PSG, Brigitte Bardot, Kylian Mbappé… The King and France, it was a good story

Pelé, Raymond Kopa, Guy Drut, Michel Drucker, Sim… The most unlikely football team of the 20th century associated the best player of all time with some of the greatest French celebrities of the time, during a charity match in the 1973. “Unfortunately” , this meeting of the Polymusclé, a team of stars built on the model of the current Variétés Club de France, took place in Liège, Belgium.

But the “King”, who died on Thursday at the age of 82, walked our territory on other occasions, during one of his innumerable tours with Santos (Paris 1960 and 1961, Martinique 1971, Bordeaux 1973…), with the New York Cosmos (Paris 1976), with Brazil or as a VIP after his career. 20 minutes he made his selection.

1963: hat-trick for his only match for the Seleçao in France

In 1960 and 1961, the young but already famous Edson Arantes do Nascimento had strolled with Santos during the Paris tournament, played by invitation at the Parc des Princes. But on April 28, 1963, it was in Colombes and inside the Seleçao, two times reigning world champions, that the 22-year-old Brazilian prodigy challenged France in a friendly. During the 1958 World Cup in Sweden, that of his planetary explosion, Pelé had planted three pawns in the semifinals to Bleus de Fontaine, Kopa and Piantoni (5-2).

Five years later, rebellious, but faced with decrepitude Tricolores, who eat the black bread that will be their daily life until the advent of the Platini generation, at the end of the 70s. Robert Herbin, Fleury Di Nallo and Marian Wisniewski are subjects to the law of the Auriverdes, but much reworked in the middle of a European tour (Portugal, France, Holland, England, Italy, Germany).

The champion scores a penalty, flanked by two shots from the left. “I didn’t give it my all,” said the hero of the day, dwarfed by a thigh injury. I hardly ran, nor ever shot from the right. Luckily for Georges Carnus, who was celebrating his first selection in the French goal.

1971: The almost signing at PSG

Big Parisian news for Pele that year. On March 30, 1971, surrounded by a compact crowd, he presented the first version of the World Cup on the Champs-Elysées: the winged Jules-Rimet trophy definitively won by Brazil after its third victory the previous year in Mexico. Two days later, the star played a charity match against cancer in Colombes with Santos, against a French selection, marked by the kick-off given by Brigitte Bardot, preceded by a rather fantastic media crush visible on the images of the INA .

Brigitte Bardot and Pelé on April 1, 1971 in Colombes, before the match between Santos and a French selection in Colombes.
Brigitte Bardot and Pelé on April 1, 1971 in Colombes, before the match between Santos and a French selection in Colombes. -AFP

Pelé will return with his family to spend the end of year celebrations in the French capital. At the press conference he will talk about his non-engagement at Paris Saint-Germain, negotiated and then aborted a few months earlier. “There have been contacts between me and the Parisian leaders. They invited me to wear the colors of their club. But my contract with Santos hadn’t expired and I always expressed the desire to end my career at Santos, the only club I knew. [et qu’il quittera en 1975 pour le Cosmos de New York]. »

Founded in 1970, the very young PSG had sensed the right shot, due to the financial worries of the Brazilian club. But despite a visit to the site by its president Guy Crescent, the story will fall apart, since, as indicated The ParisianSantos was at the same time negotiating a lucrative US tour to pay off his debts. A proposal that was valid only if Pele was on the road, of course.

1988: The legendary shot with Platini and Maradona in Nancy

Pele, Diego Maradona and Michel Platini together on a football field? The event took place only once, on May 23, 1988 in Nancy. Funny place for such a meeting? Not really, given that the triple Ballon d’Or winner of Lorraine (1983, 1984, 1985) chose Marcel-Picot, the stadium of his debut among the professionals, to celebrate his jubilee a few months after hanging up his crampons, just 32 years old.

Diego Maradona, Pelé and Michel Platini, May 23, 1988 in Nancy.
Diego Maradona, Pelé and Michel Platini, May 23, 1988 in Nancy. – Lionel Cironneau/AP/Sipa

If the star of the day and Maradona play this match amid stars from the 80s (Zico, Matthaüs, Giresse, Francescoli, Boniek…), Pelé has arrived in plain clothes to kick off between the 1984 European champions Blues and a World Cup selection. In the The group, Platini remembers that special day. “He had participated in everything, he had said yes to everything, because he was a really good guy. As a result, we managed to take the legendary photo, the three of us, with Diego Maradona, and the famous “no drug” shirt. »

A tunic that always provokes an embarrassed smile given the Argentine genius’ addiction to illicit substances for most of his life, which ended prematurely, at the age of 60, on November 25, 1960. “If I hadn’t taken drugs, we wouldn’t even talk about Pelé “, El Pibe de Oro will fall one day, before the reconciliation of the two South American myths, sealed with the death of Maradona. “One day, I hope we can play football together in heaven,” said the Brazilian.

2019: The meeting with Kylian Mbappé in Paris

More than half a century has separated Pelé from Kylian Mbappé. The three-time Brazilian world champion, then 78, had met the young 20-year-old Frenchman, who had just been crowned in Russia, on April 2, 2019 in Paris, on the initiative of a mutual business partner. Since then they have not stopped exchanging courtesies through social media, Pelé’s Instagram account even gave the French “dear friend” after the Azzurri’s defeat against Argentina on December 18 in the World Cup final in Qatar.

The meeting between Pelé and Kylian Mbappé, April 2, 2019 at the Hotel Lutetia in Paris.
The meeting between Pelé and Kylian Mbappé, April 2, 2019 at the Hotel Lutetia in Paris. – Franck Fife / AFP

AFP was then able to carry out a cross-examination of the two men, from which a real complicity filtered, despite the generation gap and the already deteriorated state of health of the legend. Inevitably, the question of a filiation had been raised. “You see it like me, there’s only one “King” and it’s there, then the Parisian striker reacted. I’m just Kylian, I try my best to help my team, my selection. The comparisons are flattering but I know very well that I will never do what he did. »

When asked about possible advice to his Padawan, Pele had dodged, laughing: “He doesn’t need it. I just told him he must be a good guy, a good person. But above all, stay calm. On Thursday, Mbappé paid tribute to his elder on Twitter, in English: “The king of football has passed away, but his legacy will never be forgotten, rest in peace king. »

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