Saturday, October 23, 2010

Happy Birthday to the King - Pele

The greatest footballer turned 70 today...Pele. I realize there are some that would argue Maradona is the greatest footballer to grace the pitches, but clearly Pele is 1b if you follow that  line of thinking. Of course the game was very different when the Brazilian played - in the 1970 World Cup, Brazil at times seemed to be playing with 4 strikers a type of 4-2-4 formation. Pele's numbers are mind-boggling:
  • Won 3 World Cups - 1958, 1962 and 1970. Who knows, had the officials been more courageous in 1966, the "hack a Pele" strategy might not have been allowed to knock him out of the tournament.
  • At 17 years old, scored a hat trick in the 1958 World Cup semi finals...against France. Tallying 6 goals total in the tournament.
  • The player with the most team trophies - 32 official trophies.
  • Scored over 1000 goals in his career, his goal to game ration is almost 1:1
  • Was deemed a national treasure in Brazil, preventing him from being sold to a European club...by law.
  • Put soccer on the map in the United States when he joined the Cosmos.
There are many more statistics that support the argument his is the greatest ever to wear football boots. Of course the debate will rage on between those who think Pele is the best and those that believe Maradona was the greatest. A good debate. For my money here are the greatest footballers in no particular order:

Pele
Maradona
Beckenbauer
Cruyff
Platini
Puskas
Zidane
Yashin
Maldini
Charlton

Thought by some as the greatest goal - of course Pele is involved...although as the passer not the scorer. But still a thing of beauty:



With all that said, who do you think is the greatest footballer? And who else should be on the list of all time greats?

3 comments:

josemanes said...

Wow, Guy. The Pele-Maradona debate. A strong case could be made for either one. I think the comparison becomes even more complicated when you consider that they played at different positions. It is difficult to rate a forward against a midfielder...Your list of the top greatest footballers is very solid. I think Eusebio could also be considered among the 10 or so best. And if you expanded the list past 10, players like Baggio and Ronaldo (Brazil) could be thrown into the mix.

GFC said...

I complete agree with regards to Eusebio, he should be on the list.

Ronaldo as well, his recent shenanigans have made us forget how dominant a force he was in his prime for both club and country. As for Baggio, I agree that he needs to be in any discussion but I might still keep him out of the all time discussion. For his era no doubt, just like Hagi, Stoichkov, Gullit, Van Basten to name a few of the 90s players that were outstanding. I am just not convinced he stands the test of time...but part of the debate no doubt!

JLP said...

Agreed this goal is one of the top 3 in WC history.
How many times have I tried to make that nonchalant "lay" pass outside the box (Pele's assist)? Too many, I can't even count. That pass, the Bergkamp flick-go-round setup and goal for Arsenal and the Madjer heel goal are my personal 3 favorite moves on the field.

Pele, in my book is the best all time. He is more of an ambassador to the game than Maradona is. And modern-era football (post 70s) counts Pele, Maradona, and Platini as the best players. Period!

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