The documentary Skin, which debuted today in Netflix, begins with the scenes at the Azteca stadium in Mexico, moments before the final of the 1970 Cup. Seeing the technicolor images of Pelé running, dribbling, falling, seems out of place in time. In contrast to the spectacular colorful plays on the field, they appear in sequence taken in black and white by security guards around Pelé, protecting the idol of the crowds, “idolized to the point of looking almost like a prisoner, threatened with kidnapping and death.
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Walking with the help of a cane, a consequence of a series of injuries and surgical complications in the hip, today’s Pelé gives testimonies about the pressure he felt then. “At that moment, I didn’t want to be Pelé. I didn’t like it, I didn’t want to”, he says, while the scenes show the player very stylish, with a red pinstripe jacket on the selection bus, but with a closed face, or frowning on the field . That, for him, was already certain as his last participation in the World Cup.
There are also scenes at a glance of Pele with personality from all over the world, from artists to monarchs. That was another point off the curve in the life of the ace: he elevated football players to the level of celebrities. Legend has it, confirmed by himself, that Ronald Reagan would have said to him on one occasion: “I am the President of the United States, but you don’t have to introduce yourself. Everyone knows who you are. ”
Pelé’s entrance into the hall of fame was stamped during his time in Cosmos, in the United States, between 1974 and 1977. In New York, the player who was born in the Minas Gerais mining company was Robert Redford’s office neighbor, played tennis with Steven Spielberg at East Hampton, he used to meet Jackie Kennedy.
Pelé could complain about the pressure at the 1970 World Cup, as shown in the film, but he seems to have enjoyed his New York pass. He also had lunch from time to time with Muhammad Ali and had the famous serigraphy portrait produced by Andy Warhol, which was sold last year at an auction for 3.5 million reais. By Warner Communications, the entertainment company he had a contract with, he could use a black Cadillac, with a phone on board, a luxury hard to imagine in the pre-cellular world.
Best and highest paid
Due to the fame, the pressure, the reverence of the fans, Pelé can be considered the precursor to Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar, the highest paid players today. Pelé’s achievement deserves even more credit for a simple fact: today’s stars live in a globalized world, in which their matches are broadcast in four corners and their Instagram accounts allow fans a false sense of closeness. “I didn’t know that there were other countries, I thought that Brazil was one of the most beautiful countries in the world”, says Pelé in the film.
In another aspect, it is possible to draw a parallel between the careers of Pelé and today’s stars find a parallel: income. If the King acted today, he would make $ 223 million a year, according to Forbes estimates. The accounts took into account corresponding values for sponsorship quotas and image rights, individual sponsorship, and loyalty quota. The amount of Pelé’s termination fine would amount to US $ 302 million.
These figures are much higher than those of the stars of the moment. In September last year, the same Forbes released a list of the highest paid players in 2020 in the world, with metrics similar to the calculations made for this report. Messi appears in first place with 126 million dollars, followed by Cristiano Ronaldo, with gains of 117 million, Neymar with value equivalent to 96 million and Mbappé with 48 million.
The accounts are not that simple, however, for a very unique reason. Elite players’ contracts today take into account a number of variables, as he told the Casual EXAM the lawyer for one of those international stars.
Minutes on the pitch, presence in matches, injuries, bad behavior, all of this is considered when signing a contract with a club – besides, of course, the number of titles, goals and even assists. The final salary, in the end, can vary greatly according to performance. Nothing so different from the executive agreements of large corporations.
According to the Casual EXAM, Pelé’s income today, retired for more than four decades, comes from the rent of some properties and roylaties transferred by Sports 10, an American company that holds all rights over the use of his name. A campaign with the Swiss watch brand Hublot, for example, has a number of hours dedicated to photos and mentions of the brand on the star’s social media stipulated by the company.
Netflix film revelations
In the field, Pele’s achievements in the field are incomparable, as we recount in the review of the film in the February edition. Three World Cups won, over a thousand goals scored, genius moves, physical preparation ahead of his time in the 1960s. Any attempt to prove to recent generations that he deserved the title of King of Football is valid. For this reason, the documentary simply named Skin, Netflix production in association with the British Pitch Productions.
The film features unpublished archival footage and recent interviews with Pelé himself and former lawn mates like Zagallo. The foreign vision of two British directors (Ben Nichols and David Tryhorn) will inevitably be compared to the greatest previous production on the great star, the Brazilian Eternal Skin, directed in 2004 by Aníbal Massaini Neto – which was a spectacular compilation of goals hampered by robotic interviews or unnecessarily exaggerated in praise.
The new documentary has as one of the producers Kevin Macdonald, who won the 1999 Best Documentary Oscar with Munich, 1972: One Day in September, on the massacre of Israeli athletes by terrorists during the Olympics. A testament to the quality of the film, therefore, nothing less than the greatest player of all time deserves.
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