IN PICS| Pele graces ISL match at Salt Lake
Kolkata: It was another historic occasion at the gigantic Vivekananda Yuva Bharati Krirangan in Salt Lake as the 'King of football' Pele sat through the Atletico de Kolkata (ATK) and Kerala Blasters FC's (KBFC) ISL match here on Tuesday.
Pele celebrates his upcoming birthday with fans.
The crowd too turned up in large numbers as the official count stood at 61,237 and the three-time World Cup winner was seen enjoying the competition.
He also exchanged pleasantries with Founder & Chairperson, Football Sports Development Limited Nita Ambani, the promoters of the ISL, as the duo were also seen clicking 'selfies' sitting in the hospitality box.
Pele, Nita Ambani and Atletico de Kolkata's co-owner Sourav Ganguly click a selfie. (Photo: ISL)
"I think it's a big honour and privilege for all of us that Mr Pele is right here with us. It's like a dream come true for all football lovers across India. I'm waiting to be with him and watch this match from this historic stadium in Kolkata," an excited Ambani said ahead of the match.
Atletico de Kolkata players with Brazilian legend Pele. (Photos: PTI)
With the defending champions ATK taking a sixth minute lead through an Arata Izumi strike, Pele was seen fully enjoying the match and cheering from the hospitality box.
Pele however did not sit through the entire match and left just before the break with ATK leading 1-0.
On his third day of the visit, Pele had attended a couple of promotional programme in the morning and in the afternoon ATK hosted him a private lunch at the team hotel where he interacted with the players.
Pele, who is on a week's visit to India, returned to the ‘City of Joy’ 38 years after he had come with New York Cosmos, will conclude his trip and leave for the national capital Wednesday evening.
This was at the same venue that had hosted several football greats including German great Oliver Kahn, who played his swansong match for Bayern Munich. It also hosted Lionel Messi studded Argentina in a FIFA friendly against Venezuela on September 2, 2011.
Diego Maradona, Karl Heinze Rumminiege, Diego Forlan and Gerd Muller are among other football greats who had graced the city.