A Letterkenny antiques dealer has revealed how she sold a signed photo of Pelé weeks before his death.
Frances Spears netted the beautiful image of the famous Brazilian with fellow soccer legend George Best at an auction 18 months ago.
But the Mourne Antiques owner only got her hands on the piece in November. And no sooner had it arrived in the shop until it was snapped up by a customer.
“I bought it at an auction about a year and a half ago and I got someone to collect it for me,” said Ms Spears.
“But every time I went to pick it up, I couldn’t get the person. It wasn’t until November that I finally got it.”
Following his death on December 29 at the age of 82, Pelé was laid to rest in the Brazilian city of Santos on Tuesday.
The photo itself was taken in 1978, around the same time Best faced Pelé when the LA Aztecs took on the New York Cosmos.
The mutual respect is evident with the south American star later describing his Irish counterpart as “an unbelievable player”.
“To me he never looked like a European.
“He was a Latin player, a Brazilian player,” he said.
Best meanwhile is on record as saying, “Pelé called me the greatest footballer in the world. That is the ultimate salute to my life”.
That quote is embedded under the photo that briefly came into the possession of Mourne Antiques.
Frances Spears said, “When it arrived I hung it on the wall straightaway and I put it on Facebook. Someone contacted me a few hours later and said they would take it.
“The picture itself is beautiful because they look so happy in it. You can almost hear Pelé saying ‘You’re the greatest’ and Best replying ‘No, you’re the greatest’.
“It’s such a lovely photograph of them both, a photo from a different era.”
Receive quality journalism wherever you are, on any device. Keep up to date from the comfort of your own home with a digital subscription.
Any time | Any place | Anywhere