A famous graffiti in the Vila Madalena neighborhood, in the western region of São Paulo, shows Pele hugging Ringo Starr, one of the members of the the Beatles Despite the popularity of the image, the meeting between the football and music icons never happened, but it was close.
In a report on the Santos website, the King (who died this Thursday at the age of 82) revealed that he almost met the group during the 1966 World Cup, but things ended up going wrong.
The failed meeting between Pelé and the Beatles
The opportunity would have been during the preparation of the Brazilian team for the tournament, in Liverpool, the band’s hometown. But it would end up blocked, according to Pelé, by Carlos Nascimento, former goalkeeper and supervisor of the Brazilian team at the time. The revelation was made by none other than John Lennon, leader and vocalist of the band, in a meeting with the King.
«It seems that Nascimento, who was our director, very strict, God rest his soul, said: ‘That gang of furry guys is not going to come in here, no,'» Pelé reported to the Vila Belmiro club’s website in 2020, when I celebrate his 80th birthday.
At that time, the group was living a moment of ignition in their career: they had released the Rubber Soul album in 1965 and would release «Revolver», an acclaimed album, a month after the World Cup, won by the host. England.
Brazil, which had won its first two world titles in a row, in 1958 and 1962, would end up eliminated from the tournament at the stage, after losing 3-1 to Portugal in the last game.
Pelé and John Lennon met at a language school
If you couldn’t meet the Beatles, Pelé and John Lennon had plenty of time to exchange conversations. The two attended the same language school in New York, when the King was studying English to play in the Cosmos. Lennon was born in Japanese to communicate with his beloved Yoko Ono.
This was the full story of Pelé and his meeting with John Lennon: “When they hired me to play for Cosmos, in 1975, I signed up to study English and there was also John Lennon, studying Japanese, because he had met Yoko. So we meet between classes. Do you know what he told me? That in preparation for the 1966 World Cup, when the Brazilian national team was concentrated in Liverpool, the Beatles wanted to present Pelé, but the leadership of the team did not allow it, it seems that Nascimento, who was our director, was very excellent, may he rest in peace, he said: ‘This gang of furry guys is not going to get in here!’, and John Lennon told me: ‘We loved football, but they wouldn’t let us play for you’”.