Kolkata go crazy as Pele touches down

Only a handful of fans and scores of media men had turned up at the airport to witness the legend's arrival, but as soon as the news trickled in about 100-odd visitors, who were there to receive their relatives, gathered soon to catch a glimpse of the 'Black Pearl'.

Brazilian Soccer Legend Pele wave to his fans after he arrives at a city hotel in Kolkata.   -  PTI

Frenzied scenes were witnessed at the airport this morning when the 'king of football' Pele, landed in Kolkata after 38 years. The 74-year-old Brazilian turned emotional and stood on the floor of his SUV to wave at the crowd, who kept chanting his name.

As a matter of fact, only a handful of fans and scores of media men had turned up at the airport to witness the legend's arrival but as soon as the news trickled in about 100-odd visitors, who were there to receive their relatives, gathered soon to catch a glimpse of the 'Black Pearl'.

Clad in a black suit and matching watch, the three-time World Cup winner, however, looked fresh as he was escorted out by state minister Firhad Hakim and the organisers. 'Thank you Kolkata', Pele said with a broad grin as he kept on waving at the crowd standing on the floor of his car and the fans reciprocated by chanting 'Pele, Pele'.

Such was the crowd's response that Pele's high security convoy struggled to make its way through to the five-star hotel in Alipore where he will be staying for three days in his return to the city, 38 years after he had enthralled football fans with his team New York Cosmos in a 2-2 draw against local powerhouse Mohun Bagan in an exhibition match way back in 1977.

Indian football icon Chuni Goswami received Pele at the hotel with another former player Dipendu Biswas as he was given a traditional welcome by the students of NSHM Knowledge Campus, one of the organisers of his visit.

“In a lighter vein, I asked him, 'can you play football?' to which Pele humbly replied: 'Not at all, I'm not very fit',” Goswami, a former Olympian, told reporters. “I also asked him how do you rate Messi? 'He's very close

to Maradona and Pele',” he added.

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