Pele was a veteran of the Brazilian Army, doing his military service in the 6th GAC (Santos Motor Artillery Group) in the late 1950s.
During his national service Pele played for:
. his barracks team and
. the Brazilian army team.
He won two tournaments for the barracks team:
. The one for barracks in Santos and
. The one for the barracks of Sao Paulo.
He represented the Brazilian armed forces in the 1959 South American Military Championship in which Brazil faced the Argentine team in the final. Pele scored the decisive goal in a 2-1 victory to crown Brazil the South American champion of the Armed Forces.
Pele was sent off for the first time in his career for attacking an Argentinean player.
Pele also donned an army uniform in his appearance in the 1980 movie "Escape to Victory". He played the role of Corporal Luis Fernandez. His co-stars included the Hollywood stars Michael Caine and Sylvester Stallone, as well as fellow footballers Bobby Moore, Osvaldo Ardiles, and Kazimierz Deyna.
Descanse em paz, O Rei!
© Adeyinka Makinde (2022).
Adeyinka Makinde is a writer based in London, England.