Pelé and Franz Beckenbauer were two of the most gifted and decorated players of their generation. They famously played together for New York Cosmos in the twilight of their careers in the late 1970s.
Their life after football has been just as remarkable. Pelé is a UN ambassador for ecology and environment, while Beckenbauer was a successful manager and is now honorary president at Bayern Munich.
But for one of their former Cosmos team-mates, life has been markedly different.
Santiago Formoso may have played alongside Beckenbauer and roomed with Pelé in the late 1970s but the Spanish-American had to change careers once he hung up his boots, just to make ends meet.
In an interview with Spanish newspaper MARCA, Formoso revealed that he is now an Uber driver, where he no doubt regales his lucky passengers with anecdotes from his playing days.
“I started as a taxi driver because I am fascinated by the steering wheel,” he told MARCA. “I shared a room with [Pelé]. It was incredibly easy to play with him because he made the difficult things seem easy.”
Pelé retired in 1977, one year before Formoso signed for the Cosmos. However, Pelé returned to the States for a number of exhibition matches.
Formoso played far more regularly with Beckenbauer, his defensive partner in the heart of the Cosmos rearguard for much of the 1978 and 1979 North American Soccer League seasons.
“During a very hot day one summer, I was calmly drinking a coke when, all of a sudden, I noticed Beckenbauer tossing my can against the wall and stamping on it,” Formoso said.
“He was screaming that I was crazy due to the chemicals in the drink [but] then handed me a beer.”
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