Pele has turned down an opportunity to take part in Friday’s World Cup Draw for next summer’s tournament because he feared putting the hosts in a tough group.
Pele will be at the ceremony in Costa do Sauipe but he declined an invitation from Brazil’s president to help divide the 32 qualified nations into eight groups for next year’s tournament.
“President Dilma [Rousseff] suggested that I represent Brazil when it came to pulling the balls out of the pots, which I’ve done several times before,” Pele told the Daily Mail.
“I preferred to turn down the offer because I wouldn’t feel comfortable in picking out balls which are not favorable to Brazil.
“I will be there, God willing. I will give interviews, accompany the delegations from abroad and do what is necessary, representing President Dilma.”
Pele’s reluctance to help draw the balls stems from his reputation in Brazil as a ‘pe-fri’, or ‘cold foot’, although he was a bit touchy when asked about it.
“I won five world titles, two with Santos and three with the national team and I scored more than one thousand goals, so you’re right, I’m a cold foot,” he said.
Friday’s draw begins at 11:00am ET. Be sure to come by Pro Soccer Talk throughout the day for live updates, reactions and analysis.