I don’t think it´s necessary to introduce Pelé to most of you, but it is certainly interesting to talk about his history and bond with the city of Santos.
Born in Três Corações, one of the largest cities in the south of Minas Gerais, Pelé moved to São Paulo with his family when he was very young. But if you still have no clue who he is, have a look at the photo below. I am sure you saw this face somewhere.
He started his interest in football playing for numerous amateur teams but it was only in 1956, when he was 15 already, that he was taken for a try out at Santos Football Club.
One year later, Boom! He was already part of the Brazil´s national team. Pelé´s football career has given him all the recognition he could deserve. But it was clear that there Santos was missing a place to let his legacy be known to future generations.
Inaugurated in June 2014, the Pelé Museum is now a tourist attraction where all football enthusiasts can appreciate and learn more about the history of this incredible Brazilian footballer.
Valongo district is filled with historical buildings that are about to be restored or completely abandoned. The mansion of Valongo, where Pelé´s museum is now located, is one of the restored buildings.
Its construction dates from 1865 and its original façade was reconstructed during the building’s restoration. Opposite the museum is the 19th century railway station of Valongo, a site with fundamental importance to the history of Brazil.
One block of the building holds the temporary exhibitions and auditorium, while the second one keeps all the memorabilia about the footballer. There is a third area of the museum dedicated to interactive games.
You can see Pelé´s trophies, videos and documents.
As you can imagine, there are a lot of things to be seen about a man who scored over 1000 goals and was part of the winning Brazilian squad of 1958, 1962 and 1970. Actually, there are nearly 2,500 items in the museum. It is entirely wheelchair accessible.
But don’t expect your visit to be only a boring and exhaustive tour about football. This museum is very interactive and it is possible to check archives in a very fun way.
Photos: The photos are the major part of this timeline exhibition. A lot of these images can be seen online here. The fact is that Pelé was born to be famous. The cameras followed his steps like a football did.
The archive is dated from his birthday to the present time with registered moments of his career; memorable moments such as his first time stepping on the pitch and the many World Cup participations and his life in the United States playing for Cosmos, for example.
For me in particular, the best ones are those taken by Garrincha’s side. The show a period of Brazilian football that we are most proud of.
It was special to me finding a huge archive of photos of the renowned Brazilian photographer, José Dias Herrera. I had the pleasure of working with him a few times when I was a trainee in journalism back in 2003 in Santos.
He is the one responsible for taking photos of the most brilliant moments of Pelé, on and off of the pitch.
World Cups: Brazilian passion for football is shown in this part of the museum. The conquests and failures of Brazil’s national squad are displayed there in more photos, iconic football boots and tops.
You’ll also find curious facts such as the meeting that never happened between Pelé and the members of the Beatles during the World Cup in 1966 in England.
Even a replica of Pelé in its original height and some holograms of the king can be found there. It is also where you can see the modern and traditional features of this amazing neoclassical building.
Interactive site: Children can make the most of it playing in numerous interactive attractions placed in the box next to the café and shop. Leaving a message and taking a photo with the king of football is also something kids will love to have as a souvenir.
Pelé Museum is located in the city of Santos, in São Paulo.
The entrance costs £3 for adults. Children up to 10 years have free admission and students have a discount. Opening days: From Tuesdays to Sundays
Published February 28th 2016 here.