Pele, the Brazilian considered by most soccer fans the world’s greatest player ever, revealed that he has been retired since last year and is collecting a government pension, and he said that he’d like to have a cup of coffee with U.S. President Barack Obama “when he’s a little calmer,” Veja magazine reported on Sunday, according to Latin American Herald Tribune.
Edson Arantes do Nascimento, known universally as Pele, said that he officially retired in October 2008, 31 years after hanging up his cleats, adding that he was collecting a government retirement check of 3,000 reais (about $1,265) per month.
“I already pay half price to go to the movies and I can take the bus free,” Pele joked in his interview with the Brazilian weekly.
He acknowledged that, despite receiving the pension, he continues to appear at conferences and lend his image to advertising campaigns.
Among many other activities, Pele is the public face of the Santander bank at the Copa Libertadores, as well as the image of the organizing committee of the Brazil 2014 World Cup, the championship that he expects to mark his “true retirement.”
Then, he hopes that “if they know how to manage” the wealth he has accumulated, his grandchildren “won’t need to work” at all during their lives.
Pele, who ended his career on the field with the New York Cosmos in 1977, said that he’s still greatly loved in the United States, noting that the U.S. Embassy in Brasilia invited him to Obama’s inauguration ceremony, although he could not attend due to a preexisting professional commitment.
“I sent (Obama) a message of congratulations and he sent me an e-mail saying he needs a lot from Brazil and he really wants to work with us. When Obama is a little calmer, without that pressure, I’ll go by to have a cup of coffee with him, like I did with Kennedy, with Nixon and with Clinton,” the soccer legend said.