Brasilia: Football legend Pele accepted an invitation from Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff to act as an honorary ambassador for the 2014 World Cup.
The 70-year-old Brazilian yesterday said it was an honour that he could not turn down.
"From the first World Cup that I played (in 1958) I`ve been doing this: I defend and promote Brazil. It`s a very big responsibility and I could not turn down the invitation," said Pele.
Pele told his compatriots to show their pride in hosting the tournament by putting aside criticism over delays and the slow pace of preparations to stage the best World Cup possible.
Sports Minister Orlando Silva said that Pele had been a natural choice because of "all he had done for sport in Brazil. He`s a man who knows a lot about the world of football. He`s going to help and represent us".
Pele won the World Cup three times - 1958, 1962 and 1970 - and is the top scorer of all time with 1,281 goals throughout his career.