Pele sells off his life in football

 Posted by at 6:37 AM
May 312016
Media captionHow much would you pay for Pele’s passport?

It is a conundrum to challenge even the best of hosts. What do you give as a gift to a global football icon who has everything?

When your guest is Brazilian legend Pele, the only player ever to have won three World Cup winning medals, then some creative thinking is needed.

As a result the star, full name Edson Arantes do Nascimento, has been the recipient of an amazing cornucopia of strange and exotic items from around the world, first in his playing days, and then as a roving sporting and humanitarian ambassador.

They include everything from elaborate crowns and ceremonial daggers, model ships and jet fighters, to more prosaic clocks, dishes, and freedom-of-the-city keys from various municipalities.

Image copyright Julien’s
Image caption A model jet awarded to Pele from Rolls-Royce is one of the thousands of auction items

Now the 75-year-old Fifa Player of the Century is to auction off all of the sporting and cultural memorabilia he has accumulated in a lifetime in football.

The sale will take place over three days in London in June, and covers the six decades from Pele’s signing for Santos as a 15-year-old in 1956.

‘Difficult decision’

The sale includes unique football items, including his three World Cup winner’s medals, and a one-off Jules Rimet trophy made for him after Brazil’s famous triumph in Mexico in 1970.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Pele won his first World Cup winner’s medal in 1958 at the age of 17

That World Cup replica is the most expensive item being auctioned, with an estimated price tag of £281,000 to £420,000. The medals are expected to fetch up to £141,000, and the ball he scored his 1,000th goal with is estimated to sell for £28,000 to £42,000.

Beverley Hills-based Julien’s Auctions has been chosen to handle the sale, which also includes personal items such as old passports and driving licences.

Image copyright Julien’s
Image caption Pele helped transform football in the US in the 1970s, and this match-worn shirt is for sale

Over the past 12 months Pele has been in hospital for back, hip and prostate surgery. So is it for health or business reasons that he is now selling?

“There are many reasons, there are clearly some personal ones that he alone knows about,” Dan Nelles, sports specialist at Julien’s Auctions, tells me.

Pele himself says: “It was a difficult decision to make but it takes a lot to properly care for these artefacts, and I felt I could do much more good by sharing these items with the world, as well as helping my causes that are important to me.”

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Pele’s legendary status means he is feted wherever he goes

Mr Nelles adds: “He had a lot of the property in storage, and it wasn’t seeing the light of day, which this auction now allows. Also, he wasn’t sure what of it his family wanted to keep, and he didn’t want it [the collection] to fall by the wayside.

“And the Pequeno Principe paediatric hospital in Brazil, which he supports, will receive a proportion.”

International interest

Mr Nelles says the auction house’s “conservative estimate” is that the sale will make £2.5m to £3.5m, but that “the bidding would determine the final price”.

Image copyright Action Plus Sports Images / Alamy Stock Photo
Image caption Pele pictured with the Jules Rimet trophy in 1970. A replica of the trophy that he was given will be on auction

“There are so many wildcards in the auction, the Jules Rimet trophy, his World Cup medals, soccer boots, which means that ideally we are looking at three times that conservative estimate, and maybe as much as 10 times.

“There are also a great number of game-worn items from his career.”

Mr Nelles expects a broad spectrum of bidders from football fans and collectors, to sporting museums and business corporations.

Image copyright Julien’s
Image caption A sash awarded to Pele for winning the 1962 World Club Championship with Santos

“Although the auction is in London, we will not just be selling to UK customers, as the auction will be streamed live on our website for overseas bidders to take part,” he adds.

He says that as well as interest from the obvious football hotbeds of Europe and South America, there will also be interest from China, Japan and South Korea, Dubai and other Gulf states, and the US, Canada and Mexico.

Escape to Victory 1981 movie football boots

Image copyright Julien’s

A pair of black football boots worn by Pele in the film Escape to Victory are being auctioned.

In the film he starred alongside Sylvester Stallone and Michael Caine, as well as England World Cup winning captain Bobby Moore. They portrayed Nazi prisoners playing a propaganda football match during World War Two.

Pele is seen near the end of the film wearing these boots as he scored with a dramatic bicycle kick to equalise for the Allied team.

“I understand the film has a bit of a cult following in the UK, and these boots are certainly out of the norm,” says Mr Nelles. “I think there will be great interest in this highlight from his film career.”

They are in the auction catalogue with an estimate of $6,000 to $8,000 (£4,000 to £5,500).

American adventure

Pele holds the record as the youngest player ever to play in, and score in, a World Cup final. He also holds the Guinness World Record for goals scored in a career with 1,283.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Pele on his debut for the New York Cosmos in 1975

He played for Brazil’s World Cup winning teams of 1958 and 1970, scoring in both finals, and was in the squad which won in 1962.

With club side Santos he twice won the Copa Libertadores and Intercontinental Cup. Later in his career he went on to become the face of “soccer” in the US, as the NASL looked for a sporting breakthrough in the mid-1970s.

Pele auction highlights

Image copyright Getty Images
  • His personal Jules Rimet World Cup replica trophy – Estimate: $400,000-$600,000
  • 1958, 1962 and 1970 World Cup medals – Estimates: $100,000-$200,000 each
  • 1,000th goal ball – Estimate: $40,000-$60,000
  • 1977 NY Cosmos NASL Championship ring – Estimate: $30,000-$40,000
  • L’Equipe Athlete of the Century award – Estimate: $20,000-$30,000
  • 1958 Brazil World Champion sash – Estimate: $10,000-$20,000
  • Santos FC game-worn jersey – Estimate: $8,000-$10,000
  • Santos World Club Champions sash – Estimate: $5,000-$7,000
  • Game-worn New York Cosmos jersey – Estimate: $8,000-$10,000

Image copyright Julien’s
Image caption Pele’s World Cup winning medal from 1962 is a highlight of the auction

Pele is many people’s choice as the best player of all time. He remains probably the world’s most recognisable player, with a Hollywood biopic Birth of A Legend recently premiering in New York.

Now the enduring proof of that legendary status has been laid out over more than 1,500 lots, with the auctioneers saying there should be “something for everyone”.

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Wales to decide on Ledley for Euros

 Posted by at 3:16 AM
May 312016
Joe Ledley has won 62 caps for Wales, having made his debut in 2005

The selection of midfielder Joe Ledley will be manager Chris Coleman’s biggest decision as he names Wales’ final 23-man squad for Euro 2016 on Tuesday.

Ledley, 29, has resumed light training after breaking his leg on 7 May.

Wales begin their campaign against Slovakia on 11 June, before facing England five days later.

They will be without forward Tom Lawrence, who revealed on Monday he will miss the tournament with an ankle ligament injury.

Tom Lawrence, who spent part of the 2015-16 season on loan at Cardiff City, tweeted about his injury on Monday

Wales’ coaches are thought to be encouraged by Ledley’s progress and are hopeful the Crystal Palace midfielder could play some part in France.

“If Joe could guarantee he could be fit to face England, I would take the gamble,” former Wales striker Iwan Roberts told BBC Radio Wales Sport.

“If he was to say ‘no, but I’ve got a 75% chance of being fit for the last game against Russia’, I think Chris [Coleman] has got a massive decision to make.”

Ledley missed Palace’s FA Cup final defeat against Manchester United earlier this month.

Coleman will name his 23-man squad from an extended group of 29 players he took to a training camp in Portugal earlier this month.

The former Fulham and Real Sociedad manager has said he will give Ledley until the last minute to prove his fitness.

Walsall striker Tom Bradshaw and Blackburn defender Adam Henley have been ruled out of contention for Euro 2016 because of injury.

Forward Gareth Bale will rejoin the Wales squad having missed the training camp as he helped Real Madrid win the Champions League on Saturday.

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AFC Wimbledon 2-0 Plymouth Argyle

 Posted by at 11:50 PM
May 302016
Late goals from Lyle Taylor and Adebayo Akinfenwa secured promotion for AFC Wimbledon

AFC Wimbledon were promoted into the third tier for the first time in their history after beating Plymouth Argyle in the League Two play-off final.

Lyle Taylor turned in Callum Kennedy’s cross for his 23rd goal of the season.

And substitute Adebayo Akinfenwa netted a penalty in the 11th minute of injury time after a foul on Adebayo Azeez.

The Dons achieved a sixth promotion since their formation in 2002 by fans of the old Wimbledon FC following their relocation to Milton Keynes.

Argyle, who topped the Championship back in August 2004, will remain in League Two for a sixth season, having almost gone bust in 2011.

Dons dreams come true at Wembley

Adebayo Akinfenwa netted the penalty that secured play-off final victory for AFC Wimbledon

Neither goalkeeper was troubled until after the break, when Argyle midfielder Graham Carey’s free-kick forced an excellent diving save from goalkeeper Kelle Roos.

A game of few chances was lit up with Taylor’s goal, as Wimbledon edged towards a deserved win in front of 57,956 fans.

As Argyle pushed forward the Dons had chances to seal the game, but Luke McCormick made excellent saves from Barry Fuller as he broke through, Akinfenwa’s close-range header and from Taylor, who shot tamely when clean through.

Having seen semi-final hero Peter Hartley carried off on a stretcher in the closing moments after a clash with Akinfenwa, the Plymouth defender’s replacement Jordon Forster fouled Azeez after he cut in from the left in the box.

That allowed Akinfenwa to step up and send McCormick the wrong way from the spot.

Akinfenwa took the ball off Callum Kennedy before scoring the 101st-minute penalty

Phoenix from the ashes of MK move

Promotion for AFC Wimbledon keeps the remarkable story of the club’s rise from the aftermath of Wimbledon’s move to Milton Keynes going.

They have now won six promotions since they first took to the field in the Combined Counties League in the ninth tier of English football.

While the club still hope to return to their home borough of Merton, next season raises the tantalising prospect of two league fixtures with MK Dons, who were relegated from the Championship.

The clubs have played three times before in cup matches – all at Milton Keynes – with AFC Wimbledon getting the better of MK Dons once.

Man of the match: Lyle Taylor (AFC Wimbledon)

In a game short on memorable moments, Taylor’s goal stood out as a piece of class, taking the ball well as it came across his body.

A thorn in Argyle’s side throughout, he was an excellent foil to first Tom Elliott and then his replacement Akinfenwa up front.

He should have had a second late on when through on goal, but he will not mind his weak effort as he created a memory that will last a lifetime both for him and the fans of AFC Wimbledon.

Match reaction

AFC Wimbledon manager Neal Ardley: “It’s surreal at the moment. It hasn’t really sunk in.

“Once we got to Wembley, we prepared them to the letter about trying to win this game.

“To pull it off, to stand there in front of 25,000 people who 14 years ago had their club ripped away from them and have been through so much, to stand there as one of their own who’s come through the ranks at the age of 11 – you can write anything you want, it doesn’t get any better than that.”

Plymouth manager Derek Adams: “We didn’t perform well enough today, we weren’t composed enough at times when we had possession.

“It’s a huge disappointment, but we’ve come a long way. We’ve been working with a threadbare squad and it’s a testament to the players to get here.

“We didn’t pass the ball well enough and we didn’t open up Wimbledon through the wide areas or down the middle.

“We’ve put a lot of pride back into Plymouth Argyle this season, and hopefully that can continue.”

Live Text

Match ends, AFC Wimbledon 2, Plymouth Argyle 0.

Second Half ends, AFC Wimbledon 2, Plymouth Argyle 0.

Adebayo Akinfenwa (AFC Wimbledon) is shown the yellow card for excessive celebration.

Goal! AFC Wimbledon 2, Plymouth Argyle 0. Adebayo Akinfenwa (AFC Wimbledon) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the bottom left corner.

Penalty conceded by Jordan Forster (Plymouth Argyle) after a foul in the penalty area.

Penalty AFC Wimbledon. Adebayo Azeez draws a foul in the penalty area.

Corner, AFC Wimbledon. Conceded by Jordan Forster.

Attempt blocked. Adebayo Akinfenwa (AFC Wimbledon) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Substitution, AFC Wimbledon. Adebayo Azeez replaces Lyle Taylor.

Attempt saved. Lyle Taylor (AFC Wimbledon) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Adebayo Akinfenwa with a headed pass.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Darius Charles (AFC Wimbledon) because of an injury.

Corner, AFC Wimbledon. Conceded by Luke McCormick.

Attempt saved. Adebayo Akinfenwa (AFC Wimbledon) header from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Lyle Taylor with a cross.

Attempt missed. Lyle Taylor (AFC Wimbledon) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by Jake Reeves.

Hiram Boateng (Plymouth Argyle) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Adebayo Akinfenwa (AFC Wimbledon).

Foul by Kelvin Mellor (Plymouth Argyle).

Jake Reeves (AFC Wimbledon) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Substitution, Plymouth Argyle. Jordan Forster replaces Peter Hartley because of an injury.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Peter Hartley (Plymouth Argyle) because of an injury.

Substitution, Plymouth Argyle. Reuben Reid replaces Gregg Wylde.

Attempt saved. Barry Fuller (AFC Wimbledon) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Jake Reeves with a through ball.

Carl McHugh (Plymouth Argyle) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Adebayo Akinfenwa (AFC Wimbledon).

Lyle Taylor (AFC Wimbledon) is shown the yellow card for excessive celebration.

Goal! AFC Wimbledon 1, Plymouth Argyle 0. Lyle Taylor (AFC Wimbledon) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Callum Kennedy with a cross following a corner.

Corner, AFC Wimbledon. Conceded by Gary Sawyer.

Substitution, AFC Wimbledon. Adebayo Akinfenwa replaces Tom Elliott.

Gary Sawyer (Plymouth Argyle) is shown the yellow card.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Andy Barcham (AFC Wimbledon) because of an injury.

Offside, Plymouth Argyle. Curtis Nelson tries a through ball, but Jamille Matt is caught offside.

Hand ball by Tom Elliott (AFC Wimbledon).

Substitution, AFC Wimbledon. Jonathan Meades replaces Connor Smith.

Attempt saved. Craig Tanner (Plymouth Argyle) header from the centre of the box is saved in the top left corner. Assisted by Jamille Matt with a headed pass.

Substitution, Plymouth Argyle. Craig Tanner replaces Jake Jervis.

Darius Charles (AFC Wimbledon) is shown the yellow card.

Jamille Matt (Plymouth Argyle) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

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Rashford signs new Man Utd deal

 Posted by at 9:16 PM
May 302016
Marcus Rashford and Cameron Borthwick-Jackson (right) both made their first-team debuts this season

Manchester United’s 18-year-old striker Marcus Rashford has signed a new deal which will keep him at Old Trafford until June 2020.

He scored twice on his first-team debut against Midtjylland in February and finished the season with eight goals in 18 appearances.

Rashford was selected in England’s 26-man squad for Euro 2016 and scored on his debut against Australia on Friday.

“I am grateful for having the chance to prove myself,” he said.

“To be able to play football at the biggest club in the world means everything to me and my family.”

Rashford’s new contract is thought to be worth £20,000 a week.

United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward said: “He is still very young and we need to be patient, but he is developing in the right way and we believe he has a great future ahead of him.”

Defender Cameron Borthwick-Jackson, 19, who like his team-mate had a year left on his deal, also signed a new contract that will keep him at the club until 2020.

There is an option to extend both deals – announced three days after new manager Jose Mourinho joined United on a three-year contract – by a further year.

After scoring twice on his United debut in the Europa League, Rashford repeated the feat in his first Premier League game three days later.

He also found the net just 138 seconds into his first senior international appearance, making him the youngest player to score on his England debut.

The teenager was represented in negotiations by family members, with advice from Chris and Wayne Welbeck, brothers of former United forward Danny, who now plays for Arsenal.

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