Pele was not only one of the best footballers of all time, he also played guitar, served as Brazil’s Minister of Sport and was a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations including UNESCO and UNICEF. Franz Beckenbauer who was born just days after the end of World War II, had two cardiac surgeries, was married three times and fathered five children.
Alfredo Di Stefano was once kidnapped by the Venezuelan Armed Forces of National Liberation (FLAN) and held at gunpoint in Caracas. Johan Cruyff was also held at gunpoint and tied up along with this family in their Barcelona flat – his children were given police escorts to go to school and his flat was guarded and inhabited by police months after. This also led him to opt out of the 1978 World Cup. He also played baseball as a catcher and pitcher in his teens before committing to football.
Maradona’s father was a bricklayer and his mother wanted him to be an accountant, often seizing his football to send him back to his studies. He was a father, husband, entertainer and struggled with addiction. Lothar Matthäus celebrated one of his five marriages in Las Vegas.
Off the pitch, the world’s most iconic football players have plenty of stories to tell. Imago’s archive is home to moments that were often left outside of the spotlight — from family photos, holidays and leisure time, to the humorous, candid and endearing nuances of daily life.
Written by Columist Sofia Bergmann for our Short Series in the run up to One Year to The World Cup 2022. We will be publishing an article each day this week to celebrate One Year Until Qatar 2022.
See the article’s full, curated image collection here.