Brazilians mock Pele after the World Cup winner calls for an end to protests
The Confederations Cup has been overshadowed by demonstrations
Thursday 20 June 2013
Brazilian football great Pele has called on thousands of protestors demonstrating over poor quality public services and corruption to leave the streets and focus on football, an appeal that was quickly met with derision on social media.
Brazil is currently hosting the Confederations Cup which began on Saturday, a tournament seen as a dry-run before it hosts the World Cup next year expected to draw an estimated 600,000 visitors to the country.
"Let's forget all this commotion happening in Brazil, all these protests, and let's remember how the Brazilian squad is our country and our blood," Pele said in a brief broadcast via the O Globo TV network, which was also posted online.
Brazil's two biggest cities agreed on Wednesday to revoke an increase in public transportation fares that set off demonstrations that have grown into nationwide protests against poor public services, inflation and corruption.
The decisions, made separately in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, followed another day of protests across Brazil, which also included a march by demonstrators around a major international soccer game in the northeastern city of Fortaleza.
This month's transport fare hikes, which came as Brazil struggles with annual inflation of 6.5 percent, stirred a groundswell of other complaints, leading to the biggest protests to sweep Brazil in more than two decades.
The protests have been organized by a disparate group of activists who have rallied supporters via social media.
While revered by soccer fans the world over, Pele's image has been tarnished at home by a string of perceived clumsy comments over the years, once prompting former Brazilian strike Romario to famously comment that "Pele when silent is a poet".
Social media users were less than complimentary about his latest comments, many saying the Brazil great's wealth meant he knew little of how ordinary Brazilians lived.
"Now Pele takes it upon himself to record a video telling the population to forget this commotion and back the squad. The national squad, FIFA, the stadiums costing millions, go to hell," one Brazilian posted on her Facebook page.
"Go to the hospitals, take a bus with no security, then I want to see if you keep saying stupid things," wrote another in response to an online local media report on his remarks.
"Pele, your ignorance is in proportion with your footballing genius," wrote another poster.
Another former Brazilian icon Ronaldo was also mocked this week after commenting that "you can't hold a World Cup with hospitals" in response to protests over the billions spent on stadiums that many Brazilians say would have been better invested in public amenities.
Latest in Sport
Liverpool injury news: Simon Mignolet set to replace injured Brad Jones but Dejan Lovren and Glen Johnson remain on the sidelines
Manchester United injury news: Angel Di Maria unlikely to face Spurs as Marouane Fellaini's 'mystery illness' turns out to be rib injury
Arsenal vs QPR player ratings: Could anyone outshine new Gunners hero Alexis Sanchez and who was worse than villain Olivier Giroud?
Manchester City team news: Manuel Pellegrini hopes to have Vincent Kompany back for Burnley visit but hopes not to risk Stevan Jovetic
Neil Warnock sacked: Tim Sherwood fits role at Crystal Palace
- 1 The political parties aren't all the same – which means 2015 will be a 'big-choice' election
- 2 President of Argentina adopts Jewish godson to 'stop him turning into a werewolf'
- 3 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
- 4 The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public set to see exhibits from police’s grisly crime museum
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Immigrants make UK racist, says Ukip councillor Trevor Shonk
Nigel Farage: Ukip leader named 'Briton of the year' by The Times
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever