The Beautiful Game (Portuguese : o jogo bonito) is a nickname for association football, popular within media and advertising. It was popularised by the Brazilian professional footballer Pelé. Although the exact origin of the phrase is disputed, football commentator Stuart Hall used it in 1958. Hall admired Peter Doherty when he went to see Manchester City play at Maine Road and used the term "The Beautiful Game" to describe Doherty's style when playing.
The exact origins of the term are disputed. The origin has been attributed to Brazilian footballer Waldyr "Didi" Pereira,and the presenter Stuart Hall claimed to have originated it in 1958. The English author and football fanatic H. E. Bates used the term earlier, including in a 1952 newspaper piece extolling the virtues of the game entitled "Brains in the Feet".
Earlier writers used the term in 1848 to describe the game of baaga'adowe , a forerunner of lacrosse as played by Ojibwe at Vauxhall Gardens in London,and to tennis in 1890.
Brazilian footballer Pelé is credited with making the phrase synonymous with football.In 1977, he named his autobiography My Life and the Beautiful Game. The book's dedication reads "I dedicate this book to all the people who have made this great game the Beautiful Game." The phrase has entered the language as a description for football.
The nickname serves as the name of the 1996 album The Beautiful Game . Featuring football anthems such as “Three Lions”, the music writer John Harris states that the album captures how the build-up to UEFA Euro 1996 "caught the imagination of the UK's musicians.”
It is referenced in the title of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 2000 musical The Beautiful Game . It is used as a title for the 13-part 2002 series charting the history of the game: History of Football: The Beautiful Game, narrated by the actor Terence Stamp.
The song “Wavin' Flag” – rapper K'naan‘s Coca-Cola promotional anthem for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa – contained the lyric “let’s rejoice in the Beautiful Game.”
In January 2014, New Model Army released a song called The Beautiful Game in support of the project "Spirit of Football".A football podcast was released with the title "The Beautiful Game".
Sportswear company Nike has referenced the beautiful game in its football commercials. In 1996, a Nike commercial titled "Good vs Evil" was a gladiatorial game set in a Roman amphitheatre where ten football players from around the world, including Eric Cantona, Ronaldo, Paolo Maldini, Luís Figo, Patrick Kluivert and Jorge Campos, defend "the beautiful game" against a team of demonic warriors, which culminates in Cantona receiving the ball from Ronaldo, pulling up his shirt collar, and delivering the final line, "Au Revoir", before striking the ball and destroying evil.
Nike also uses the Portuguese phrase Joga bonito—meaning "play beautifully", and not "beautiful game", which would be Jogo bonito—as one of its slogans for football products.Nike began using the slogan Joga bonito in a campaign preceding the 2006 FIFA World Cup in an attempt to curb players' behaviours on the pitch. In collaboration with, and promoted by, former international footballer Eric Cantona (who once karate-kicked a fan), Nike released a series of adverts to promote a game that is skillful and dignified, not riddled with theatrics and poor sportsmanship.
Sportswear company Adidas named an official match ball of UEFA Euro 2016 Adidas Beau Jeu which translates to "The Beautiful Game" in English.
Edson Arantes do Nascimento, KBE, known as Pelé, is a Brazilian retired professional footballer who played as a forward. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time. In 1999, he was voted World Player of the Century by the International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFHS), and was one of the two joint winners of the FIFA Player of the Century award. That same year, Pelé was elected Athlete of the Century by the International Olympic Committee. According to the IFFHS, Pelé is the most successful domestic league goal-scorer in football history scoring 650 goals in 694 League matches, and in total 1281 goals in 1363 games, which included unofficial friendlies and is a Guinness World Record. During his playing days, Pelé was for a period the best-paid athlete in the world.
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The player I fell in love with and who inspired me to coin the phrase "the beautiful game" was Peter Doherty, an inside forward, my first hero.