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Tuesday Freedom Kicks: Pelé’s historic visit to Beirut, how to watch Ronaldo at Al Nassr, and more

Have you broken your New Year’s resolutions yet?

Soccer Favorite Pele Posing

Happy New Year! It’s hard to believe we’re only a few short weeks away from the start of D.C. United’s preseason - even if the DMV has graciously given us a few unseasonably balmy days.

It’s relatively quiet on the Black-and-Red front. Yes, there is a new supporter group joining the mix this season. Welcome, Buzzard Point Social! No, we haven’t got a clue whether or not the rumors of Rooney being the top pick for Everton manager will pan out. (We hope not.) But, of course, there’s never a dull moment in the world of soccer - for better or for worse.

You’ve undoubtedly heard that Cristiano Ronaldo will be don an Al Nassr kit for the foreseeable future. If you’re a CR7 fan, the good news is you can watch him play using the Shahid streaming app. The bad news? You’ll have to pay about $18 a month.

Not keen on watching the Saudi Pro League? There’s still a chance we may catch Ronaldo back in the Champions League due to a clause in his Al Nassr contract that would permit him to be on loan to Newcastle.

Despite a warm reception in Riyadh, drama is already in the air for Ronaldo, as Al Nassr coach Rudi Garcia has stated he tried to sign rival Lionel Messi first. Ouch.

After Pelé’s heartbreaking passing, this writer was in for a bit of niche nostalgia. Do you remember the time he visited Beirut, Lebanon, right before the start of the Lebanese Civil War? You likely don’t, but any Lebanese alive at the time sure does (and they will fondly remind the rest of us whenever something soccer related comes up).

In 1975, Pelé was playing for the New York Cosmos and went on an international exhibition tour partly sponsored by Pepsi. One stop on his journey was Lebanon. While in the capital, Beirut, he played with Lebanese side Nejmeh SC in an exhibition match against a team of players from the French Universities National Team in front over 30,000 cheering fans.

Here’s a short documentary (in Arabic, but the gist is pretty clear) on the legend’s visit to Beirut:

Hope you all are having a great start to your week!