x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Pele and Banks tell Ronaldo to stay put

Pele joined in the Cristiano Ronaldo transfer saga debate yesterday by saying he should see out his contract.

Gordon Banks is flanked by Archbishop Desmdond Tutu and Pele at the unveiling of his statue at his former club Stoke's Britannia Stadium.
Gordon Banks is flanked by Archbishop Desmdond Tutu and Pele at the unveiling of his statue at his former club Stoke's Britannia Stadium.

STOKE // Pele joined in the Cristiano Ronaldo transfer saga debate yesterday by insisting the Portugal international should see out his contract with Manchester United. And the Brazil legend also suggested that Sepp Blatter's view that there is "modern slavery" in the game was wide of the mark.

Earlier this week the Fifa president was asked about Ronaldo's current situation and he replied that players who are tied to long-term contracts were treated like slaves. Ronaldo later said he agreed with Blatter's comments. Pele, speaking ahead of a charity football match at Stoke's Britannia Stadium in aid of the Gordon Banks Foundation, said: "You are a slave if you work without a contract or you don't get paid.

"If you have a contract then in any job you have to finish the contract. I think that when he finishes his contract, then he should be free to go wherever he wants to go." The former England goalkeeper Banks added: "I can't understand why he said he felt he was being treated like a slave. If he has just signed a new contract then he should respect his manager and honour it. It's stupid. "I don't understand what the problem is. He plays for a team that has just won the European Cup and the Premier League. He plays for his country. What more does he want?

"It's like anything in life. If a businessman signs a contract then he has to honour it. It' s no different than a professional footballer." Banks pulled off arguably the greatest save in history when scooped the ball over the bar from a point-blank Pele header in England's 1-0 defeat against Brazil in the 1970 World Cup. Pele still remembers the save 38 years on. "From the moment I headed it, I was sure it had gone in," he said.

"After I headed the ball, I had already began to jump to celebrate the goal. Then I looked back and I couldn't believe it hadn't gone in. "I have scored more than a thousand goals in my life and the thing people always talk to me about is the one I didn't score." sports@thenational.ae