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Tributes have been pouring out to late soccer legend Pelé after the Brazilian Icon died last week.
Most of those tributes have been about his on-field exploits, but if we want to pay respects to the man we’ve got to look at all facets. That includes what he did off the field.
And, boy, was the man busy away from the pitch.
In just the last couple of years before his death, he talked about how he had been with so many women over the years, he couldn’t say precisely how many kids he had.
For most people, that’s a pretty easy question to answer. Even Nick Cannon knows he’s had a dozen.
Officially, he’s got six kids from three marriages. That last marriage was to Marcia Aoki, a woman 26 years his junior.
“Girls wanted Pele as their boyfriend, boys wanted Pelé as their brother, parents wanted Pelé as their son, and everyone wanted Pelé as their neighbor,” Cesar Vasconcellos, a Brazilian journalist said in the 2021 Netflix documentary aptly titled Pelé. “He was totally captivating. His natural charisma gave him star quality.”
He then parlayed that star quality into… well…
From the sound of it, the guy was putting up rockstar numbers. Lemmy Kilmister and Gene Simmonds-type totals.
Don’t get it mixed up though, it wasn’t always smooth sailing for the Brazilian soccer legend. His extracurriculars caught up with him from time to time.
In 1996, a woman named Sandra Regina Machado who was born in 1964 — when he was at his most-Pelé — demanded the soccer star undergo a DNA test after claiming he was her father. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the DNA test proved that Pelé really was her dad.
Machado went on to use her connection to Pelé to gain some notoriety for herself. She even wrote a book called The Daughter the King Didn’t Want. She took her biological father’s surname, though the two never had a relationship.
Follow on Twitter: @Matt_Reigle
Matt is a University of Central Florida graduate and a long-suffering Philadelphia Flyers fan living in Orlando, Florida. He can usually be heard playing guitar, shoe-horning obscure quotes from The Simpsons into conversations, or giving dissertations to captive audiences on why Iron Maiden is the greatest band of all time.
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