Meet the Brazilian grandpa of Joga Bonito still playing competitively at 81

Nelson da Ascensao arrived at the clubhouse of TOB Itapoa in Belo Horizonte on Saturday, put on the number 25 jersey and swaped his flip-flops for football boots, just as he's done every Saturday for the last 35 years. Nelson is 81 years old and has been playing competitively for the team he helped found from their inauguration all the way up to today, their 35th birthday. «We started 35 years... Еще ago. A group of people who liked football, gathered here on the edge of the field watching another football match, decided to found the TOB Torcida Orcolizada do Barranco (organised fans from the ravine). The game started at 4:00 pm and the crowd was already tipsy,» Nelson nostalgically recalls. «Then the name became TOB Itapoa Futebol Clube, which was founded on March 13, 1985. We have just turned 35,» Nelson went on to say. Nelson has seen it all in football, growing up during the Selecao's first golden era and being lucky enough to experience all the teams that helped Brazil on their way to five FIFA World Cups. «Who hasn't seen Pele playing? Right? Who hasn't seen Dirceu Lopes playing? When I was young I had a lot of talent. A Garrincha, «O Divino» [The divine one, a nickname for Ademir da Guia] who played for Palmeiras. So, they are stars completely different from the current ones,» Nelson explained. The footage shows that despite his age, Nelson can still hold his own among the younger players, coming ever-so-close to scoring a historic goal on the team's birthday. Nelson described how he fell in and out of love with the sport throughout his life. «In my day, every neighborhood had a soccer field, you even played on the street without shoes. But I didn't like to play amateur football very seriously, because I was always very attached to the family and was afraid of getting hurt,» he revealed. Nelson's fun-loving spirit is highlighted in the footage as he drinks a beer with his grandchildren while on the bench and of course, joins the younger players for some drinks in the clubhouse after the match.
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