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SOCCER

Soccer icon Pele calls on Putin to stop Ukraine invasion

Soccer icon Pele urges Russian President Vladimir Putin to stop his invasion of Ukraine as the country’s team prepares to compete for a World Cup spot.

Gidget Alikpala
Update:
Soccer icon Pele urges Russian President Vladimir Putin to stop his invasion of Ukraine as the country’s team prepares to compete for a World Cup spot.
DIARIO AS

Soccer legend Pele has urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to stop the invasion of Ukraine, calling it “wicked” and “unjustifiable”. He made the call as the war-torn country’s national team prepares to compete against Scotland for a spot at the World Cup.

“Today Ukraine tries to forget, at least for 90 minutes, the tragedy that still engulfs their country. To compete for a place in the World Cup is already a difficult task- almost an impossible now with so many lives at stake,” he wrote.

Pele: War exists to separate nations

“I want to use today’s match as an opportunity to make a request: stop the invasion. There is absolutely no justification for this continued violence.

“This conflict is wicked, unjustifiable and brings nothing but pain, fear, terror and anguish. There’s no reason for it to last any longer.”

Pele looks back on meeting with Putin

The Brazilian, widely considered as one of the greatest soccer players of all time, recalled his meeting with the president a few years ago before the World Cup in Russia.

“When we met in the past and exchanged smiled accompanied by a long handshake, I never thought one day we would be as divided as we are right now.

“The power to stop this conflict is in your hands. The same ones I shook in Moscow, at our last meeting in 2017.”

The 81-year-old has been involved in various causes throughout his life, serving as a UN ambassador for the environment, championing children’s rights and speaking out against racism. He has set up a foundation to benefit children and fight for poverty alleviation.

The three-time world champion has recently been going through some health problems, and has been in and out of the hospital for treatment of a colon tumor, among other ailments.

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