Football Legend Pele Lands in Kolkata


Kolkata: Brazilian football wizard Pele on Sunday arrived in Kolkata on a 3-day tour, after a gap of 38 years he charmed the city of joy with his on field wizardry.

“Thank you for the beautiful reception…I love Kolkata…I am here because I love the people here…I love India,” Pele told India Today moments after he landed at Kolkata’s Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport.

From a food festival in Pele’s theme to a series of programmes lined up ahead, Kolkata is all set to welcome back again the three-time World Cup winner in his trip, aptly title Legend’s tour of India.

Pele, who landed in the city on Sunday morning, will have a rest day to deal with the jet-lag at his hotel Taj Bengal, where he will be received by Indian football icon Chuni Goswami and Dipendu Biswas. The five-star hotel has announced a special menu in honour of the legend.

Restaurants at the Taj Bengal namely ‘The Junction’, ‘The Hub’, and ‘Sonargaon’ will offer a set of special delicacies to welcome Pele, whose original name is Edson Arantes do Nascimento, to the city.

“It is an honour and privilege to have the legend stay with us and we will have some special cocktails, a veg thali and a buffet inspired by the world’s greatest player,” Samrat Dutta, general manager of Taj Bengal said.

Pele has a hectic schedule since morning the next day which will begin with an interaction with media, followed by students of NSHM Knowledge Campus.

In the evening, Pele will walk down the memory lane at Eden Gardens where his team New York Cosmos played out a 2-2 draw in the exhibition match against local powerhouse Mohun Bagan in 1977.

Pele will reunite with the Mohun Bagan’s ‘Class of 77’ who will be felicitated at the Netaji Indoor Stadium in the ‘Legend’s Nite’ where he will also interact with former India cricket captain Sourav Ganguly.

Two-time Academy award winning music composer A R Rahman and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee are slated to join Pele while tennis star Rafael Nadal is also scheduled to join the show through a video conference.

On the last day of his tour, the 74-year-old will be the guest of honour ISL defending champions Atletico de Kolkata’s first home outing against Kerala Blasters at the Salt Lake Stadium.

The Brazilian will also be part of an auction dinner the proceeds for which would go to the Chief Minister Relief Fund.

With the biggest festival of the state, Durga Puja, set to begin with Mahalaya on Monday, Pele is also likely to inaugurate a couple of pandals in the city.