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An Indianapolis soccer player recalls Pelé’s global impact



Indianapolis, Indiana – A unique element of Pelé’s history, who was a great soccer player, is located in Indianapolis. A soccer ball that Pelé signed with both his first name and his nickname can be found in the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. Local soccer supporters claim Pelé was much more than just a player.

A name like Pelé can be used by itself. Even if you’ve never watched soccer, you’ve probably heard of the sport. There is strength in that name, according to fellow Brazilian and soccer enthusiast Junyor Zanelatto.

“Pelé is not just the soccer player. He’s not just the king of soccer. He’s more than that. He’s much more than that,” he said.

Born in Brazil, Zanelatto spent a short time playing futsal, a form of indoor soccer, professionally. He continued to play for the Liga Latina Futbol Soccer club for a few more years but now considers Indianapolis home. It is impossible to disregard Latin America’s role in soccer’s rising popularity.

“In Brazil, if there’s someone who is very good at surfing or a sport, they say ‘oh, that guy is the Pelé of surfing’,” he said.

He contends that the highlight clips of today’s great players should be kept in mind. The first to do it was Pelé. Zanelatto is skeptical that anyone from his or the following generation will continue that legacy.

“It’s not just Brazil, but every country that loves soccer and lives soccer, and breaths soccer, everybody is saying the same thing. Nobody is more than Pelé,” Zanelatto said.

Over the years, Pelé had dealt with a number of medical concerns, and according to Zanelatto, many people feared that Pelé’s recent hospitalization due to complications from colon cancer would be his demise. He has made his mark even though his time is up.

“I know in Brazil now, everybody is very very sad,” Zanelatto said.