Pele was paid tribute this week for a goal he scored in 1959 and which was regarded as one of the most brilliant of his career.

Pele, 18 years old at the time, is reputed to have flicked the ball over three opponents before scoring for Santos in their match against local side Juventus.

Juventus officials presented Pele with a statue of himself which will stand in front of the club's modest 7,000 capacity stadium in a Sao Paulo suburb.

Several thousand people turned up to watch the ceremony, producing chaotic scenes.

"It happened nearly 50 years ago, and there are children here who never saw me play," Pele told reporters. "It makes me very happy. I didn't expect this."

There are no television pictures of the goal, although a computerised reproduction has been made.

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