Football

Pele refuses to participate in World Cup draw

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Former Brazilian striker Edson Arantes do Nascimento, popularly known as Pele, has insisted that he will not be taking part in the 2014 World Cup draw which will be held in Bahia, Brazil on Friday.

The 73-year-old retired football, who netted a total of 1,283 goals in his career, has served as a representative for his motherland during such draws in several occasions.

And although he said he will be in the audience during the draw, Pele insisted that he has declined the offer of lending a hand because he is worried about landing Brazil in a difficult group.

"President Dilma (Rousseff) suggested that I represent Brazil when it came to pulling the balls out of the pots, which I've done several times before," Brazilian media quoted the former great Brazil striker as saying at an event in Sao Paulo.

"I preferred to turn down the offer because I wouldn't feel comfortable in picking out balls which are not favourable to Brazil."

Pele has earned a reputation in Brazil as a "pe-frio", literally "cold foot", and when asked about it by a reporter, he gave a sarcastic response.

"I won five world titles, two with Santos and three with the national team and I scored more than one thousand goals, so you're right, I'm a cold foot," he said.

"I will be there, God willing," Pele added. "I will give interviews, accompany the delegations from abroad and do what is necessary, representing President Dilma."

However,the organisers of the draw said on Monday that Pele would make an appearance in some shape or form. They also added that he would provide the "wow factor."

The 2014 Fifa World Cup, which takes place in Brazil, will commence on June, 12 and end on July, 13.

It will be the 20th time the tournament has been held, although the first to take place in Brazil since 1950 - when the host nation lost to Uruguay in the final.

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