Although I never saw him play in the flesh, I felt a connection with the Brazilian football star Pelé. When I was a kid, and if I’m being honest also well into adulthood, I always pretended I was Kenny Dalglish when I played football. But at heart, part of me was Edson Arantes do Nascimento.

Pelé was his nickname, as is the way of Brazilian football, and he was originally named after the American inventor Thomas Edison. However, the registrar made a typo when he was writing his birth certificate and the rest is football history. But there was no mistaking his talent.

Another South American footballer hit the headlines recently when Lionel Messi lifted the World Cup with Argentina. This was only fair given he had won everything else in the game ad nauseum, and there then came the obvious comparisons with Pelé, who died at the end of December. Both men came from the same part of the World, both were huge talents and both footballing icons. This didn’t bother me in the slightest.

What did bother me were similar comparisons with Diego Maradona, another South American football wunderkind with a glittering trophy cabinet. Where this sticks in my craw is that Maradona was a serial cheat whose so-called hand of god semi-final goal against England, allowed Argentina to win the 1986 Mexico World Cup and whose positive drug test at the USA World Cup eight years later saw him sent home in disgrace with his international career at an end.

Part of Pelé’s hero status was that as well as being the ultimate football player, he was the ultimate sportsman too.