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Pelé Makes His Pitch: Soccer Legend Touts Brazil's Boom, World Cup 2014

The 71-year-old Brazilian soccer icon is an ambassador for both his sport and his booming homeland. Those two hats are set to blend into one with the next World Cup slated for Brazil in two years. In the meantime, he's also glad to talk about &am

Brazilian soccer legend Pelé (desbyrnephotos)
Brazilian soccer legend Pelé (desbyrnephotos)

ZURICH - Pelé doesn't shake your hand; he takes you in his arms and gives you a hug so tight you can hear his heart beating. On Jan. 11, the day after the FIFA Golden Ball award ceremony in Zurich, Edson Arantes do Nascimento, better known as Pelé, sat down for an extended interview with Le Monde. Now 71 years old and still as stylish as ever, "King" Pelé talks about: Pelé, Brazil, and the World Cup, a crown he helped win three times (1958, 1962 and 1970) -- and which will next be held in his home country in 2014.

What does the 2014 World Cup in Brazil represent for you as its official ‘Ambassador"?
I don't want to give the impression that I am the World Cup. The most important thing is the image of my country and its influence throughout the world. I remember no one really knew about Brazil in 1958 when I went to Europe. When I arrived at the training camp in Switzerland where the World Cup was being held, the Brazilian flag had a circle instead of the diamond. From then on, I have had just one wish for the World Cup: to use it to help my people, my country.

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Geopolitics

Our 'Emotional' Divide: How The Ukraine War Reveals A World Broken In Two

Russia's invasion has created a stark global divide: them and us. On one side are the countries refusing to condemn Moscow, with the West on the other. It's a dangerous split that could have repercussions far into the future.

Protesters against the war in Ukraine demonstrate in front of the Russian embassy in London

Dominique Moïsi

-Analysis-

PARIS — "The West and the Rest of Us." That's the title of a 1975 essay written by Nigerian essayist and critic Chinweizu Ibekwe. I've been thinking about his words as the war in Ukraine both reveals and accelerates divisions of the world that I believe are ultimately "emotional" in nature.

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With war returning to Europe and the risk of escalation, there is a gap between the Western view and that of the "others," a distinct "us and them." This gap cannot be explained in strictly geographical, political, and economic terms.

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