Pele and the 1966 Word Cup-winning captain of England, Bobby Moore, symbolize one of the greatest friendships in football. The duo met in the Group C match of the 1970 World Cup in Mexico and swapped shirts in what later became a classic FIFA World Cup moment. England lost the match 1-0 thanks to a goal by Jairzinho but the two legends of the game won hearts around the world.
They also went on to start a lifelong friendship that would see the duo appearing together in friendly matches, movies, and special TV programs. They famously appeared in the 1981 John Hutson movie Escape To Victory, alongside Sylvester Stallone of Rocky and Rambo fame.
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The film tells the story of a group of prisoners from the Allied camp during World War II who were kept in a Nazi POW camp. They pass their time playing football.
According to reports, the film was shot in the summer of 1980 when the club football pre-season was going on. As a result, most of the footballers playing in European leagues were free. Hutson signed them up for the film and they made a special appearance in it.
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Along with Pele and Moore, players like Ossie Ardiles, Paul Van Himst and John Wark, Russell Osman, Kevin O’Callaghan, Hallvar Thoresen, and Mike Summerbee also appeared in the film. Escape to Victory is now considered a holiday classic in the UK and it is hard to find someone who has not watched it at least once.
Moore, on his part, was always full of admiration and respect for the Brazilian football legend, and why wouldn’t he be? Pele had got the better of the Three Lions captain every time they met, be it in friendlies or in competitive tournaments.
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“You go into the tackle, you make contact. You think you’ve got him or the ball — or both — and then you find you haven’t got either,” Moore had famously said about Pele.
“I know it sounds impossible but I swear Pele deliberately flicked the ball against my shins then picked it up on the bounce as he ran past. Again and again, I felt sure I had him in a tackle — again and again, he seemed to get the luck of the bounce and beat me.”
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Moore died on February 24, 1993, in England.