Former India captain and Atletico de Kolkata co-owner Sourav Ganguly was totally in awe of the Brazilian football legend Pele. Ganguly, who presented an Atletico de Kolkata jersey to Pele, said that every sport needs a legend like the footballing great.
"As a young man, I saw the film, Giants of Brazil. It is wonderful to meet the giant. I have watched you play and it was always amazing. Your popularity speaks volumes of your greatness," Ganguly told Pele during a talk show in Kolkata on Monday at the Netaji Indoor Stadium.
Ganguly was absolutely delighted to welcome the Brazilian legend in Kolkata after 38 long years. Pele will also be witnessing the Indian Super League (ISL) 2015 encounter between Atletico de Kolkata and Kerala Blasters.
"He is an absolute legend, extremely happy that he has come here. He is 75 years of age so you don't expect him to show skills at this stage. Every sport needs [a legend like him]. He is 75-year old and he is still so popular because of his achievements. I think every sport every country needs a successful person who can take the sports to the world," Ganguly added.
Pele returned to Kolkata after 38 years, when he played an exhibition match for the New York Cosmos against Mohun Bagan Athletic Club in 1977 at the iconic Eden Gardens.
It took very little time for the three-time World Cup-winning goalmachine of Brazil to mesmerise the football fanatics here in Kolkata. He walked down memory lane and thanked the people of Kolkata for showing the same kind of love that he received when he had visited the city of joy back in 1977.
"I was received with same love. I haven't had time to see [Kolkata]. Everything changes, but most important that I got the same love," Pele told the reporters in Kolkata at the same event on Monday.
Pele, who will be addressing a whopping 120,000 football fans at the Vivekananda Yuva Bharati Krirangan (Saltlake Stadium) in Kolkata ahead of the ISL 2015 Match 10 between Atletico de Kolkata and Kerala Blasters, said that Lionel Messi is currently the best player in the world of football and the Argentine matches Pele's and Mardona's standards. Messi should not be compared with Cristiano Ronaldo added the "Football Samrat."