A Puma ad with Pelé A Puma ad with Pelé. (Boss Hunter.)

Soccer legend Pelé, who recently died at the age of 82 following a lengthy battle with colon cancer, made $120,000 to tie his shoe at midfield before the 1970 World Cup quarterfinal.

Sports business reporter Joe Pompliano rehashed the payment following the death of Pelé:

The financial windfall would be the equivalent of $1 million in 2022 with inflation.

At the time, Puma and Adidas, two competing shoe companies separately founded by German brothers Adolf and Rudolf Dassler, had negotiated a truce around the world’s foremost soccer star. The companies agreed negotiations could bankrupt both companies.

Puma, however, didn’t honor the deal. The company paid Pelé (and purportedly the cameraman, too!) to simply kneel before the World Cup quarterfinal against Peru and tie his shoe.

Pele and Brazil defeated Peru, 4-2, in that game. Brazil would go on to win the 1970 World Cup, which would be Pelé’s third and final triumph in the tournament.

Pelé became one of the greatest players in soccer history, and Puma saw record annual sales, bolstered by further ads like the one at the top of this post.

“Today, 50 years after Puma secretly signed Pelé, the citizens of their hometown, Herzogenaurach, take brand loyalty to new levels,” Pompliano wrote. “Shopkeepers favor one brand and refuse to serve customers wearing the other, regardless of the circumstances.

“As they say, ‘People don’t forget.'”

[Joe Pompliano on Twitter; top image via Boss Hunting]