In the countdown for Pequeno Príncipe Hospital’s centennial, completed in October of 2019, Pelé kicked off the celebrations with two special events in March in São Paulo on the 12th and in Curitiba on the 13th. The greatest athlete of the 20th Century participated, in both cities, in a conversation that lasted about an hour and brought together the institution’s supporters. At these meeting, he remembered historical moments from his career, commented about the current football scenario and showed his pride of being a part of Brazil’s largest pediatric hospital’s centennial history.
Pelé has supported the Pequeno Príncipe Complex since 2005, when he gave his name to the organization’s research institute: the Pelé Pequeno Príncipe Research Institute. In these years, he has helped bring awareness to society about the importance of pediatric health.
José Álvaro da Silva Carneiro, the Complex’s corporative director, highlighted that having Pele’s support is an encouragement for the institution to be excellent in all of its actions. He pointed out: “We knew that with you on our team we would be able to play on the highest of levels. An example of this is the partnership we have with the North-American hospital that has the best Neonatal ICU in the world. Thank you for recognizing Pequeno Príncipe’s reach and giving us so much support and motivation.”
Pelé mentioned how great the work done by the institution is. “Thank you for letting me be a part of this team. When I completed my thousandth goal, I asked that we pay more attention to Brazilian children and teenagers,” he said.
During the events, Pelé remembered moments from his career. In São Paulo, the event’s mediator was the sports journalist Paulo Calçade, from ESPN Brazil, and in Curitiba, the mediation was done by the former soccer player Alex de Souza.
A moment that delighted the participants was when Calçade asked that Pelé imagined playing a game with him and winning the match. He asked: “Now that you’ve won, you decide who you would ask to join your team: Maradona or Messi?” Pelé didn’t hesitate and chose Maradona.
Alex, Curitiba’s event’s mediator, asked Pelé to choose the best team of his career. He laughed: “Now you’ve put me in a tricky situation. The best Brazilian team was in 1970, it was more complete. In second place, was the 1972 team. It was excellent. Soccer has those kinds of surprises. It’s not always the best that wins. Santos with Pelé, Coutinho, Pepe, and Durval was, without a doubt, one of the best teams we had. There was never a team like it.”
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