Pele: Clubs in Europe, Japan and Mexico wanted me after retirement

Brazil legend Pele has revealed he received offers from Europe, Japan and Mexico following his 1977 retirement with the New York Cosmos, but he decided "to retire on top."

Oct. 1 marked the 40th anniversary of Pele's retirement from football. He spent his last three years in activity with the Cosmos of the North American Soccer League after being lured from Santos, the only club he'd played for in his career.

On that date, Pele scored and played for both sides in a friendly between the Cosmos and Santos in front of 75,000 spectators at the Meadowlands, which included Muhammad Ali, Mick Jagger, Robert Redford and Henry Kissinger.

The Brazil international was carried off by his teammates following the match. And the three-time World Cup champion told ESPN Brasil he had no shortage of suitors following his emotional farewell.

"The most important thing for me in my Cosmos' farewell was being able to promote Brazil, because in my last game there were journalists from over the world there to cover," Pele said in an exclusive interview with ESPN Brasil.

"And It's so important, too, that our Brazilian football got recognised inside the USA. I think that retirement was the best decision for Pele, the athlete, and Edson Arantes do Nascimento, the citizen, in cultural terms.

"Some European clubs and others from Japan and Mexico tried to hired me later. But I decide to retire on top."