Video: Bob Marley Plays a Soccer Match in Brazil, 1980

“Foot­ball is a whole skill to itself. A whole world. A whole uni­verse to itself. Me love it because you have to be skill­ful to play it! Free­dom! Foot­ball is free­dom.”

Bob Mar­ley spoke those lines in 1979, two years before his life was cut short by melanoma, reveal­ing his pas­sion for the world’s game, or what we call “soc­cer” here in Amer­i­ca. Casu­al fans might not know this, but Mar­ley fol­lowed Brazil­ian foot­ball close­ly, revered Pele, made the sport part of his dai­ly rou­tine, and when he trav­eled to Rio de Janeiro in 1980, he took part in a now leg­endary match on musi­cian Chico Buarque’s pri­vate pitch. Team A con­sist­ed of Mar­ley, Junior Mar­vin (mem­ber of the Wail­ers), Paulo César Caju (mem­ber of the Brazil 1970 squad), Toquin­ho (Brazil­ian musi­cian), Chico Buar­que and Jacob Miller (lead singer of Inner Cir­cle). Team B fea­tured Alceu Valença (Brazil­ian musi­cian), Chicão (mem­ber of Jorge Ben’s band) and four staff mem­bers from Island Records, recalls Russ Slater in Sounds and Colours. The short clip above shows Mar­ley scor­ing a goal, despite being well into his bat­tle with melanoma.

In the sec­ond clip above, you can watch footage of Mar­ley drib­bling the ball a lit­tle more. At Retro­naut, you’ll find umpteen pho­tos of Mar­ley in his foot­ball glo­ry.

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Relat­ed Con­tent:

Watch “The Secret Tour­na­ment” & “The Rematch,” Ter­ry Gilliam’s Star-Stud­ded Soc­cer Ads for Nike

The Mon­ty Python Phi­los­o­phy Foot­ball Match: The Greeks v. the Ger­mans

Amaz­ing Flip­book Ani­ma­tion Shows Off the Skills of Ronald­in­ho

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.