Pelé Could Play Club World Cup For Santos
Club President Luis Alvaro de Oliveira Ribeiro has spoken before of his desire to register Pelé in the club's squad for the 2011 FIFA Club World Cup and has now taken these proceedings to the next stage, receiving the approval of coach Muricy Ramalho.
The consequence of the decision will be that Santos are effectively deprived of one squad place for the tournament, all for the sake of a marketing gimmick. Or, at least, this will be the argument of opponents to the move.
Pelé, who inspired Santos to their only previous Copa Libertadores triumphs, will now be contacted once more by Ribeiro, with his agreement the only obstacle between Pelé and the tournament in Japan.
However, Ribeiro is confident of the legend's participation based on their previous conversations.
"Pele was positive and promised to 'train to get fit and participate in a few minutes', if possible," said the President talking to Radio Globo.
"I have talked to Muricy. Now the only stumbling block is Pelé. He will be registered with the number 10 shirt."
Earlier, in a separate interview with Globe Esporte, Ribeiro had explained his reasoning.
"At the time of my speech [in the board meeting], it struck me that Pele was a three time World Champion (1958, 62 and 70) with the national team, but only twice with Santos (62 and 63 - Intercontinental Cup).
"Now, 48 years later, he will have the opportunity to be a three time World Champion at club level also, as part of the Santos team."
It has long since been thought that 'the King' was lost to the world of top-flight football. Maybe, just maybe, it is not the case.
Long live the King!