By Barry Janoff
January 19, 2014: Pelé has long been an iconic figure on the soccer pitch. Now, he's getting the opportunity to pitch himself in the air.
The 73-year-old Pelé, regarded as the greatest soccer player of all time, has signed a deal to be a global ambassador for Emirates Airline.
Emirates, which is an official partner of FIFA, said it would feature Pelé in a multi-platform campaign leading up to and then during the World Cup, to be played in Pelé's native Brazil this June-July.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Pelé recently signed a deal with Subway that also will include marketing centered around the World Cup.
"I'm proud to be part of the @emirates team," Pelé wrote on his Twitter page of the alliance, which was unveiled at a media conference in Dubai, home of Emirates Airline. "Together, we will make the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil a great experience for travelers."
“Pelé is a global icon," Sheikh Majid Al Mualla, divisional svp-commercial operations for Emirates Airline, said during the media event late last week. "He is recognized, respected, and an inspiration to people around the world. He represents the best values of ‘the beautiful game’ of football, not only because he was a great player, but also because he uses the power of sports to connect people – with each other, with communities, and with opportunities."
"He is recognized, respected, and an inspiration to people around the world. He represents the best values of ‘the beautiful game’ of football."
The alliance between Pelé and Emirates AIrline was an organic extension of the carrier's status as the official airline and jersey-front sponsor for the NASL's New York Cosmos, for whom Pelé played from 1975-77 where he is now honorary president. Last year, the Cosmos won the NASL championship.
"In many ways, Pelé stands for the same values that Emirates does," said Sheikh Majid Al Mualla. "He is the ideal choice for our Global Ambassador and we are thrilled that we will be partnering with him.”
PHOTO: (L-R) Giovanni Savarese, New York Cosmos head coach; Nabil Sultan, Emirates Airline divisional svp-revenue optimization and distribution; and Pelé, New York Cosmos honorary president, unveiling the Emirates Airline Cosmos jersey this past June.
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