HCA NEWS Football legend Pelé ambassador for Andersen

I Brazil they refer to him as God, and in the rest of the world he is recognized as the foremost football player of all times. Today he became Ambassador for Hans Christian Andersen.

By ms - H.C. Andersen 2005 - 15 May 2003

On a rainy day in Copenhagen HRH Crown Prince Frederik today appointed the Brazilian football icon, Pelé, as Hans Christian Andersen Ambassador. The event took place at a luncheon at Copenhagen Town Hall hosted by Lord Mayor, Jens Kramer Mikkelsen. 

As Ambassador for Hans Christian Andersen Pelé is to use his name in the celebration of Andersen's bicentennial in 2005 in order to profile the event worldwide as much as possible.

Apart from HRH Crown Prince Frederik, Pelé and the Lord Mayor of Copenhagen, the Mayor of Odense, Anker Boye, also took part in the ceremony in his capacity of Chairman of the Board of H.C. ANDERSEN 2005.

Lord Mayor Jens Kramer Mikkelsen welcomed Pelé while Anker Boye on behalf of Hans Christian Andersen 2005 expressed his sincere gratitude to Pelé for having agreed to act as Hans Christian Andersen Ambassador. Following this, HRH Crown Prince Frederik appointed the Brazilian football star.

"The Hans Christian Andersen ambassadors have been selected because of their commitment to exploring the human condition. Throughout his career as a football player and through his commitment to humanitarian causes, Pelé has been an inspiration to millions across the world. There is no doubt that Pelé has made himself worthy to represent such an important cause as the exploration of the human condition in the name and spirit of Hans Christian Andersen," said HRH Crown Prince Frederik when he addressed the choice of Pelé.

Massive carrer
62-year-old Pelé finished his career more than 25 years ago but more than ever his name lives on. He scored 1281 goals in 1363 matches. He started his career in 1956 playing for Santos in Sao Paulo where he stayed until 1974. In this period, he helped the club secure a number of titles, but he became an international name as early as 1958 when he dribbled his way to securing the world championship for Brazil during the World Cup in Sweden. He repeated this test piece twice - in 1962 and 1970. His career ended in Cosmos in New York in 1977 after securing the championship, of course. 

In 1978, Pelé received the International Peace Award, and in 1993, he was admitted to the US National Soccer Hall of Fame. He has been voted "Athlete of the Century" three times - in 1980 and twice in 1999.

Ambassadors for Andersen
Up to the bicentennial, a long list of Danish and international celebrities and icons in politics, sports, movies, culture and entertainment will be appointed Hans Christian Andersen Ambassadors who will contribute to promoting the awareness of the life and work of Hans Christian Andersen.

HRH Crown Prince Frederik appointed the first Hans Christian Andersen Ambassadors at a ceremony in New York last autumn.

The first seven Ambassadors are:
rock musician Suzanne Vega, the actor Harvey Keitel, the actress Susan Sarandon, the actor Boyd Gaines, the Danish-American actress Connie Nielsen, the jazz pianist McCoy Tyner and the Danish Artistic Director of the New York City Ballet, Peter Martins. The appointing of Pelé at Copenhagen Town Hall is the first appointing of a H.C. Andersen Ambassador in Denmark.

At the picture from the left:
Lord Mayor of Copenhagen Jens Kramer Mikkelsen, Crown Prince Frederik, Pelé, and Chairman of the Board of Hans Christian Andersen 2005 Foundation as well as Mayor of Odense, Anker Boye.

Watch our reportage from the event in HCA Cinema!