Iconic picture of Derry man Hilary Carlyle separating Pelé and Eusébio widely shared as tributes pour in for Brazil legend

As tributes pour in for Pelé an iconic photograph of Derry man Hilary Carlyle separating the Brazilian soccer legend from Portuguese great Eusébio is being widely shared.

Edson Arantes do Nascimento, who plied his trade under the nom de guerre Pelé passed away at the age of 82 on Thursday after a battle with cancer.

The legendary Brazil and Santos number 10 won the World Cup three times and his performances with the Seleção made him the most famous footballer on the planet.

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Known as O Rei (The King) in his native Brazil he was considered one of the greatest footballers of all time and shared the FIFA Player of the Century award in 2000 with the late Argentine superstar Diego Maradona.

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Pelé spent most of his career at Santos with whom he won six Brazilians titles and ten Paulista championships.

However, he ended his career at the New York Cosmos in the United States where he played against George Best – a player he once said he regarded as the best in the world – as well as one Hilary Carlyle from Derry.

An iconic photograph of the former Finn Harps and Dundalk star separating Pelé from his Las Vegas Quicksilvers teammate Eusébio during a North American Soccer League (NASL) match in 1977 has been widely shared following news of the Brazil legend’s passing.

In a strange quirk of fate Eusébio would go on to witness Hilary’s brother Paul score for Derry City against Benfica when the Candystripes faced the Lisbon Eagles at the Brandywell in the European Cup in 1989.

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As it happens Pelé considered Hilary’s countryman George Best, who played for the Los Angeles Aztecs in the late 1970s, the greatest footballer of all time.

He once said: “The great football critics said that because of his technical skills he didn’t seem like a European athlete but rather like a Brazilian athlete who danced the samba with the ball at his feet.

Hilary Carlyle separating Pelé and Eusébio.
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“George Best until today is a footballer without comparison and his technical skills will never be forgotten.”

Three years ago Pelé shared an image of him bringing down the Belfast-native with a tackle from behind, stating: “He was so good that sometimes all you could do was foul him.”