The Brazilian football legend Pele has released a song celebrating the impending Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, the first Olympics ever in South America.
The hugely popular star turned to social media earlier in the week to tease the Friday release on download sites. He posted a photo of himself with a smiling face before a microphone, saying he was eager to release a song he had written called “Esperanca,” or “Hope.”
The words of the catchy tune, on which Pele is accompanied by a children’s chorus, promise a “Brazilian festival” that will “make the world happy, with joy and emotion.”
The Olympics open August 5.
Pele, who is 75 and was married for the third time last weekend, is no stranger to the world of music, having recorded as long ago as 1960. In 2006, he even released an album (“Pele Ginga”) in collaboration with the famed Brazilian singer/songwriter Gilberto Gil.
With a dazzling record, including scoring 1,218 goals in 1,363 matches (77 in 91 matches with Brazil’s national team), Edson Arantes do Nascimento — Pele’s birth name — is the only player in history to play on three World Cup-winning teams (1958, 1962 and 1970) and is considered one of the best players of all time.
In 1999, the International Olympic Committee called him one of the best athletes of the 20th century, and a year later FIFA, football’s international governing body, honored him as player of the century.