Page last updated at 21:13 GMT, Sunday, 22 June 2008 22:13 UK

Gang robbed football legend Pele

By Gary Duffy
BBC News, Sao Paulo

Pele (file photo)
Pele is regarded as possibly the world's greatest player

Former Brazilian football star Pele has been robbed by an armed gang while on his way to his seaside home.

As many as 10 people were reported to have been involved in the robbery, but Pele was unhurt in the incident.

He was on his way from the city of Sao Paulo to a house he owns on the coast when the robbery happened at the entrance of a tunnel.

The robbery took place earlier this month, but details have only just emerged.

Police say there is frequent traffic congestion in the area, and that gangs from a nearby favela (shanty town) often take advantage of this to stage robberies.

Robberies common

According to the newspaper Estado de Sao Paulo, Pele's car was surrounded by 10 armed men who took his gold necklace, a mobile phone and a watch.

Pele was in the passenger seat of his car. According to his spokesman, when the gang recognised the former player they gave the driver back some items they had taken from him.

The former Brazilian football star was not so lucky, as the gang then decided to flee on foot with his valuables.

Pele, who is said to have remained calm during the robbery, apparently believed the men were high on drugs.

The local police say they were not informed about the incident.

Robberies of cars stopped at traffic lights or in congestion are not uncommon in Brazil, and many wealthy families have resorted to buying bullet-proof cars as a form of protection.

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