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Brazil football legend Pele envisions successful spectacle for Rio 2016

Reporter: Yang Tanli 丨 CCTV.com

08-04-2016 16:08 BJT

Now it's just over a day away from the Olympics Opening Ceremony, and speculation is hot and heavy about who will light the cauldron in Rio. Perhaps the hottest trending theory is that legendary Brazilian footballer Pele will do the honors, maybe with a kick of some sort.

But the three-time World Cup champion claims no personal involvement in Friday's gala has been confirmed at this time, and reports have also emerged saying that -- even if chosen -- commercial obligations might prevent him from setting the cauldron ablaze at the Maracana Stadium.

Pele, the Brazil football legend, said, "Everyone is asking me about whether it is true or not. It is a great honor even having been asked about it. But it has not been decided if I can participate. Because at the same time, I have to make a schedule, and might be on a business trip. So I am wondering if I can cancel these events. It would be a great pity if I can't attend the Opening Ceremony. It has not been decided yet. I have never attended the Olympics before, as at that time, professional players could not compete in the Olympics. So this time, I really wanted to participate."

Since late 2014, Pele has been hospitalized three times with various health issues, and underwent surgery for kidney stones. His work schedule has been cut back since then, and several of his obligations were scheduled to coincide with the Rio Olympics. But the legendary forward said that he would try his best to get to the Games, and cheer for the Brazilian team.

Pele said, "My accomplishements include three World Cup championships, the only one I did not have is Olympic gold, and now the Olympics are being held in Brazil for the first time. I hope that Brazil can win gold at this year's Games."

With Brazil's fans most eager to see their country top the podium in men's football, star forward Neymar has found himself on the spot, as he is expected to lead the Seleccao to victory. Like Pele, the young striker has played for domestic powerhouse Santos, and the all-time great is very complimentary of his skills.

"Neymar has great power in Brazil, and for Neymar to lead Brazil to the championship, people are definitely expecting that," said Pele.

Pele also mentioned that China and Brazil have been cooperating closely in football in recent years, with many Brazilians now playing in Chinese leagues, and he hopes fans from the PRC will enjoy the Games.

"I hope that the Chinese people will fully savor the Rio Olympics. This is a grand party that we are throwing for the whole world," said Pele. 

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