinthians, generó resquemores y críticas entre los hinchas de la “canarinha”, que serían acallados a perpetuidad el 29 de junio. Aquel día, Brasil superó por 5-2 a Suecia en la Final con dos goles de Pelé. El joven de 17 años levantó la Copa Jules Rimet y la llevó de regreso a su tierra natal para redimir a todo un pueblo que lo recibió como un nuevo mesías. El pibe parecía un Dios del fútbol. No había llegado a la mayoría de edad y ya había conquistado la Copa del Mundo con una sola mirada.

La torcida del Santos y las gradas de todos los estadios de Brasil y el Mundo se rendían a sus pies, reverenciándolo como si se tratara de un verdadero enviado divino. Los defensores rivales no podían evitar contagiarse y lo admiraban estupefactos mientras los superaba uno por uno con su plasticidad y velocidad. Pelé eludía oponentes con la misma facilidad que se lavaba los dientes, e inflaba las redes tan asiduamente como cambiaba de camisa. Fuera apilando adversarios en eslalons eléctricos, rematando seco y preciso de media distancia, construyendo paredes con sus compañeros o saltando más alto que nadie para cabecear, el instinto goleador de “O Rei” era una amenaza permanente cada vez que pisaba la cancha. Un partido sin una anotación suya era tan poco probable como un día sin sol o una noche sin luna. El resto es leyenda.

Pelé dribbleSu sangre azul combinó a la perfección con la camiseta verde-amarela de la Selección de Brasil, con la que, además de llegar a ser el Campeón del Mundo más joven de la historia en Suecia ´58, se coronó en Chile 1962 y México 1970, convirtiéndose en el primer (y único, hasta el día de hoy) futbolista con 3 Mundiales en su palmarés. Dos Libertadores, dos Intercontinentales y un desfile interminable de torneos locales y regionales con el Santos, además de un total de 760 goles oficiales, fueron las joyas de una carrera digna de la realeza.

El reinado de Pelé encontró su final en 1977 entre los campos de juego de la incipiente Liga de Estados Unidos, a la que puso en el mapa internacional jugando para el Cosmos de Nueva York. Sus actitudes y posturas políticas posteriores al retiro lo convirtieron en un personaje poco simpático para el imaginario colectivo argentino, en el cual siempre será el segundo mejor futbolista de todos los tiempos, detrás de Diego Armando Maradona. Para el resto del universo, sus hazañas deportivas, la extensión de su predominio absoluto y la magia que desparramó sobre el verde césped durante más de dos décadas, son argumentos de sobra para erigirlo como el Rey incontestable en la historia del Fútbol Mundial, y una figura adorada cual santo ídolo religioso por sucesivas generaciones de fieles brasileños.

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Comunicador social antisocial. Inconformista crónico. Profesor de Periodismo Deportivo. Fundamentalista de Messi.

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