There is a touching scene at the end of this powerful BBC documentary about Brazil footballs stars Pele and Garrincha were the now aged Garrincha walks his little baby boy. His wife has left him, his career has long been over and all he has to look forward is more alcohol and an early death.
Watching the doc is like being inside a really cool museum. You feel history come alive here, but not just ordinary history, but the history of godlike footballer who could do no wrong and set angel fluttering in their wake on the pitch.
They really were gods, Pele and Garrincha, but each in their own distinct way.
Pele was John Lennon – cool, refined, charming, innovative – while Garrincha was Johnny Cash – addictive, morose, brilliant, self-destructive.
In the end, I seemed to care more for the street guy, Garrincha, rather than the elegant Pele. This from someone who grew up worshiping.
There’s something in the tragedy of Garrincha that speaks to the tragic human condition. Something in his life that seems more real and authentic.
Pele suddenly emerges as an opportunist, with fewer scruples and morals than I imagined. His taste for dictators leaves me to wonder about a man that transformed football into an art and religion, yet, who seems to have little patient for the little fella.