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Pele regrets not playing in Olympics

Brazilian soccer legend, Pele, has bemoaned his inability to feature at the Olympics because he never got the opportunity to play at the Games and a gold medal is one honour missing from his trophy cabinet.
As a professional footballer from such a young age, the greatest player of them all was never eligible for selection for Brazil’s Olympic team.
The three-time World Cup-winner signed his first professional contract with Santos aged only 15 and made his debut for the Selecao aged 16 against Argentina in the Maracana and was part of the Brazil team that claimed the World Cup in Sweden in 1958.
“When I started to play football at 16 years old, I was in the national team,” Pele said. “I was selected to play in Sweden and Brazil won. At that time, professional players were not allowed to play in the Olympics.”
That gold medal is still lacking on the Brazil honours list despite five runners-up places at the Olympics heading into this year’s tournament, slated to kick off on August 4. Pele is tempted to come back and add the one that got away to his medal collection.
“The only title Brazil doesn’t have is the Olympic tournament champion. The only tournament I never played because I was a professional. Now, we’re going to have the Olympics in Brazil,” he said.
The International Olympic Committee relaxed its rules on professional players in 1984 and now each team is permitted to use three players aged 23 and over.
Pele’s heir Neymar is expected to lead his side to glory as one of the team’s over-age players as the national side attempts to make amends for their destruction by Germany in the 2014 World Cup semi-finals.

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