Pelé—yes, that Pelé—has collaborated with Grammy-winning duo Rodrigo y Gabriela on a new song in honor of his 80th birthday, on Friday, “Acredita No Véio (Listen To The Old Man)”. The surprising, multi-cultural collaboration between the Mexican duo and the Brazilian soccer icon arrives worldwide today, Tuesday, October 20th, via Rubyworks.

Pelé, one of the most famous athletes in the world in the 1970s, is widely regarded as the greatest soccer player of all time. He was one of two recipients of the FIFA “Player of the Century” honor in 1999 (alongside Diego Maradona). That same year, he was elected “Athlete of the Century” by the International Olympic Committee. Beyond his countless records on the field, Pelé is hailed as a hero in Brazil and beyond for outspoken support of policy changes to improve social conditions for the poor.

While his name is appropriately associated with sport, Pelé has always maintained a quiet yet active interest in songwriting. As he explained in a press release (via a conversation with Alex Bellos), “I didn’t want the public to make the comparison between Pelé the composer and Pelé the footballer. That would have been a huge injustice – in football my talent was a gift from God, music was just for fun.”

Now, however, with 80 years under his belt, Pelé is ready to show that long-hidden side of his voice: “I’ve written many books, I’ve scored many goals, I’ve fathered children, I’ve planted many trees. The only thing that’s lacking is a musical memento of my life.”

This special collaboration track began when Rodrigo y Gabriela, fresh off their 2020 Grammy win for “Best Contemporary Instrumental Album” for their latest album, Mettavolution, were invited by fellow Mexican music producer Jorge Berlanga to contribute a song for a tribute to legendary Hispanic composer Armando Manzanero. Upon discovering that Rodrigo and Gabriela were big soccer fans, Berlanga mentioned that he was a good friend of Pelé, and asked if they would be interested in working on a song together. The duo jumped at the chance to collaborate with the legendary athlete.

The creative energy quickly began to flow between Sao Paulo, Brazil and Ixtapa, Mexico. “Acredita No Véio” was originally written by Pelé in 2005 while working with his regular musical partner, the Brazilian jazz musician and arranger Ruria Duprat. With the help of Rodrigo Sánchez and Gabriela Quintero, the song took on new life.

“We are both big soccer fans,” the flamenco fusion guitarists noted in a press statement. “Growing up in Mexico City, we heard many stories about Pelé and the legendary Brazilian team that triumphed at the 1970 World Cup in our homeland. Imagine our surprise and delight to find out that not only is Pelé the greatest footballer of all-time, but is also a very talented singer and songwriter? It is a huge honor for us to collaborate with Pelé on the occasion of his 80th Birthday.”

Along with the sunny, clap-along tune, sung in Portuguese by Pelé and a chorus of young backing vocalists, the trio shared an animation-assisted lyric video (with English titles, so those of us who don’t speak Portuguese can follow along) featuring both actual and illustrated clips of Pelé in action. It’s the impeccable, intertwined acoustic accompaniment from Rod and Gab, however, that elevate “Acredita No Véio (Listen To The Old Man)” from human interest story/children’s sing-along to truly catchy new song.

Listen to “Acredita No Véio (Listen To The Old Man)” by Pelé and Rodrigo y Gabriela below:

Pelé Ft. Rodrigo y Gabriela – “Acredita No Véio (Listen To The Old Man)”