Pele sues Samsung for $30 million over advert lookalike

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Brazil legend Pele is suing electronics giant Samsung for $30 million, claiming the South Korean firm used a lookalike of him in an advert that appeared in The New York Times last year.

The 75-year-old is seeking compensation after Samsung published an ad that featured a model resembling Pele next to a football player performing a scissor-kick, one of the skills he popularised during his playing days.

The complaint filed states the man used in the ad - which promotes ultra high-definition televisions - “very closely resembles” Pele, and that the player is performing a “modified bicycle or scissors-kick, perfected and famously used by Pelé.”


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According to Fortune, Pele filed the lawsuit in Chicago earlier this month.

The former striker, widely regarded as one of the greatest to ever play the game, relies on endorsements for much of his income. Pele and his advisors are believed to be concerned that the Samsung ad will hurt the value of his endorsement rights while confusing customers into believing he has a contract with the technology company.

Samsung tried to strike a deal with Pele in 2013 but talks broke down.

Pele’s lawyer, Frederick Sperling, told Fortune: “The goal is to obtain fair compensation for the unauthorized use of Pele’s identity, and to prevent future unauthorized uses.”

So, it would appear Pele isn’t enjoying retirement to its maximum.

Three-time World Cup winner

This is quite surprising considering his status in the game. Pele, Brazil’s all-time leading goalscorer, won three World Cups and shared the FIFA Player of the Century award with Diego Maradona in 2000.

It’s a shame he never took his talents to Europe. Pele played the bulk of his career for Santos in his home country before joining New York Cosmos in 1975.

For those who were unable to watch him in action, Pele’s skills can perhaps best be summed up by a couple of quotes from two of football’s greats: Ferenc Puskas and Johan Cruyff.

Puskas said, per FIFA: “The greatest player in history was Di Stefano. I refuse to classify Pele as a player. He was above that.”

Meanwhile, Cruyff said: “Pele was the only footballer who surpassed the boundaries of logic.”

Is Pele the greatest?

The argument will rage on as to who the greatest player in football history is but changes in technology, dietary habits and discipline make it almost impossible to name the one player who comes out on top.

What’s for certain is that Pele belongs in the discussion.

Could Pele be successful in today's game? Have your say in the comments section below!

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