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Dirty Tackle

Pele thinks fear of losing has killed desire to play beautifully

Dirty Tackle

Pele is making the rounds to promote his new book "Why Maradona is Dumb" "Why Soccer Matters," which has given him the opportunity to tell you how the game used to be so much better. In an interview with the AP, the Brazilian legend, who retired in 1977, says the modern game is too bogged down with financial interests and the fear of losing it creates to worry about putting on a show.

From the AP:

''Italy always played defense - in my time, now, always,'' he said. ''But unfortunately today, I think because of the millions, because of the new technology, because of the money from the sponsors, the people, they don't care the way they win.''

He says the message from coaches is not win, but rather ''don't lose.''

''They don't care about the beautiful game. They don't care about the elegance of football. In my time, we used to think and give a little show.''

Fans are as much to blame as the owners, coaches and players. Though there are often complaints when teams kill a game by either playing too defensively or dominating possession with thousands of short passes, the consequences for losing are far, far worse.

There are still elegant players and teams, so it's hard to say how much of this perception is down to the fact that nostalgia always makes everything seem worse than it once was. But in football we would all be better served by putting the emphasis more on fun than not losing.

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Pele, 1963 (Keystone/Getty Images)

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Brooks Peck is the editor of Dirty Tackle on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him or follow on Twitter!

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