Pele as a goalkeeper

When you’ve famously scored more than a thousand goals and have gone down in history as one of the best players ever (if not in fact the best one), you can hardly be said to have missed your calling. Still, if the pictures below of a seventeen year old Pelé in action as a goalkeeper are anything to go by, it would seem a decent goalkeeper might have been lost in the legendary Brazilian striker. Because that seems like an excellent save he pulls of in the face of two onstorming attackers.

The photographs are from 1957, when Pelé and his club Santos were competing in the Paulista, the Sao Paulo state championship. In those days substitutions weren’t allowed in many leagues and tournaments, or limited to only the one per match. As a consequence, it was a much more common occurrence for a field player to end up in goal when a goalkeeper sustained an injury. Apparently during this match, a very young Pelé was the unlucky sod that ended up in goal.

Although, unlucky sod. Pelé does not appear to have viewed goalkeeping as something beneath him. That is, if the picture below is anything to go by. It depicts Pelé taking a turn in goal during a training session with the Brazilian national selection in 1964.

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