Pelé's Condolences


THREE TIME World Cup winner, Pele, has offered his condolences following the passing of former England goalkeeper Gordon Banks.

The Stoke City Club President, who sadly passed away in his sleep overnight, was widely recognised for his incredible save against the Brazilian in the 1970 quarter-finals.

It was a stop that saw Banks somehow claw Pele’s downward header, that looked destined for goal, up over his crossbar.

Since that day, the two formed a close friendship and Pele has wrote a heartfelt tribute on his official Facebook page.

For many people, their memory of Gordon Banks is defined by the save he made against me in 1970. I understand why.

The save was one of the best I have ever seen - in real life and in all the thousands of games I have watched since.

When you are a footballer, you know straight away how well you have hit the ball. I hit that header exactly as I had hoped. Exactly where I wanted it to go. And I was ready to celebrate.

But then this man, Banks, appeared in my sight, like a kind of blue phantom, is how I described him. He came from nowhere and he did something I didn't feel was possible.

He pushed my header, somehow, up and over. And I couldn't believe what I saw.

Even now when I watch it, I can't believe it. I can't believe how he moved so far, so fast.

I scored so many goals in my life, but many people, when they meet me, always ask me about that save.

While it was indeed phenomenal, my memory of Gordon is not defined by that - it is defined by his friendship. He was a kind and warm man who gave so much to people.

So I am glad he saved my header - because that act was the start of a friendship between us that I will always treasure. Whenever we met, it was always like we had never been apart.

I have great sadness in my heart today and I send condolences to the family he was so proud of.

Rest in peace, my friend. Yes, you were a goalkeeper with magic. But you were also so much more. You were a fine human being.

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