Many people are surprised to hear Bob Marley was a fanatic soccer player and fan.That doesn’t seem to fit their image of world’s most legendary reggae star : the marihuana smoking, the lazy reggae beats, the dreadlock rastafari easy going attitude, the political activism, …
“Football is a whole skill to itself. A whole world. A whole universe to itself. Me love it because you have to be skilful to play it! Freedom! Football is freedom.” (Bob Marley- 1979)”
Bob Marley simply loved kicking a ball. About every single day when on tour or in the recording studio. He also loved watching soccer on tv. His favourite team was Santos Futebol Clube ( Brazil ). His favourite player was Edson Arantes do Nascimento, world famous as Pele, who began playing for Santos at age 15.
On a trip to Brazil ( Rio de Janeiro, 1970 ) Bob Marley joined in on a heated street soccer game with some fellow musicians, people from record label Ariola, Brazilian street kids and Paulo Cesar, member of the 1970 Brazilian World Cup team. Before the game the Brazilians had given him a number 10 Santos shirt ( Pele’s number). Bob Marley had smiled, and, while putting it on, was heard saying that, just like Pele, he too could play in all positions.