Brazil Unveils Statue of Pele to Celebrate 50th Anniversary of 1970 World Cup Win

Pele’s likeness will live on forever…

The Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) has unveiled a statue of the 79-year-old futbol living legend at its headquarters, the first of a series of events to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the team’s third World Cup triumph.

Pele

Pele, who will be 80 in October and finds it difficult to walk, wasn’t present at the ceremony in the CBF’s museum but had been given a preview of the statue, which he declared “perfect.”

JairzinhoClodoaldo and Brito were among members of the 1970 team present at the ceremony along with Brazil coach Tite.

Pele Statue

The 1970 Brazil side, led by Pele and featuring names like GersonTostaoRivelinoand Carlos Alberto, is known as one of the greatest teams of all time. They won all seven of their matches in Mexico that June, culminating with a 4-1 over Italy in the final at the Aztec stadium.

The statue of Pele, dressed in the strip worn by the 1970 team, bears a close resemblance to the former Santos and New York Cosmosstriker.

Many of Pele’s recent appearances have been in a wheelchair as his health has slowly deteriorated.

His son Edinho said in an interview in February that the Brazil legend is depressed over his poor health and reluctant to leave the house because he cannot walk unaided.

Neymar Signs Papers for His Transfer to FC Barcelona

It’s official… Neymar is headed to España…

The 21-year-old Brazilian striker made his move to Futbol Club Barcelona official on Monday, signing the papers for his transfer from Brazil’s Santos FC to this year’s Spanish champion.

Neymar

Next on the agenda is a visit to the office of Barça club president Sandro Rosell, where Neymar will ink his five-year deal.

The club expects to present Neymar to the fans next week, though the exact day will depend on his commitments with the Brazilian national team.

Barcelona has yet to reveal how much the team paid for Neymar, but some media accounts have mentioned a transfer fee in the realm of 100 million euros ($129.3 million).

Neymar still had a year left on his contract with Santos, which last Friday accepted offers from both Barça and archrival Real Madrid and left it up to the striker to decide where he wanted to go.

The latest soccer phenom to come out of Brazil joined the Santos organization as a youngster and was promoted to the senior squad in 2009.

Neymar’s 138 goals in 230 matches have been a big part of why Santos has won six titles, including the Brazilian Cup and the Copa Libertadores, in the last four years.

At Barça, he will be part of a lineup led by Lionel Messi, widely regarded as the world’s best player.

Neymar Agrees to Five-Year-Deal with FC Barcelona

It looks like Neymar is heading to Spain…

Futbol Club Barcelona has agreed to a five-year-deal worth a reported $36.12 million with the 21-year-old Brazilian striker, wooing him away from his club in Brazil, Santos.

Neymar

“FC Barcelona and Santos have agreed terms for Neymar. The 21-year old is one of the most promising footballers on the planet,” said FC Barcelona in a statement.

“On Monday, I sign a contract with Barcelona. I want to thank the fans of Santos by these incredible nine years,” wrote Neymar on Instagram.

The statement in Portuguese added: “My feeling for the club and the fans will never change. Titles, goals, dribbling, celebrations and songs that fans created for me will be forever in my heart.

Neymar had been considering his future after Santos revealed they had accepted two offers for their star player, with Barcelona confirmed as one of the bidders and Real Madrid widely assumed to be the other.

His contract with Santos was due to expire at the end of next season.

Neymar will say goodbye to the Santos fans at Sunday’s season-opening game against Flamengo before joining Barcelona after the Confederations Cup, which starts in Brazil on June 15 and finishes on June 30.

The signing ends years of speculation about which team would be the first to persuade the player to make the move to Europe.

As well as Real Madrid,  he has also been linked with Chelsea  and Manchester United  since making his debut for Santos in 2009.

Neymar led Santos to their greatest run since Pele stopped playing for the club in the 1970s, helping the team win the 2010 Brazilian Cup, the 2011 Copa Libertadores and three straight Sao Paulo state championships.

He’s the club’s leading scorer in the post-Pele era with 138 goals in 229 matches.

Neymar is also considered Brazil’s key player for the 2014 World Cup.

Messi Scores History-Making 86th Goal of 2012…

He’s already considered one of the greatest soccer players of all-time… And Lionel Messi  has just shown the world another reason why…

The 25-year-old Argentine fútbol star broke German great Gerd Muller’s 40-year-old record for most goals in a year on Sunday by scoring for the 86th time in 2012.

Lionel Messi

Messi scored twice to lead FC Barcelona to a 2-1 win at Real Betis in the Spanish league match.

His first was an individual effort in the 16th minute to tie Muller’s mark, and he eclipsed the 1972 milestone with a left-footed finish nine minutes later.

“As I have said many times, the record is nice but the important thing is the victory that keeps us on the path we want to continue on,” said Messi. “As I always say, my objectives are on a team level: to win the league, the Champions League and the Copa del Rey again.”

Messi has scored 74 goals for Barcelona and 12 times for Argentina this year, and he still has three games left to add to his tally before the end of the year. Muller scored 85 for Bayern Munich and West Germany.

The 25-year-old Messi passed Brazil great Pele‘s single-season milestone of 75 goals for Brazil and Santos in 1958 with his 75th and 76th goals of the year on November 11 to move into second place behind Muller.

“We won’t see another player like (Messi),” said Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova. “Not just because of his ability to score. But also for his ability to pass, play defense, and his understandings of the game. He is a global star that helps us in so many ways.”

Messi  is one of the three finalists for the FIFA world player of the year award along with teammate Andres Iniesta and Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo. He’s won the Ballon d’Or for the past three years in helping Barcelona win three Spanish league titles and two Champions League crowns, along with several other competitions. He ‘s seeking to become the only player to win the award for a fourth time when the winner is announced on January 7.

“Leo is supernatural,” said Barcelona defender Gerard Pique. “He doesn’t have limits. We’ll always have to remember everything he gave us. We have to enjoy every minute we have with him.”

Messi Could Pick Up a Fourth FIFA Ballon d’Or Award

Lionel Messi has the chance to make soccer history…

The 25-year-old Argentine fútbol star, who just claimed his second Golden Boot award, is among the 23 players in the running for the 2012 FIFA Ballon d’Or award.

Lionel Messi

Should he come out on top, Messi, who made history by claiming the award the last three years in a row, would become the only player to claim the award four times.

But Messi will face stiff competition from several noted players, including Cristiano Ronaldo and Xavi Hernandez, this year’s runners-up for the world’s best player award.

Here’s a look at the nominees:

Real Madrid Players:
Cristiano Ronaldo
Iker Casillas
Mesut Ozil
Karim Benzema
Sergio Ramos
Xabi Alonso

Barcelona Players:
Lionel Messi
Andres Iniesta
Sergio Busquets
Gerard Pique
Xavi Hernandez

Atletico Madrid Player:
Radamel Falcao

Manchester City Players:
Mario Balotelli
Sergio Aguero
Yaya Toure

Manchester United Players:
Wayne Rooney
Robin van Persie

Juventus Players:
Andrea Pirlo
Gianluigi Buffon

Shanghai Shenhua Player:
Didier Drogba

PSG Player:
Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Bayern Munich Player:
Manuel Neuer

Santos Player:
Neymar

The final three candidates will be revealed on November 29 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

The Ballon d’Or ceremony will take place in Zurich on January 7, 2013, when the player who receives the most votes from coaches and captains of international teams, as well as reporters, will be announced.