Belfast Telegraph

Pele shares the love as he receives honour at GQ Men of the Year Awards

He was presented with the Inspiration award by England manager Gareth Southgate.

Football stars Pele and Sir Geoff Hurst were among the honourees at the GQ Men of the Year Awards, where the Brazilian legend led the crowd in chant of “Love, love, love”.

Pele was given the Inspiration award by England football manager Gareth Southgate, who said: “In football there is one individual who stands above all that have gone before and after him, he scored over 1,000 goals, won the World Cup on three occasions, inspired his nation and the rest of the world to embrace the beautiful game.”

He added: “There has never been another footballer like him.”

Arriving at the stage, Pele said he prioritised attending the awards over getting hip surgery, telling the crowd: “After playing 30 years of football, 25 in Brazil and the last five in the United States, I have to play the bill.”

Sir Geoff Hurst, who scored a hat-trick in the 1966 World Cup final, collected the Legend prize.

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He said: “It seems quite unusual that you only get called a legend when you’re well over 70.

“I had the opportunity to take two of my grandchildren to school about three or four weeks ago and the word legend came up. George is 11 and Grace is eight and George said, ‘Grandpa is a legend’, and Grace chipped in by saying, ‘I thought all legends were dead’.

“This is an individual award but I have got to say quite clearly I was part of a fantastic team, without a great team as we had in ’66, arguably the best team that’s ever won the World Cup, to be here as part of that, I’m receiving this on their behalf, as part of a fantastic team all those years ago.”

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