Occasionally in the world of football a player does something so excellent, so completely new that it leaves even veterans of the game stunned. Moments like Cruyff's turn against Sweden in 1974 and of course this iconic moment from Pele in Brazil’s semi final match up with Uruguay.

With Brazil already up by three Tostão plays the ball through to an onrushing Pele. Sensing the danger Uruguayan goalkeeper Ladislao Mazurkiewicz rushes off his line. A cynic would say he completely misjudged it, regardless though, Pele’s exceptional pace means he’s reached the pass before the Uruguayan keeper.

The obvious, though not at all Brazilian solution to this situation would be to take the ball on the run, instead Pele seamlessly dummies as if to take it in his stride and instead runs entirely around the utterly bamboozled Mazurkiewicz before collecting it to shoot. His momentum, combined with a Uruguayan defender getting back on the line, forces him to drag it wide. The slow motion replay is genuinely thrilling, truly a genius at work.

It’s so audacious that even fifty years later it looks utterly remarkable and nearly unrepeatable. I say nearly as there is in fact at least one example of the trick being utilised successfully, albeit on an entirely different stage.

In a Swedish top flight match against Helsingborgs IF Jesper Blomqvist, at that time still plying his trade for IFK Göteborg, successfully pulled off the trick to beat keeper Sven Andersson.

This goal was unsurprisingly voted goal of the season in what would be Blomqvists final year before departing for Milan. While his effort is exceptional, the speed and fluidity with which Pele completes his move as well as the sheer originality mean, in my mind at least, it’s still unrivalled all this time later.


Words by Andy Gallagher


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