Football legend Pelé is Emirates' Global Ambassador

Soccer legend Pele (centre) as he takes a tour of Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building in Dubai.

DUBAI - Emirates airline, an Official FIFA Worldwide Partner, announced on Thursday that Brazilian football legend Pelé will be one of its Global Ambassadors.

The partnership coincides with the highly-anticipated FIFA World Cup™ that will be hosted this summer in Brazil. It was announced at a media conference in Dubai, which brought Pelé to the home of Emirates airline.

This announcement marks the second time the airline has worked with a Global Ambassador to complement its FIFA World Cup™ campaign, the first being Franz Beckenbauer during the 2006 tournament in Germany.

HH Sheikh Majid Al Mualla, Divisional Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations, Emirates Airline said: "Pelé is a global icon. He is recognised, 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 added.

Pelé said that he is honoured to be Emirates' Global Ambassador.

"Emirates is one of the most outstanding brands in global sports today...And with such an international mix of passengers, Emirates is truly a global airline just like the global game of football," he said.

Also known as Brazil's king of football, Pelé is one of the most famous and admired football legends globally.

A spectacular career saw Pelé thrive at International and club level and is recorded as the only man to lift three World Cup titles, in 1958, 1962 and 1970, the first at just 17 years old.

Accolades continued throughout his career and after retirement, including being declared a national treasure by the Brazilian President in 1961, being honoured by the Guinness World Records for the most career goals scored in football, and jointly receiving with Maradona, the one-off FIFA Player of the Century award in 2000.

Earlier this week, he was awarded the FIFA Ballon d'Or Prix d'Honneur for his lifetime achievements.

Emirates is also linked to Pelé through the airline's sponsorship of the Cosmos team in New York City, where he is honorary chairman. Announced in 2013, the New York Cosmos sponsorship marked Emirates' first foray into football in the USA.

Operating daily flights from Dubai to Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, Emirates is expected to transport over 18,000 passengers during the month-long tournament this year.

The airline connects Brazil and the South American continent to the world, facilitating trade and tourism with air transport links beyond Dubai to the Far East, Australia, the Middle East and Africa.

ngkaren@sph.com.sg

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