Footballers are playing for money: Pele

October 27th, 2008 - 2:44 pm ICT by IANS  

Mexico City, Oct 27 (IANS) Soccer’s all time great Pele feels sad that players have lost their loyalty to the jersey changing it far too often in quest of fatter pay.”They sign with Mexico’s America (club) and kiss the jersey, six months later they go to Toluca and kiss it again. In a short time they love several different teams and their feelings change,” the Brazilian has told a sport congress here, EFE reported Monday.

Pele, whose real name is Edson Arantes do Nascimento, was the central figure at the closing ceremony of the world sports congress, which concluded Saturday in the Mexican city.

“I spent 17 years with the Santos club, despite receiving offers from the best clubs around the world,” he told the congress delegates.

“Now it’s not like that. Many (players) don’t want to be on their country’s team because they prefer the club that pays them more. It’s sad,” he said.

Pele said God gave him talent, but he knew how to take care of the gift.

“As a boy, my father told me that God gave me the gift of being a soccer player and I should guard that and never think I was the best. So I worked very hard. I didn’t smoke or drink alcohol and that helped,” he said.

Delegates to the congress paid tributes to Pele, who turned 68 last Wednesday, by singing “Las maƱanitas,” the traditional Spanish-language birthday song, and presenting him with a cake.

The sports congress were attended by a number of celebrated sportpersons , including iconic basketball player Earvin “Magic” Johnson, legendary boxer “Sugar Ray” Leonard and Olympic gymnastics champion Nadia Comaneci.

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