New Delhi[India]December 30 (ANI): Legendary Brazilian footballer Pele passed away on Thursday at the age of 82 after battling colon cancer.
A few days ago, the football legend’s health deteriorated and doctors had said he needed treatment for kidney and heart dysfunction. He was also undergoing treatment for a respiratory infection made worse by covid-19.
Pele, whose real name is Edson Arantes do Nascimento, is considered one of the greatest to ever set foot on a football field. He is the only player to have won three FIFA World Cup titles, having won football’s top prize in 1958, 1962 and 1970. The footballer also boasts of many trophies at club and country level.
Pele has also won many individual awards. He won the ‘Best Young Player’ award in the 1958 FIFA World Cup. He has also won the prestigious Ballon d’Or award seven times. His astonishing goalscoring record makes him the rightful ‘Greatest of All Time’.
The striker dominated the sport from the 1950s to the 1970s, an era characterized by unstructured and decentralized record keeping within the sport. This deprived the fans of knowing the exact measure of the footballer’s greatness. His goalscoring record is a hotly debated issue among fans and statisticians alike.
At international level, Pele remains his country’s all-time leading goalscorer. With 77 goals in 92 internationals, the feet and net of this football legend were inseparable. He announced himself with a thunderous performance in the 1958 World Cup, scoring six goals throughout the tournament. He emerged as the second highest goalscorer in the tournament.
This goal also makes Pele the eleventh best goalscorer among international footballers. At the FIFA World Cup, Pele has scored 12 goals in 14 matches in four editions, which is the second most of any Brazilian after Ronaldo. The three-time world champion is also tied for sixth in the list of top scorers at the marquee football event.
At 17 years and 239 days old, he is also the youngest footballer ever to find the back of the net in the men’s FIFA World Cup, and he achieved this feat during the quarter-finals of the 1958 edition of the tournament against Wales.
If that wasn’t enough to give indications of a bright future, Pele made a household name in his nation by becoming the youngest hat-trick goalscorer in World Cup history, against France in the semi and finally, becoming the youngest to score in a World Cup Final. It was host Sweden that became Pele’s victim in the summit.
Now, at club level, in official matches, Pele has 680 club football goals. A whopping 643 goals were scored for Santos in domestic level tournaments (at national and state level), the Copa Libertadores and the Intercontinental Cup (the predecessor to the FIFA Club World Cup).
This prodigious talent made his debut for the Sao Paulo club at the age of 15 and kept his allegiance to the side for most of his career, staying there from 1956 to 1974. Different sources disagree on the number of matches he played for Santos. , some put it at 659 while some put the matches at 665.
Pele scored all of his remaining 37 goals for American club New York Cosmos, where he spent three years. He joined the club aged 35 in 1975, making 64 official appearances for them before hanging up his boots in 1977.
Pele’s 643 goals for Santos was the record for most goals scored by a player for the club until Lionel Messi broke it. He scored 672 goals in 778 games for FC Barcelona, before leaving the Spanish club in 2021. It took years for Messi and the football world to surpass Pele’s towering record.
First-class football is all matches played at senior level. In the modern context, Pele should have a total of 757 goals, which includes 680 at club level and 77 for Brazil. However, the Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation (RSSSF) gives Pele a total of 778 goals in 846 official matches as they take into account the times he found the net for his military team and at national trials.
Different figures have been seen, when it comes to the goal figures as his football at youth level, friendlies, exhibition matches etc are also taken into account by different parties.
Nevertheless, his goal tally is enough to earn him the name in the record books as he stands in the Guinness Book of World Records for scoring the most goals in the sport.
“The most goals scored in a certain period is 1,279 by Edson Arantes do Nascimento (Brazil), known as Pele, from September 7, 1956 to October 1, 1977 in 1,363 games. His best year was 1959 with 126 and Milesimo (1000: e goal) ) came from a penalty for his club Santos at the Maracana Stadium, Rio de Janeiro, on 19 November 1969 when he played his 909th first-class match. He later added two more goals in special appearances,” notes the Guinness World Record- site.
FIFA, the sport’s world governing body, and CONMEBOL, the South American soccer confederation, have put his tally at 1,281, including two goals for Santos in “special appearances” made after retirement that Guinness does not count.
FIFA, has taken to using the phrase “more than 1,200” to describe his goal tally in recent years.
Pele himself states that his goal figure is 1,283. But RSSF comes again with 1,303 goals in 1,392 games.
Whatever his true goal stats may be, there is no denying that this great performance on and off the field is astounding and makes him the true ‘GOAT’ or ‘King of Football’.(ANI)