Pele and Sir Bobby Charlton.

Sir Bobby wishes Pele a happy 80th birthday

Friday 23 October 2020 14:09

Manchester United icon Sir Bobby Charlton has paid a personal tribute to Pele, his friend and fellow legend of world football, to celebrate the Brazilian’s 80th birthday today.

Although they never met at domestic level, the two were opponents as internationals with England and Brazil during the 1958, 1962 and 1970 World Cups, tournaments which were all won by Pele's side.

As global figures of the game, Sir Bobby and Pele have remained friends and a warm welcome has always been extended to the South American hero whenever he has visited Old Trafford. 

Those visits memorably included one in April 1998 to officially open a new and improved Old Trafford Museum, to which he temporarily loaned his three World Cup winners' medals. Pele was also back at the Theatre of Dreams in 2012, with New York Cosmos, for Paul Scholes’s testimonial. 

In a message to mark Pele’s 80th birthday, Sir Bobby said: “I have said it before and I will say it again, I sometimes feel as though football was invented for this magical player. A phenomenal footballer and one of the nicest people you could ever wish to meet. Happy 80th birthday, Pele – wishing you good health, happiness and many happy returns.”
Denis Law, another member of our esteemed United Trinity, has also wished Pele well and explained why the Brazilian was so revered as a player.

“Pele was an unbelievable footballer, he had style, grace, flair and made everything look so easy,” says the Scot. “The fact that he was only 17 when he played in a World Cup final speaks for itself. 

“The precision in the way he played made him such a joy to watch. For all his football abilities, he is also a good man with a great presence. I would like to wish him a very happy 80th birthday and I’m glad he’s finally caught me up!”
Sir Bobby and Denis aren’t the only United legends who are fans of Pele. In a typically cultured quote, Eric Cantona has previously honoured the Brazilian by comparing his football to great art. 

“An artist, in my eyes, is someone who can lighten up a dark room,” Cantona once said. “I have never and will never find the difference between the pass from Pele to Carlos Alberto in the final of the World Cup in 1970 and the poetry of the young Rimbaud. There is in each of these human manifestations an expression of beauty which touches us and gives us a feeling of eternity.”

Happy 80th birthday, Pele. We hope to see you soon!