Iconic soccer star Pele asked that his son Joshua, who plays for the Santos Sub-20 team, and his grandson Octavio Felinto, who at age 16 has just turned pro for Guarani de Divinopolis, not be compared with him, media reported on Sunday.
"I'm proud of them all and for my son Joshua and my grandson Octavio I hope that they have the same good fortune I had and that they continue representing the family," said Edson Arantes do Nascimento, known worldwide as Pele, in an interview with Sao Paulo daily O Estado. (Also read: Maradona to play football match to support Colombia's peace process)
Joshua, who lived with his mother and twin sister in the US for several years, has not played much on the Santos youth team due to frequent injuries.
Octavio Felinto, meanwhile, after being unable to garner much note on several Brazilian kids' soccer squads, like Sao Paulo, finished this season by signing with the modest Divinopolis-based Guarani, a team that is playing in the Mineiro Championship, the regional tourney in Minsas Gerais state, but he has not taken the field yet.
Octavio is the son of Sandra Regina, the daughter Pele had to acknowledge in 1966 after a paternity test and who died of cancer in 2006 at age 42.
"I've already seen Joshua play several times and train with the boys his age. My advice is not to want Joshua to be a new Pele. Dodinho and Dona Celeste -- his parents -- made Pele and threw out the mold," Pele said.
Pele said that it all boils down to a "question of genes", that "only God can explain" and he noted that his father Dondinho was a well-known striker who "holds the record of making five header goals in a single game".
"Zoca, my brother, was also a professional player for Del Santos. So it's something genetic. In some way, the boys are going to carry forward what Pele did in soccer for years, both at Santos and on the Brazilian team. I'm proud of them all," he added.