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John Varley took some of the most memorable photographs of the twentieth century.


His iconic shot of Pelé and Bobby Moore is regarded as one of the most important photographs in sporting history.


The Pelé-Moore shot was taken in 1970, in Mexico, after the World Cup group match between defending champions, England, and Brazil, who would go on to lift the trophy for the third time.


Varley followed Moore after the final whistle, hoping he would interact with Pelé. The pair swapped shirts and quickly embraced. Varley ran towards the players and clicked his camera at the perfect moment.


The result is a mesmerising image. Black and white. Defender and attacker. Moore, from the home of football, and Pelé, from football’s most successful nation. There is respect, admiration and, even, love between the two men. It is a beautiful photograph which will be remembered for many years to come.


Legendary photographer John Varley.

"That photo has gone around the world. I think it was very important for football. We demonstrate that it's a sport. Win or lose, the example, the friendship, you must pass these on to the next generation." - Pelé

Varley attended five World Cups in total, starting with England’s victory in 1966, where he took colour photographs – a rarity at the time – during the final.

Varley also covered his home town club, Leeds United, during the Don Revie era. Many of his photographs are still used by the club to this day and have been published extensively in books and other materials.


Away from football, Varley attended the 1968 Olympics, Muhammad Ali fights and Test match cricket. Another very famous photograph features Sir Geoffrey Boycott

celebrating the one hundredth century of his career for England against Australia at Leeds.


Varley also covered a host of royal, showbiz and political events. His portfolio features hundreds of photographs of the British royal family, along with prime ministers and presidents, while he also attended a number of concerts by The Beatles during their rise to superstardom. Other famous faces photographed by Varley include The Rolling Stones, Madonna, Richard Burton, Dustin Hoffman and Louis Armstrong, among many others.


In 1979, Varley won a World Press Photo Award for his image of renowned sculptor Henry Moore. It was one of many prestigious honours Varley received during his incredible career – and recognition for a body of work that few will match.


Varley Media is the proud home of the John Varley Signature Collection. These images are available for both personal and commercial use. We have also developed a range of merchandise featuring some of the most famous photographs. If you have a special licensing or merchandise request, email


Enjoy the collection.

Pele Bobby Moore copy.jpg

This iconic photo of Pelé and Bobby Moore embracing during the 1970 World Cup is John Varley’s most celebrated work.

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