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When Samba took over Aston

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Art of Football have launched their 'The Artists' collection, which makes it a perfect excuse to write about the time Pele himself visited Aston.

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To commemorate the launch of the brilliant Art of Football's 'The Artists' collection, we've taken a trip back in time.

If you were to time-travel to Villa Park and watch their matches fourty-four years ago this month, you would have witnessed stars such as Charlie Aitken, Bruce Rioch and Pat McMahon. You may have also caught a glance at Pelé as well.

Wait? I surely can't mean the Pelé?

The youngest player to play in a World Cup final, the star at the centre of the New York Cosmos, the gem from Santos?

Yes, that same Pelé would set foot onto the hallowed turf of Villa Park during a friendly with the Villans in 1972. To put that in perspective, my father was five and now he's as old as hell.

Whilst there are living legends in the game today, namely Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Manuel Neur and Gabby Agbonlahor - I'm not certain that any of these came close to the natural ability of Edson Arantes do Nascimento, or as his mates called him: Pelé. The Brazilian dynamo is one of the most revered people in the world, let alone in the realm of football and having absorbed as many archive clips and witness accounts of him as I could have possibly taken in, the only fact remains is that there is and will only ever be one Pelé.

In the limited amount footage available, it's clear that Pelé was playing a different sport to everyone else on the pitch. In his time, it's likely that only a limited amount of players would EVER come close to the natural ability displayed by Pelé and that includes 'the galloping major' Ferenc Puskas, Alfredo di Stefano, George Best, Bobby Moore, Ronaldo and Pelé's team-mate, Garrincha.

You saw right, your eyes won't deceive you - Aston Villa beat the samba stars Santo 2-1. I still can't believe someone as legendary as Pelé graced the turf of Villa Park (although, I couldn't contain my glee at watching Bastian Schweinsteiger earlier this year..).

Pelé will pass on one day, but George Best and others have proved that greatness has another benefit - immortality.

I didn't want to simply advertise the Art of Football's new collection by sticking a link down and packing it off, because it wouldn't do them justice. They make good, good stuff and have supported us as a blog as well. Please check out their new collection here and Pelé may yet grace B6 again (albeit in cloth form).