Remembering Ladislao Mazurkiewicz - Pele's Uruguayan Dummy

The keeper passed away yesterday, and despite being voted the best of the 1970 World Cup, he's best remembered for his role in one of Pele's highlights...
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The keeper passed away yesterday, and despite being voted the best of the 1970 World Cup, he's best remembered for his role in one of Pele's highlights...

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Ladislao Mazurkiewicz took part in one of the most incredible moments in football history. Despite being considered a human wall by adversaries in the 1970 World Cup, he will be forever remembered for something not as rewarding: it was him who played the dummy for Pele in one of the greatest tricks ever displayed on the pitch. Due to respiratory problems, the Uruguayan passed away this Wednesday in Montevideo.

Mazurkiewicz had no problem talking about being Pele’s dummy in that World Cup semi final. “It is always important to remember he didn’t score,” he used to say, laughingly. “That Brazilian side was the best team ever. If it weren’t for that moment there could be some other.” Brazil won that match 3-1 and went on to smash Italy 4-1 in the final.

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He had won the Libertadores Cup for his Penarol in 1966 before he was chosen the best goalie of that World Cup (Gordon Banks was a close second). Until Uruguay played Brazil, he had conceded only one goal in the competition. After that he moved to a Brazilian club, Atletico Mineiro. “It was then I really noticed I am really a part of a great football moment,” he used to say. Mazurkiewicz also played in Spain, Chile and Colombia before retiring in 1981. He worked as a goalkeeper manager in the Nineties. Some of his 1970 colleagues were on his side until the last days of his life. Pele has sent flowers.